Monday, September 8, 2014

Indy Eleven vs Silverbacks - 01.19

- Opponent: Atlanta Silverbacks
- Location: Atlanta, Georgia
- Attendance: 5,000
- Final Score: 2-1 W
- Starting XI: Nicht, Frias, Miller, Hyland, Okiomah, Kleberson (Captain), Johnson, Smith, Pena, Pineda, Ambersley
- Substitutions: Corrado 17' (Hyland), Mares 71' (Kleberson), Smart 78' (Frias)
- Goals: Johnson 15' (assist Pena), Smith 37' (assist Ambersley)
- Bookings: Pineda 59' (Yellow), Ambersley 62' (Yellow), Frias 77' (Yellow)

Let's get the bad out of the way: 
  1. Another "adage" goal given by the team right before the end of the first half.  Boo adage goals! 
  2. Hyland, who has been playing some great soccer lately, goes out with an injury after just 17 minutes.  Turns out it was a groin injury and will be out for a bit.  Hopefully not too long. 
  3. The team lost most of the statistical categories.
Other than the injury to Hyland, I don't care about the rest.  Why?  Because a victory helps cure a lot of the ills and three points in a road game is a good thing.  There is probably a lot that can be said about a road win for a team that has struggled to get any kind of win, but there are just a few things that stand out to me as I look at the game.

First, and maybe foremost, the team scored first.  It was pointed out on Twitter during the game that there have only been three other times in the history of the team where they have scored first: April 12th vs Carolina, July 19th vs Tampa Bay, and July 27th vs Edmonton.  Their record now in those four games? 2-1-1.  7 points out of an available 12 when they score first.  That's a pretty good record when scoring first.  Unfortunately, it just hasn't happened enough this year as the team has consistently been playing from behind.  The other interesting facts about the team's "scoring first" games are that they 1) happened in the Eleven's very first game, 2) resulted in a loss, and 3) happened in the 93rd minute, all leads resulting in a total of 15 minutes that the team had led all season up to Saturday's game versus the Silverbacks.  The team held a league for 5 times longer in this game than they have the entirety of the rest of the season, even going up by two goals for the first time in team history.  That, to me, is a key component of Saturday's win. 

Another key component based on the highlights (see below for video) is that there didn't appear to be any significant defensive breakdowns.  The Atlanta goal was off a set piece and should have been marked better, but there were no obvious chances where it looked like the defense was drastically out of position.

I don't know where the difference originates with getting an early goal and solid defense, but I hope the team bottled it and brought it back with them in their luggage with the three points from the win. 

In the history of the team, there are only three players that have played in every single game: Nicht, Ambersley, and Smart.  Nicht is the only one of the three to play every single minute of every single game in the team's inaugural season.  However, there are three other players who have been on the field for the entirety of every game that they have played: Norales, Smith, and recent addition Miller.  Frias and Ambersley are also knocking on the door of having played every available minute, averaging 89.1 and 87.9 minutes/game, respectively.  So when they start a game, they finish the game.  What's interesting in this number's game is that with the exception of the three players who haven't played a single minute (backup keepers Dawson and Sprenkel, and new addition Jhulliam), fan favorite Don Smart averages the lowest minutes/game played at a paltry 33 minutes per game.  For a guy who averages just over a third of a game, the guy has certainly endeared himself to the Indy Eleven faithful.

Lastly, after Saturday's win there was a tweet (yeah, I don't remember who said it) that stated that the Indy Eleven home fans "deserve" a win.  I don't believe that is true.  I think the Eleven fans "deserve" a team that plays hard the entire game like we cheer the entire game.  We have that.  The team deserves a home win based on their continued effort.  The fan's reward will happen when that happens for the team.

Jermaine Johnson was recognized by the league for his constant badgering of the Atlanta defense by being announced as one of the league's Top Performers for Week 9 of the Fall Season.


Update:Congratulations Johnson and Okiomah for being selected to the Team of the Week!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comment that fans "deserve" a win. I have personally spoken to a couple of players that have made that same statement to me. My response to that was, "No, what we deserve is a team that comes out and plays hard and with heart for 90+ minutes each game."

Great article by the way.