Saturday, August 6, 2016

Indy Eleven vs Armada - 03.17

- Opponent: Jacksonvile Armada
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 8,017
- Final Score: 5-2 W
- Starting XI: Busch, Palmer, Falvey, Janicki, Vukovic, Mares, Paterson, Ring, Smart, Braun, Zayed
- Substitutions: Franco 62' (Palmer), Torrado 63' (Ring), Youla 69' (Braun)
- Unused: Cardona, Lacroix, Miller, Gordon
- Goals: Braun 13' (assist Mares), Zayed 16' (assist Smart), Vukovic 36', Zayed 58' (assist Braun, Zayed 65', Falvey 80' (Own Goal)
- Bookings: Falvey 1' (Yellow), Janicki 89' (RED)
- Adage goals: None

Midweek game followed by normal work and then a migraine that knocked me out of commission means that I'm behind in my discussion of the game against Jacksonville. As a result, I'm going to try and keep it simple.

While the final scoreline looks completely lopsided, statistically, the Armada looked to hold their own. It's another example of why you shouldn't base a game by just the statistics. As an example, at halftime, both teams had identical Total Shots and Shots on Target, 4 and 3, respectively. At full time, that was only separated slightly to 12 vs 11 and 8 vs 6. And those are just a couple of the cherry-picked stats I grabbed from this game that would have made it seem like it was a closer game than the score indicates. Yet, when Zayed scored the team's second goal of the game in the 16th minute, it seemed like one of those nights when the team was going to cruise to win. A goal by Jacksonville's Kieta in the 33rd minute gave the game that moment that could have turned the momentum, but Vukovic expelled that notion with a left-footed blast from outside the box a mere three minutes later that turned out to be the game-winning goal.

The other stat that I found interesting was that at halftime, Don Smart and Dylan Mares had the second and third lowest touches on the team. Yet, they accounted for the three chances created during the half. Smart was rewarded for his effort in Miami and was a clear thorn in the Armada's side all night. Whether the start was a function of multiple games in a week, I think his last 120 minutes of play warrants him another start on Saturday against Ottawa.

With most of the players that have come back from an injury, Coach Hankinson has eased them back into full game minutes. This was not the case with Falvey. Short of injuries (or red cards), Coach has kept his substitution patterns to Forwards and Midfielders, and the Defenders play 90 minutes. I wondered what Coach would do with Falvey and Falvey did what you expect from him. He was physical on his first major defensive opportunity in the first 43 seconds of the game and that set the tone for his play. As Jacksonville set up for the ensuing free kick, he turns around to Busch and yelled, "he's taking the focking shot." Which Jerome did. Falvey showed why he's the captain.

After Janicki's red card departure (a yellow card to both at that point in the game would have sufficed in my opinion), Vukovic slid into the middle and Smart came back to play left back. At various points this season, Palmer has subbed in and pushed Franco into the midfield, so I'm not particularly worried about not having Janicki on Saturday while he sits for his game suspension. Given Ottawa's 3-5-2 lineup, the focus is going to be on the midfield play, but Miller's play has been outstanding and there are so many pieces available that I think the team will be fine.

One last note. The team was called offside 11 times to Jacksonville's 2. At some point, and I would have thought that it would have happened by now, the forwards need to figure out that the NASL linesman call a very tight game. Half a shoulder length over is going to be called offside. On the season, the team has been called offside more than twice as often as their opponents, 56 to 24. Just as you have to adjust your play to how the center ref is calling the game, the team needs to figure out the assistant refs because it's causing them missed opportunities.

Zayed, Mr. Hat Trick, proved once again that he finds a way to be in the right place at the right time as his second goal was a pinball off of Mares' blast off the woodwork, off of Braun, right to Zayed. Following the loss to Miami last Saturday, a struggling Jacksonville coming to the Mike was the right place at the right time for the team to regain any confidence that was lost. The team has scored 80% of their goals at home this season, so hopefully Ottawa feels the brunt of that confidence.


1 comment:

Don said...

Falvey definitely lets those coming into his area that it won't be uncontested.