Monday, June 27, 2016

Indy Eleven vs Pachuca FC - International Exhibition

- Opponent: C.F. Pachuca
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 6,605
- Final Score: 1-0 W
- Starting XI: Cardona, Franco, Miller, Janicki, Keller, Mares, Torrado, Paterson, Gordon, Zayed, Youla
- Substitutions: Lacroix 45' (Gordon), Braun 45' (Zayed), Vukovic 60' (Mares), Ring 62' (Torrado), Ubiparipovic 68'  (Youla), Palmer 77' (Janicki)
- Unused: Busch, Reinoso
- Goals: Zayed 7'
- Bookings: Keller 45' (Yellow), Miller 84' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

After my field temperature experiment for the Carolina game, I decided to go better prepared this week as the Indy Eleven took on C.F. Pachuca for an international friendly with a start time of 1:30 on a day where the outside temperature was in the low 90s. Not surprisingly, the temperature at field level was well above the air temperature to the point where I wondered if the thermometer was working properly because it kept rising. I shaded it from the sun and it immediately went down so I think it was accurate. It finally stopped rising at 137-degrees F. While the periodic clouds provided a noticeable reduction in the air temperature, it didn't do much to cool the field temperature and I watched several players grab the water bottles spread out around the field and use them on their cleats instead of drinking it.

Yet, despite the heat and the international friendly aspect of the game, there was a good pace to the game with both teams having good chances on goal. Pachuca managed more shots than the Eleven, but Cardona did well with his placement and his athletic ability to make a few of them seem a little more routine than they actually were. Pachuca held the bulk of the possession, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who has watched the Eleven play this season. Based solely on the statistics, you might be inclined to say that Pachuca were the better team, but if there's anything we've learned about Indy Eleven 3.0, stats can be deceiving, they're opportunistic, and they're not going to quit. Or as was the case for this game, Zayed found an early goal because he didn't quit on the play and when two Pachuca defenders (Martinez and U.S. Men's National Team member Omar Gonzalez) misplayed a ball over the top, he was there to gather the ball and slot it nicely into the left side of the goal.

The thing that always makes international friendlies interesting for me is the number of subs that are available to each team. It can often create a disjointed feeling to the game as players are coming in and times that are different than their normal substitution patterns and trying to get immediately into the flow of the game. Los Tuzos tried to solve this, and the temperature problem, by making wholesale changes to their lineup at halftime, removing all 11 players for a new set of 11. The Eleven made 6 substitutions of their own, leaving just Cardona, Franco, Miller, Keller, and Paterson playing the entirety of the 90 minutes between the two teams. Probably not surprisingly from Coach Hankinson, the players he played the entire game were all in the defense. Build from the back. I jokingly said that Busch didn't play because in that heat and his age, his normal attire of long sleeves and long pants would have risked putting him in the ER from heat stroke.

The announced attendance was 6,055 and there was easily a 75% bias to the Mexican side. A game with La Liga MX champions in conjunction with the debut of recent Indy Eleven signing, and Mexican international, Gerrado Torrado created an atmosphere that was heavy on Spanish speaking players, fans, chants (and insults), and culture. Whether Torrado's presence will further translate to some of those fans returning during the NASL games is yet to be determined. As I reflect back on Torrado's debut, it's hard to judge. The international friendly aspect of it creates its own challenges, but I think Torrado had a good solid shift. Did he do anything spectacular? Not really. Did he do anything horrible. Not really. He just had a good start to his time here as he starts to learn about his teammates.

One thing that amazed me between the styles of the two teams was the difference in width. As we've noticed from the Eleven's average location maps throughout the Spring Season, the midfielders and the forwards tend to pinch in towards the middle. Pachuca's players, particularly in the first half, played sideline to sideline. Even when the ball switched to the opposite side, they remained glued to the sideline creating amazing width and switching options as the Eleven players continued their trend of pinching into the middle. The Eleven did a good job of recovering, but it was impressive to see how disciplined Los Tuzos remained at trying to keep that width.

Overall, it was a good game, good crowd (though I wasn't impressed with the bad language around me...even with my rough Spanish, I still remember a lot of the cuss words and those were plentiful), and a good result for the Eleven.

One of these guys scored a goal. The other misplayed the ball that lead to the goal. Faces tell you everything.

This was one of the last things I remember seeing before ducking down as Cory Miller jumped over me as I got stuck trying to figure out where to go to not make our collision worse. Not convinced I made the right decision after hearing him hit the stands and then pick himself up off the ground. So glad he turned out to be okay.


1 comment:

Don said...

Still undefeated. Man was it HOT!!