Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Indy Eleven vs Scorpions - 02.27

- Opponent: San Antonio Scorpions
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 10.090
- Final Score: 2-1 L
- Starting XI: Cardona, Stojkov, Miller, Norales, Frias, Pena, Ceballos, Pineda, Richards, Lacroix, Brown
- Substitutions: Smart 14' (Richards), Mares 63' (Stojkov), Wojcik 83' (Pineda)
- Unused: Nicht, Janicki, Keller
- Goals: Mares 69' (assist Ceballos)
- Bookings: Pena 56' (yellow), Miller 72' (yellow)
- Adage goals: None

How many games have the Eleven played from behind in the Fall?
- Thirteen. 13 of the 17 games they have played in the fall required a come from behind effort.

What was the record of those games?
- 1W - 9L - 3D

Last game they led?
- September 5th versus Jacksonville; six games ago.

Goals scored since that game?
- Three. I don't need to tell you that's not good.

Last year's problem was defensive mistakes. This year's problem is a lack of offense, untimely defensive mistakes, and routinely playing from behind. Which is disheartening because I think there is plenty of talent.

Normally after my second viewing of a game, I have a different opinion of how the referee did during the game than I do from my seats in the stands. This game was not one of those games. The Eleven is a small team, but San Antonio frequently manhandled the Eleven players and the ref did nothing to curtail the physical play. During the telecast, Brad Hauter indicated during one of the early, uncalled, challenges that it lets the players know how the ref is going to call the game. Which is true, but there's a difference between letting the teams play and not calling an obvious PK (see below).

My final general observation before I get into some details is that I can't remember the last time that a team started using delay tactics after they scored a goal in the 19th minute. The Scorpions were in game management, at least to some level, from the moment they scored their goal. They knew of the Eleven's difficulty scoring and slowed the game down as much as possible and frequently as possible.

There was a Chris Estridge sighting and he was gracious enough to sign my (his) jersey that I won late last year with his Twitter contest.

Now for the details.  Injuries continue to plague this team as Franco (toe), Hyland (foot), and Ring (out) were all out, as was Rugg (sports hernia surgery). Cuevas. Kleberson... To add to the unavailable was Steinberger who was recalled back to the Dynamo for a friendly against Liga MX Santos Laguna. That meant that the Eleven had less than the allowed players suited for the game. Hence, you see this kind of lineup, where Dragan Stojkov plays right fullback. Rakestraw and Hauter called him a great utilitarian player, but he wants to push forward and it ended up hurting the team later in the game. There were at least a few times where he was knocked down by the offensive ends endline. That's a long way to run for a full back during a counter. It's one thing when a full back is that far forward for the occasional set play, but completely different during the normal run of play.

Case in point during the Scorpion's first goal. Counter-attack and Stojkov gets caught on the wrong side of his man meaning he's chasing the play. Despite that, the Eleven had numbers back and even after watching it several times, I'm still not sure how the Scorpions scored.
Brad Hauter: "This isn't good."

(2)Dragan behind but tracking back. (1)Miller shifting over to cover Dragan's player. The two other Scorpion players defended by three Indy Eleven players with (6)Cardona in a good position.

(2) Dragan nearly gets back, (1)Miller drops back towards the middle to help there, and (2)Gentile puts one between all three and kisses it off the post for his first goal of the season.

Now about that PK that wasn't called:
There are two players holding Brian Brown from getting to the ball.

All three players end up in a pile well inside the 18-yard box.

Under the category of "not the way you want to start the second half, but fortunate to come away unscathed," here's how the Eleven managed to keep it 0-1.

6(+1) Eleven vs 4 Scorpions and nobody is in a position that should have prevented a goal.
(2)Dragan (again, playing right back), tracks back to defend Scorpions (2), thereby leaving Scorpions (3) and (4) wide open behind him as four Indy Eleven players trail behind.

(2)Dragan steals the ball, thereby preventing an absolutely easy goal from either of the two Scorpion players who had nothing but free space between them and Cardona.

Well done Dragan!

This is a microcosm of the offensive problems of this season and it comes from strange sources.
Cory Miller starts a run down the far side from the ball. The Eleven CENTER BACK who is not known for his offensive prowess (I love Cory, but that's the truth) is set to make a 70-yard run to put himself in a position for the equalizer.

He realizes the Scorpions have no idea that he is there and calls for the ball.

Don Smart sends a ball his way, but not in way that makes it easy to head or put easily on frame so he one times it back to Brian Brown. As I said at the time and Brad Hauter said during the telecast, "I don't mind that from Cory Miller..." He dropped the ball off to a forward, a player who was signed to score goals, not defend them.

"Settle it and one time it Brian!"

Wait, where are you going Brian!?

He went from having a decent attempt on goal towards a mass of humanity at the PK spot.

Drops it off to Pineda who also has nowhere to go in the bumblebee swarm that was creating. Pineda promptly loses the ball and the Scorpions are off on a counter with one of the Eleven center backs at the opponent's 18-yard box.

How this didn't become a goal for the Scorpions is a mystery to me.

Now for the good news.
Duke Lacroix picked up the ball on a turnover from Hassli and heads towards goal.

Continues all the way across the field, and finds himself in the 18 with a group around him and an open Ceballos at the 6-yard line.

Pass into Ceballos and that bumblebee swarm forms again...

Ceballos chips the nest...



Oh, how I've missed seeing Dylan on the field.

Is anybody else disappointed that we haven't been able to see Ceballos, Steinberger, and Mares on the field at the same time? Yet? The idea makes me simultaneously giddy and sad for what could have been this fall.

Some more Cory Miller love:
Drop kick by Fernandes

Cory Miller - "You take this back!!"

Miller's header finds its way all the way back to the 18-yard after heading it from nearly half field.
Finally to the gut punch:
Defense looks ok, but there's a Scorpion making a run from the center circle.

Me from my seat in the stands: "GET THE MAN COMING DOWN THE MIDDLE." I do have the advantage of seeing the entire field from my seat in the stands so I'm helped out there. I also have the advantage of knowing where the Eleven players have made mistakes in the past.

Still coming down the middle unmarked.

Gut punch...and likely nail in the coffin of making the playoffs.

How about some pretty photos?

Why do other players even bother trying to win a header against Cory? 

The guy who is already low to the ground gets lower.

A cramp on a goalkeeper on a cool night near the 90th minute with a 2-1 lead?
Faker, faker, faker!


1 comment:

Don said...

Great game breakdown.

Always tough on the GK being on the west in with the BYB, but it was really bad after Fernandes faked the cramp.

Ref was horrible.