Sunday, July 24, 2016

Indy Eleven vs Eddies - 03.15

- Opponent: FC Edmonton
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 8,119
- Final Score: 1-0 W
- Starting XI: Busch, Franco, Miller, Janicki, Vukovic, Mares, Torrado, Ring, Gordon, Braun, Zayed
- Substitutions: Paterson 60' (Torrado), Smart 68' (Gordon), Palmer 82' (Mares)
- Unused: Cardona, Ubiparipovic, Keller, Youla
- Goals: Janicki 13' (assist Mares)
- Bookings: Ring 59' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

First, let's address the bumblebee in the room. The striped socks work. It may have been a result of the Ronald McDonald appearance and sponsorship, but they were a nice change of pace from the typical NASL solid colored sock. As Patrick Cummings can attest, there aren't a lot of teams wearing any kinds of designs on the socks and the one that does (Tampa Bay) looks nice. Given that the team has settled on the all blues at home and the all whites on the road, it's nice to see something different once in awhile.

I love that the XI have decided to push Janicki and Miller forward on set pieces in the final third. Their height and desire to go for those kinds of balls is something that wasn't there last season. Miller rarely misses on a defensive header so it's been a nice tactical decision this season to get he and Janicki into the mix on set pieces. As a result, with Janicki's 13th minute goal, he is now tied for second on the team with three goals; two of them coming in the past three games. I think it's just a matter of time before Miller finds his way onto the scoreboard too.

Early on in the game, I commented that Torrado was "playing like a guy who knows he's not going the full 90. Like he's going to play 60 minutes." It's been stated that part of the reasoning behind Torrado's signing that made it acceptable to the team is that there were conversations with the trainers at Cruz Azul and they stated that Torrado was extremely fit and conscientious about his fitness. Despite that, a 37-year old veteran on a night where game time temps were still in the 90s and humidity causing it to feel like triple digits, and having only played 45 minutes for the team, it just seemed like he was exerting himself at a level knowing that he wasn't going to play the entire game. Amazingly, that was exactly when he came out of the game. While he was in though, I can only remember a couple of bad touches (and there were a lot of those by the Eleven), but his thought process was spot on every time. He made the right decision with the ball and it will be interesting to see how the midfield is used in the coming weeks with Mares playing well, Ring and Paterson playing well in the dual holding midfield role, and Ubiparipovic healthy again.

There were a lot of bad touches by the Eleven that lost them possession of the ball. I'm only going by gut feeling here, but it felt like Gordon and Braun were the worst offenders. Braun's touch was definitely off and it was both in receiving and passing. His motor was still at its usual high level so hopefully it was just an off night for him.

There were quite a few items that I thought about discussing for this game. Edmonton's possession being high for a team that likes to defend, but how much of that possession took place in their own defensive third. Yet, the one that really jumped out was Indy Eleven's Successful Crosses. Historically this season, the Eleven are successful on their crosses 25% of the time. They doubled that for this game. There were several chances, notably Zayed, Gordon, and Braun, who were able to get a head to the crosses that nearly found the goal. An 8 save game by VanOekel helped prevent those from adding to the Eleven's goal total. Maybe the Eleven can continue that in the future.

Against a team like Edmonton that had some new combinations in the backline, it's a little disappointing that the Eleven weren't able to take better advantage of their lack of familiarity with each. The effort was there and there were some good opportunities to get a second goal, but the overall sharpness of the team just wasn't there for this game. Maybe most exemplified in the 90th minute when Busch uncharacteristically nearly gave it away to Fordyce in the box after dropping the ball to his feet and Fordyce charged in to get it from Busch's side. Busch played it off Fordyce and picked the ball back up. He survived the miscue, and the Eleven were able to ride out Janicki's goal to get them to back to the top of the Fall and Combined Tables.

After their first loss of the year to Minnesota last week, a win is a good response.

Photos by Don Thompson Photography


1 comment:

Don said...

Good win in the heat.