Sunday, August 30, 2015

Indy Eleven vs Strikers - 02.20

- Opponent: Fort Lauderdale Strikers
- Location: Fort Lauderdale
- Attendance: 3,819
- Final Score: 7-1 L
- Starting XI: Nicht, Franco, Miller, Janicki, Hyland, Ring, Stojkov, Pineda, Steinberger, Richards, Ceballos
- Substitutions: Lacroix 58' (Stojkov), Rugg 65' (Pineda), Brown 72' (Richards)
- Unused: Cardona, Frias, Smart, Keller
- Goals: Richards 16' (unassisted)
- Bookings: Pineda 18' (Yellow), Franco 50' (Red)
- Adage goals: Yep

Normally, I would watch the game a second time before writing anything, but I don't think I have it in me to sit through this game again so here goes.

Fort Lauderdale's goal in the 7th minute by PC was the eventual game-winning goal, but they didn't rest on their laurels and added FIVE MORE GOALS for a total of 7 goals.  The Strikers absolutely overran the Eleven scoring a touchdown and converted the extra point.  The score got out of hand in the second half after the red card was shown to Franco, but when you give up a goal in the 2nd minute (and to call it the 2nd minute is generous) the game was never really in the Eleven's control.

Pinho 2'
PC 7'
Freitas 20'
Freitas 67'
Pinho 77'
Pinho 81'
PC 85'

That's ugly. No two ways to put it. Unless you wanted to use some expletives...

The Eleven managed get on the board in the 16th by a good hustle play by Richards, but this could have easily been 9 or 10 to 1 if the Strikers didn't hit the post once and if Pinho and Ramirez didn't completely miss relatively easy shots late in the game. The Strikers never took their foot off the gas until the ref blew the final whistle. They didn't pass the ball around the backline or take the ball into the corner and hold it to kill time. Every chance they got, they took it right at the Eleven's defense and the Eleven's defense looked overmatched and out of place.

By my evaluation, with next week's probable starting defensive lineup due to Franco's red card absence, the Eleven will have fielded the same back four in back-to-back games only once since the July 11th/19th games when Franco-Miller-Norales-Hyland started against Carolina and Ottawa, respectively. Since the 19th game against Ottawa, the Eleven have fielded:
July 19th - Franco-Miller-Norales-Hyland (4 - 2 L)
July 25th - Franco-Janicki-Norales-Hyland (1 - 1 T)
Aug 1 - Franco-Janicki-Miller-Hyland (1 - 0 L)
Aug 5 - McKinney-Janicki-Miller-Frias (2 - 0 L)
Aug 8 - Franco-Janicki-Norales-Hyland (4 - 1 L)
Aug 19 - Franco-Norales-Miller-Hyland (2 - 0 W)
Aug 22 - Franco-Norales-Miller-Hyland (1 - 1 T)
Aug 29 - Franco-Janicki-Miller-Hyland (7 - 1 L)

So only one instance of back-to-back starting defensive lines and the Eleven had a 1W-2D-5L record and a 20 - 8 goal difference in that timeframe. Even if today's game against Fort Lauderdale had ended as just a 3-1 loss, the team would still have a 1:2 goal differential in that 8 game stretch. Part of that is offense scoring issues (can I reiterate that the Eleven have to figure out how to take half-chance shots on goal because waiting for the full chance isn't getting it done), but the other part is that this team was rebuilt from season 1 to season 2 from the defense forward. The core of the returning players was the defense. Right now, that core is not performing as had planned. Some of that is injuries, some of that is red cards, and some of that is poor play, but the inconsistency in the defense has combined with an anemic offense to get 9 points out of an available 30.

The team still has 10 games left in the Fall season, but they would need an amazing run of WINS to make me feel like a playoff spot is a possibility. Right now, I just don't see it happening, but maybe that's because I just sat through a 7 - 1 drubbing with this running through my head through most of it:

That's actually quite easy to answer. 1) I'm a glutton for punishment and have years of being a Cubs fan that have hardened my expectations of my sports teams and 2) I believe in the idea of this team even if the results aren't happening as desired. I want a team in Indy to stay, I know these guys aren't happy with the results, and I see other teams that have struggled turn it around because of the parity in this league.

There's still half of the Fall Season remaining, but the Eleven must do better and they must do better as soon as possible because I don't like to see this type of sentiment from the official Eleven game feed even if it was exactly what every fan that watched to the end was thinking.

And like the @IndyElevenLive feed, I mercifully put this post behind me/us and look forward to a better game, and hopefully result, in Minnesota on Wednesday and then again on Saturday against Jacksonville back in Indianapolis.


1 comment:

Jeff C. said...

I admire your fortitude, Drew, in writing up this awful, awful game. I was out last night and learned the score before I had the opportunity to watch. Against my better judgment, I did watch this morning until the Strikers scored their third, at which point I couldn't stand it any more.

This team is just baffling right now. Two things are clear: Norales needs to stop picking up red cards (with their automatic suspensions), and the team desperately misses Mares. As to the latter, good as Mares was until his injury, his absence shouldn't make *that* much of a difference--he's not Zidane, for goodness' sake. But whatever. Nothing is working right now. Night is dreadful (the way he froze and watched that third goal go in was pathetic, but not unprecedented for him); the defense is inept and prone to horrendous, goal-yielding lapses; the midfield has once again forgotten how to move the ball into the attacking area; and the attack is toothless (Richards' nice conversion of the gifted chance notwithstanding). I hate to be pessimistic, but I just don't see a way forward for this team.