Monday, November 14, 2016

Indy Eleven vs Cosmos - 03.34 - Championship Final

- Opponent: New York Cosmos
- Location: New York
- Attendance: 2,150
- Final Score: 0-0 D (Lost 4-2 in PKs)
- Starting XI: Busch, Franco, Falvey, Janicki, Vukovic, Ring, Smart, Mares, Ubiparipovic, Braun, Zayed
- Substitutions: Torrado 45' (Mares), Lacroix 90' (Smart), Paterson 101' (Ubiparipovic)
- Unused: Cardona, Palmer, Keller, Youla
- Goals: None in regulation. Paterson and Vukovic scored in PKs. Zayed and Busch missed.
- Bookings: Ring 72' (Yellow), Falvey 83' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

So that emotion doesn't get in the way of the start of this review, let's start with some season stats from the Opta Stats.
#1 New York - 59
#2 Indy - 51

Average Goals per Game
#1 New York - 1.84
#2 Indy - 1.59

Shots (excluding blocked shots)
#1 New York - 354
#3 Indy - 331

% Shots on Target
#1 New York - 48.0%
#5 Indy - 44.4%

% Goals to Shots
#1 New York - 16.70%
#2 Indy - 15.40%

Total Crosses
#9 New York - 524
#2 Indy - 643

Cross Completion %
#7 New York - 23.90%
#2 Indy - 25.70%

I could cherry pick a few more, but the bottom line is that Sunday's game between the Indy Eleven and the New York Cosmos took place between the #1 and #2 teams in the league and a large portion of the statistics are consistent with their final standing ranks. Despite a couple of lopsided scores between these two teams in the Fall Season, this game had all the indications of being exactly what it turned out to be; a back and forth game that needed 120 minutes and penalty kicks to determine a winner. Both team had chances throughout the game, but neither team could break the seal that might have opened it up and turned it into a high scoring game. Officially, the two goalkeepers only had 5 saves between them (1 for Maurer, 4 for Busch), but there were plenty of nervy moments for both team's fans, most notably, a blast from Don Smart that took the crossbar challenge to a new level in the 70th minute.

On the season, the Cosmos were able to get winning results 84% of the time when scoring first and the Eleven were able to get winning results 76% of the time, both behind only Edmonton's 93%. Which is why the Eleven looked to come out on the gas pedal in the first 20 minutes to try and get ahead early. The Cosmos settled into the game after that and the game grind was underway.

I have questions about how the game progressed, (why was Mares pulled at half, why did Busch take the third penalty kick, who was scheduled to take the fifth), but The Eleven have shown that they can, and did, compete with the best teams in the league for the duration of the year and it took the Cosmos, at their pseudo home field, penalty kicks to beat them in the Championship. Given the flux of the NASL next year, a Cosmos-Eleven rematch may not be out of the question.

It would be nice to look at this game as a bonus from what the fans expected coming into the season, but right now, it feels like April can't come soon enough. I plan to do a season review in the near future, but Coach Hankinson has indicated that the goal for next season is to add key pieces and not another complete overhaul of the roster.

Winning breeds winning and a loss in the Final makes you want to get back to remedy that losing feeling. Ask Falvey, Paterson, and Ubiparipovic if they're ready to get to the Final again.

Now ask them if they wish they could get started tomorrow.

Final over and lost.

Expectations risen from the ashes.


1 comment:

Jeff C. said...

That hurt.