Monday, October 5, 2015

Indy Eleven vs Armada - 02.26

- Opponent: Jacksonville Armada
- Location: Jacksonville, Florida
- Attendance: 6,734
- Final Score: 1-1 T
- Starting XI: Cardona, Franco, Miller, Janicki, Hyland, Stojkov, Keller, Ceballos, Pineda, Richards, Wojcik
- Substitutions: Mares 64' (Keller), Lacroix 67' (Stojkov), Brown 76' (Janicki)
- Unused: Norales, Pena, Steinberger, Dawson
- Goals: Brown 83' (assist Wojcik)
- Bookings: None
- Adage goals: None

This was the kind of game that looked like what happens when you have two teams play that are mathematically alive for the championship, but there's a reason they are the bottom in the league. Even the Armada commentators stated early on that it seemed like the fans were just waiting for something to happen. Until the second half, there really wasn't much from either team, even with the Armada goal in the 29th min. Which while I'm taking about it, did anybody else see the shot in the back that Kyle Hyland took in the back from Keita? I don't know that it would have prevented the goal, but it's hard to defend when you get laid out from behind.

The bad news is that the Eleven once again conceded an early goal causing them to play from behind.

The good news is that they were able to get a draw-inducing goal of their own in the 83rd minute. More good news is that it was a well-timed run by Brown and perfect chip over the defense that created the goal.

The bad news, and this is the most concerning thing about the game for me, is that the Eleven had a man advantage for basically 30 minutes (give or take with the stoppage time and the injuries to Hyland and Richards) and only managed to get a single goal. As I watched the game the first time, it occurred to me that an opposing team's red card isn't the advantage that it would normally seem when you are talking about the Indy Eleven. Especially when that team already has a goal advantage on the Eleven. The Armada had a goal advantage and were a man down, but that played perfectly into their advantage rather than the Eleven's. The Eleven wanted to get the equalizer and go-ahead goal, but Jacksonville just needed to sit back and defend and wait for chances to push forward. For a team like the Eleven who have had issues scoring more than one goal lately, the man advantage wasn't that helpful.

The other thing that stuck out, particularly during the first half, was that it seemed like every time the Eleven pushed forward, there wasn't any support for the lead man. Some of that was the way that the Eleven were playing in a defensive position, but there was absolutely zero help when the ball switched fields.  Again, for a team struggling to get shots and goals, playing 2 or 3 versus 5 or 6 doesn't really bode well. Richards likes to make the run up the side and Hyland routinely makes the overlap on the other side, get it towards the end line, and then look to cross it into nobody. Or, at best, another short player likely to win a header. It just seems like the Eleven still aren't playing to their strengths.

Lastly, while my views of the game are always considered commentary and not reporting, this next comment can be filed under the "are we watching the same replay!" There's been a lot of commentary during the telecasts from the various teams that could be considered to be of the "homer" variety, and that includes Indy's own Greg Rakestraw and Brad Hauter. However, there is no way that they would watch an opposing player get elbowed in the back and knocked to the ground, and then while down have the ball kicked up their sphincter and say to the red card that was given, "that's unfortunate." "He just kicked the ball. Unfortunately, the ref is reacting to the players and not what he saw." "That's not one of those things where it's a cheap shot." "That's too bad. Occasionally those things will happen." That has to fall under the worst individual piece of commentary that I've heard all season and that's saying something!
Really?! That's a ref who is reacting to the players and not what he saw?

The Eleven finished the Florida trip with two draws and two points with a three game homestand awaiting, but I just don't see how they get enough points out of the remaining games to make the Playoffs. In this case, mathematics is one thing, reality is another.


Brian Brown goal up for Play of the Week! Congrats!

Cory Miller part of the Team of the Week! Congrats!

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