Thursday, November 6, 2014

Indy Eleven vs Rowdies - 01.27

- Opponent: Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
- Attendance: 6,377
- Final Score: 2-2 T
- Starting XI: Nicht, Frias, Norales (Captain), Miller, Franco, Smart, Smith, Mares, Pineda, Ambersley, Rugg
- Substitutions: Jhulliam 70' (Smith), Okiomah 77' (Norales), Moore 90' (Mares)
- Goals: Smart 47' (unassisted), Jhulliam 88' (assist Pineda)
- Bookings: Miller 12' (Yellow)

All good things come to an end and the inaugural season for the Indy Eleven finished the way it started about seven months ago, with a solid effort, a brief lead, and a tie.   In a season filled with as many ups and downs as this season has seemed to hold, maybe it's fitting that the end brought it back around to the beginning.  While the result of the game was the same, the team, both on field and off, have made tremendous strides.  For a team that finished the Spring Season in last place at 0-5-4 and last on the table, they finished the Fall Season in 7th place, and very nearly finished in 5th place if not for the late goal scored by the Rowdies.  The draw against the Rowdies also kept the Eleven in 9th place in the Combined standings instead of 7th place overall.  It just goes to show how the little things and the late collapses along the way can affect the overall standings.  If the team could have turned a few of those late draws into wins or those late losses into draws, and this goes from a rough Spring Season but improved Fall Season to a successful inaugural season.  Hopefully that's the lesson that Coach Sommer is able to get across to the young guys on this team.

Fall Season Table

Combined Season Table

The off-field product also was vastly improved between game 1 and game 27 was so different that it's important to remember how difficult that first game went from a concession, parking, logistics standpoint.  There was only the one point during the last home game with the concession issue that I ever noticed anything wrong with the way those same things were done.  Parking was fine, concession stands operated more smoothly, and the halftime entertainment was always enjoyable.

I'm off topic since I'm supposed to be recapping the game versus the Rowdies, but I think it's important to keep in mind the entire season when looking at this game.  The Tampa Bay game is the fourth game in a row where the back five have consisted of the same players and if you consider how early in the New York game Hyland was forced to leave due to his injury, they were all together for five games.  Their record in that stretch?  3-0-2.  The Eleven front office continued to search for players to help the team succeed as the injuries continued to mount even as it became apparent that the team was going to have a very difficult time making The Championship.  The players never stopped fighting and their successes at the end of the season are a testament to their desire to finish strong.  I saw some lapses (Frias got caught ball watching again on Tampa Bay's first goal and Miller didn't get good position on the free kick at the end of the game), but the team continues to fight.  I hope that trend continues next season.

I saw today that FC Edmonton released 6 players and I have to wonder which players from the Eleven's current roster will be around at the start of next season.  Spencer, Frias, Smith, Pineda, Pena, Franco, and Rugg are all on loan.  That's a lot of guys who have become regular contributors at the end of the season.  I count 8 players who were injured at the end of the season, but I would think they should all be healthy come training camp next year.  Do they players add depth on the bench that has been missing this year or do some of them or the ones on loan find new homes?  I saw some good things out of them so I hope they all form the core to a very strong and confident team.

Congratulations Don Smart for being voted for the Goal of the Week!

Congratulations Jaime Frias for being named to this week's Team of the Week!


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