Monday, September 21, 2015

Indy Eleven vs Eddies - 02.24

- Opponent: FC Edmonton
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 7.232
- Final Score: 2-0 L
- Starting XI: Nicht, Franco, Miller, Norales, Hyland, Keller, Ring, Stojkov, Cuevas, Richards, Wojcik
- Substitutions: Lacroix 56' (Cuevas), Ceballos 66' (Wojcik), Smart 77' (Stojkov)
- Unused: Cardona, Janicki, Pena, Steinberger
- Goals: None
- Bookings: Ring 72' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: One

I saw something on Twitter recently that I didn't favorite so will never be able to find again, but in essence it went like this (paraphrasing for this topic):
1) Start Microsoft Word
2) Find Indy Eleven recap templates
3) Open "Indy Eleven lose due to defensive lapse and adage goal" article.

Of course there was more to the game than that, but it all feels the same these days. The Eleven in a basically "must win" game to keep any playoff hopes alive and they come up short by giving up multiple goals and not being able to make good on their own opportunities on goal. Which is probably why the Indy Star has basically given up writing anything for the Eleven for the Sunday paper edition, which went like this:
Eleven fall to Edmonton
Second-half goals by Daryl Fordyce and Sainey Nyassi gave FC Edmonton a 2-0 victory over the Indy Eleven on Saturday night at Carroll Stadium.
That's about as narrowed down to its essence as possible. Who? What? When? Where? The only thing missing is the Why? and that's the key part that seems to be missing for fans of the Indy Eleven.


Why was there no Mares or Steinberger in the starting lineup, who have been the team's best playmakers so far and done well to connect the defense to the forwards? This was the first thing I wrote down in my notes when I saw the starting lineup.

Why did Nicht start over Cardona, who has played well despite the results. Why the change, once again, to the defensive unit?

Why can't the Eleven sign a player taller than 6-foot?  The last five signings (Lacroix, Richards, Steinberger, Ceballos, Cuevas) have an average height of 5'-5" and an average weight of 154 lbs. Why is that important? Because with the tactical change to what seems like a 4-2-2-2, the Eleven's play through the midfield seemed to decrease against the Eddies and the team was relying on defending and counter attacking. Balls to the forwards in that scenario didn't always make it directly to their feet, which meant that the Eleven have quick, but relatively small, players trying to out-run and/or out-muscle opposing defenders to get their opportunities. The out-muscling part doesn't go very well. Richards does it better than the others, but he does this by not even attempting to win most headers and positions his body for the second bounce. He's a 5'-5" power forward blocking out for a rebound. That often makes it hard to give himself a shot on goal and needs to have other players running off of his first touch. It just wasn't effective on Saturday and didn't give them many realistic shots on goal.

Why do the Eleven have so many "adage" goals?

Why do the forwards (and midfielders) wait so long to try and take shots on goal?

Why can't the Eleven achieve consistent, successful, results?

Why? Why? Why?

I don't know the answer to any of those questions and based on the trajectory of the team right now (see the new chart addition to this site below), the playoffs are a goal for next season and this season's goal should be to not finish in their namesake position in either the Fall or Combined Tables. 11th.




Jeff C. said...

Another excellent writeup, and a series of very apt questions. I too was baffled by some of the lineup decisions, and in particular by the decision not to give Mares any minutes at all. I assume Regan started Woj only because, otherwise, the entire Indy attack would have been dwarfed by the Eddies. But Woj, whatever size advantage he may have, is just not good enough.

This is such a baffling, frustrating team this year.

Anonymous said...

After a 4-1 home loss to Ottawa in August, Nicht tweeted, “Call me stupid or whatever , I couldn't care less @IndyEleven will make the @naslofficial playoffs.Kick me out of Indy when I'm wrong”. Will those words come back to haunt him?

As for the Stars coverage, just one of many reasons I no longer subscribe to the Star. Do you think their coverage of the Colt or Pacers would change if they were in similar circumstances? I don't. Their job is to cover local news and sports. If they want to criticize, go ahead, but to not cover the story at all is, well that's what I would expect from them.