Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Indy Eleven vs Rayo OKC - 03.32

- Opponent: Rayo OKC
- Location: Oklahoma
- Attendance: 1,043
- Final Score: 2-1 L
- Starting XI: Cardona, Franco, Keller, Janicki, Shaffer, Paterson, Smart, Gordon, Lacroix, Reinoso, Youla
- Substitutions: Vukovic 45' (Franco), Torrado 62' (Smart)
- Unused: Busch, Ubiparipovic, Busch, Braun, Falvey
- Goals: Paterson 52' (PK)
- Bookings: Franco 29'
- Adage goals: One

Final week of the Fall Season and the Eleven headed to Oklahoma to play a Rayo OKC team fighting for a final spot in the Championship. Similarly, Minnesota United headed to New York with a chance to do the same. That was the narrative during the week ahead of the weekend clashes between the two top teams in the league and the final two remaining teams with a chance to extend their seasons.

Except Minnesota and NY played on Saturday and OKC and Indy played on Sunday. Minnesota proceeded to lose to NY on Saturday giving Rayo OKC the final spot in the Championship regardless of the result on Sunday. So, Rayo OKC and Indy Eleven fans were blessed with a game that was, in the grand scheme of standings, absolutely meaningless. So as we all sat down to watch a digital stream of the game on the patchwork quilt field with 1,000 of our OKC brethren at the stadium, neither team had any motivation other than good ole-fashioned pride.

What resulted was a game that really wasn't all that cohesive for either team. There were a lot of counterattacks for both teams and goals from penalty kicks, set pieces, and a bad defensive breakdown. There were some good moments by both and I'm sure I could analyze it in a lot more detail if I rewatched it again like I typically do, but there isn't much need. The Eleven scored off of a Paterson PK that resulted from a shot by Lacroix that hit an OKC defender's arm. Rayo OKC got their first goal because three different Eleven players didn't close down Velasquez and he got off a shot that was out of the reach of Cardona. The second was on a corner kick where two Indy Eleven players were out-aerial-dueled by two different Rayo players as Indy Eleven players who aren't all 90-minute match fit lately were out-hustled.

Normally, I would be upset about a game that could have been won, but wasn't. However, I have to respect Coach Hankinson for his 18-man travel roster. Just in case Rayo OKC still had something to play for, he traveled to Oklahoma with Busch, Falvey, Zayed, Braun, Ubiparipovic, Vukovic, etc. so that he could put a lineup on the field that respected the game instead of fielding a lineup of predominantly reserves while OKC fielded their starters. Once it was determined that OKC was into the Championship and neither team wanted to risk injuries to their starters, Coach Hankinson had the ability to field a similar lineup as what was fielded in Tampa Bay. All while giving Palmer a chance to recover from his injury against Puerto Rico, preventing Ring from potentially getting his 5th yellow card in the Fall Season (& suspending him for the final game in the process), and giving Mares a rest.

All things considered, the Eleven might not have come home with the victory, but it was probably a fair result. The depth players were able to play some minutes and most importantly, on the velcro quilt field, it didn't seem like anybody got hurt. Not a win on the scoreboard, but maybe a win in all other respects.

Now the Eleven need to prepare for Edmonton who visit The Mike on Saturday with the intent to continue their own season and ruin the Eleven's home unbeaten streak. They need the fans to show up in full voice to help prevent that from happening.

See you there.



Jeff C. said...

Excellent point about the composition of the traveling squad.and the potential of maintaining the integrity of the competition in the event that the match mattered to OKC and Minnesota. Like you, I'm not distressed about the ultimate outcome.

Drew said...

I haven't talked to Coach Hankinson, but that certainly seems to be what he did with the roster.

Jeff C. said...

It makes perfect sense.