Thursday, May 28, 2015

Indy Eleven vs Louisville FC - 2015 U.S. Open Cup

- Opponent: Louisville City FC
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 7,134 (paid attendance...)
- Final Score: 2-0 L
- Starting XI: Nicht, Franco, Janicki, Norales, Hyland, Keller, Smart, Pineda, Melgares, Brown, Wojcik
- Substitutions: Rugg 58' (Smart), Mares 64' (Pineda), Lacroix 95' (Keller)
- Unused: Cardona, Frias, Miller, Dawson
- Goals: None
- Bookings: Janicki (Yellow 57'), Wojcik (Yellow 83')
- Adage goals: Two (115', 119')

Technically, I'm a credentialed member of the media this season, but I have yet to use it in any kind of official capacity.  I still feel like I'm just a fan writing a blog because I enjoy it.  I try to be hard on the team when they deserve it and give credit when they deserve that too.  I'm trying to be a good professional writer, even if I'm not getting paid to do it.

Which is why I'm glad that my wife convinced me to not write my opinions of the Louisville game immediately afterwards. I don't think it would have been pretty.

I did something that I don't think I have ever done in my entire life.  I left a game before it was finished. I'm a Purdue alum so I've sat through some stinker Bucket games and absolute beatings by the Michigan, Ohio State, and Notre Dames of the world so it's saying a lot that I left after regulation.  I could say that it was because my 9, 7, and 2 year old kids were out WAY past their bedtime on a school night due to the rain delay, but that would not be the truth.  The truth is much more painful as Eleven fan.  The truth was that I couldn't watch another minute of what I saw as the inevitable outcome for a team that I pour a lot of my time into supporting.  The truth is that I knew the game would end like it did.  With an Indy Eleven loss.

The stats tell me that it was a close game, indicative of a game that goes the full 90 + 30 minutes of extra time.  My "eyeball" test tells me that the better team won last night.  Louisville was quicker to balls, maintained possession better, and were rewarded with, not one, but two adage time goals in the second extra time period.  After the first half, I thought that the Eleven had the better of the chances, but that Louisville had the better play, which would better serve them during the rest of the game.  I was right.

A lot of rumblings about firing Coach Sommer have been surfacing and were magnified after last night's loss.  I'm not on that bandwagon yet.  I don't know what goes on in the day-to-day practices, but I can see that there are attempts to correct some of the issues.  People like to get hung up on Sommer's 4-4-2 lineup, but I don't think that's always how the team is operating.  There have been tactical changes between games to exploit real or perceived weaknesses of opponents.  I think there have been as many different starting lineups as there have been games this season.  The only area not changed much in all that time?  The back four. To me, it looks like they're having a hard time figuring out which pieces are working best with each other in the offensive portion of the field. People want to see him fiery and angry during post-game interviews after losses.  I don't think that is his personality and you're never going to see that out of him.  Coach Sommer also isn't the one on the field who isn't shooting the ball.

I don't know how this team wins another game the rest of the season.  "You can't score if you don't shoot." "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." "You have to score more than the other team to win." Whatever phrase you prefer, this team's offense is stagnant.  Heavy first touches continue.  Poor touches and decisions continue. Waiting for the shot continues.  Long balls continue...

Whenever a team loses to a supposedly "lower division" team, the frustration is magnified.  However, the NASL got hammered last night by USL teams.  In 7 games between the two leagues, the USL team were the victors 7 times.  0-7 for the NASL by a combined score of 11-3.  Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, and Carolina are all in the top half of this league and all lost. Jacksonville was blanked 3-0.  I'm not sure if that's just a bad night for all the teams or if its an indication of the strength of the two leagues, but it's not like the Indy Eleven loss was an outlier.  It was the norm last night.

I don't know if I'll ever leave a game early again, but I'm not proud of myself for leaving last night. Maybe the team will feel the same way and want to take it out on Tampa Bay on Saturday.  Maybe.


Jeff C. said...

Excellent write-up, as usual. I admire your restraint. I had a desperate need to vent after the end of the game.

Drew said...

Thanks Jeff. My restraint prevented a curse laden post.

Don said...

Firing the coach doesn't solve the problems, but if things continue as they are, he will be the one who is gone.

And we had such high hopes when the season began and started out so well.