Friday, November 4, 2016

An Open Letter to Indy Eleven fans

Dear Indy Eleven Fans,

Tomorrow is the culmination of a year well spent at The Mike. A year in which we saw some old friends leave, saw some old friends stay, and welcomed in a new group of guys and coach with the explicit goal of winning a championship. A goal that past experience told us was unattainable. A goal that past experience told us was laughable. A goal that past experience told us was beyond reason.

A goal that they firmly believed was possible and they would take us with them kicking and screaming if they needed.

Well, they have taken us kicking and screaming and it turns out that our kicking and screaming further spurred them along in home game result after home game result. Their talent, desire, teamwork, and grit combined with the fans and the constant voice of the Brickyard Battalion to create a fortress at The Mike that only three teams were able to even come close to cracking. Opponents were able to get draws just 3 times out of 16 visits to Indianapolis and not one team went home with three points in their suitcases.

13 Wins - 3 Draws - 0 Losses in The Mike.

In just the second game of the Spring Season, Ottawa nearly pulled out a victory, but an 89th minute goal by Vukovic started the year's home #Undefeated streak. The most recent was the last game of one of the 3 games in 7 day stretches at the beginning of September when Tampa Bay came to town and got on the board first only to see the Eleven equalize six minutes later. The only other draw at home was in early May when FC Edmonton, the team that the Eleven will be playing tomorrow, went down a goal 22 minutes in, but got one of their own before half.

Three draws at home. 1-1 scorelines.

Let's flashback to a cold night in the middle of October 2014, when the Eleven finally won at home for the first time in their, then, short tenure. In what has become an iconic moment in the history of this club, fans stormed the field to celebrate with the players after exercising the home field demons of that season.

Fast forward to 2016 and the final game of the Spring Season. With a routine win at home, the Eleven would finish second in the league with work to do in the Fall to make sure they made the playoffs. Win by 3 goals and the tiebreakers fall the Eleven's way to claim a Spring Season title. After an early goal by Zayed, Carolina scored a goal of their own, meaning the Eleven now had to score 4 goals. Again, laughable based on everything the history of this club had taught us to date. Yet a first half stoppage time goal by Braun and two more goals by Zayed and the "Miracle at The Mike" was complete. While not official until the next day, the Eleven claimed its first piece of hardware in its history and fans, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the victory, something that seemed completely unattainable, once again took to the field to celebrate with Mr. Hat Trick and The Legend.

So Edmonton comes to town tomorrow to do what no team has done all year at The Mike. Win. Draws are no longer an option. If results go the right way, the Eleven could be playing for the Soccer Bowl a week later, again at The Mike. Regardless of what happens in the next week, I want to remind us all to "act like ya been there."

We've been on the field. We've now celebrated cathartic and amazing victories standing next to our home club players. We've been there. We now know what it's like to watch winning soccer in our home stadium week after week. We've witness a turnaround from a team that just couldn't get results to a team that we expect to win most games they play, especially at home. So...

Raise your voice.
Stomp your feet so much that the metal bleachers vibrate and ring throughout the Circle City.
Bang on the drums.
Celebrate what has become an unforgettable season.

If the Eleven are able to win two more games at home, though, let them enjoy the wins together as a team for a bit. I promise you, they'll find us when they're done celebrating with their brothers. We mean as much to them as they do to us.

So let them have that moment. They deserve it.


Fan, Season Ticket Holder, Beat Writer
(in that order this weekend and hopefully next)

No comments: