Thursday, September 1, 2016

Indy Eleven vs Cosmos - 03.22

- Opponent: New York Cosmos
- Location: New York
- Attendance: 2,977
- Final Score: 3-0 L
- Starting XI: Busch, Palmer, Falvey, Miller, Vukovic, Smart, Ring, Paterson, Mares, Youla, Zayed
- Substitutions: Gordon 45' (Ring), Keller 55' (Youla), Reinoso 74' (Smart)
- Unused: Cardona, Paterson, Ubiparipovic, Lacroix
- Goals: None
- Bookings: Miller 53' (RED), Youla 55' (Yellow), Palmer 67' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

"It's time to tell it like it is sports fans and this is the most wretched road trip I've seen in 20 years." - Bull Durham

There are games where finding a theme of these recaps comes easily and the words flow onto the page. Yet, how many ways can it be said that this team struggles on the road? The above quote is a bit of an exaggeration, but every time the Eleven head out on the road, it concerns me. The white on white on white away kits need to be retired as soon as humanly possible. The team went to James M. Shuart Stadium and in front of less than 3,000 people started poorly and continued that throughout the entirety of the game. You can look at the stats if you want, but the Eleven were really never in this game and were outplayed from start to finish and as a result, finished a three game road trip with a single point and a -4 goal differential giving up 7 goals.

The Cosmos looked quicker to balls, were more crisp with their passes, and generally played with more energy. The early goal by Bover in the 8th minute was indicative of much of the play for the Eleven. As organized as they have been in defense most of the year, every single player seemed to be playing reactive defensive and chasing the ball and defenders. Arrieta had three defenders around him when he passed the ball to Bover and that was not an isolated incident where Cosmos players out-maneuvered Eleven defenders.

That reactive defending directly led to two separate penalty kicks for the Cosmos and numerous other opportunities. While we're talking about the PKs, it was only a matter of time before Miller gave one up. We all love him for his fight, but he lives on the sword's edge with his tackles and this one went against him. You could blame the reactive defending on the Cosmos' having an extra day of rest and no travel before the game, but I don't think that was it.

The Cosmos just wanted it more. A win provided them some temporary separation in a race for the Fall Season, especially with a streaking Edmonton (who has games in hand), but maybe more importantly, their win exacted some level of revenge for a game they felt they had won in the Spring only to see it slip away in the dying moments. While there were a lot of games that factored into the Spring Season standings, most people point to that game as being the deciding factor into who won the Spring Championship. From the way this game was played, it doesn't look like they forgot.

The better team won tonight and unfortunately for Indy Eleven fans, that team wasn't the Indy Eleven. Luckily, the team head home for a Saturday game against a much less streaking Tampa Bay Rowdies.


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