Sunday, May 28, 2017

Indy Eleven vs Eddies - 04.09

- Opponent: FC Edmonton
- Location: Edmonton
- Attendance: 4,096
- Final Score: 2-1 L
- Starting XI: Busch, Franco, Falvey, Watson-Siriboe, Vukovic, Keller, Ring, Speas, Ubiparipovic, Torrado, Braun
- Substitutions: Goldsmith 67' (Ring), Plumhoff 74' (Keller), Manning 89' (Franco)
- Unused: Cardona, Thompson, Poltronieri
- Goals: Plumhoff 80' (assist Braun)
- Bookings: Falvey 9' (Yellow), Torrado 25' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: One

Losing to Miami in back-to-back weeks is understandable. Unfortunate, but understandable. Losing to the Michigan Bucks in the middle of the week between those two games is also unfortunate, but in my opinion, inexcusable. A week after all of that frustration, the Indy Eleven traveled to Edmonton on Saturday to play a team that has, perhaps, struggled even more than the Indy Eleven this season to get positive results. The two teams played against each other in one of last year's semifinal matchups and this year find themselves competing against each other to not be at the bottom of the table. Both teams have the benefit that Puerto Rico holds down that spot for the time being. A team, like the Eleven, who have yet to win a game this season and who have already fired their head coach.

Going into the game, Edmonton had only managed to score 3 goals all season, two of which came in one game against Puerto Rico. The Eleven needed to go to Canada and find the back of the net against a team that looked like they would have had a hard time scoring multiple goals to overcome any deficit. They scored twice on the Eleven.

This is the face of someone who has kicked the turf and
not one of someone who has been tripped.
Photo credit: NASL/FC Edmonton
I think we can all agree that the first goal by Edmonton off the Corea penalty kick was the result of a horrible sequence of events that exemplifies everybody's frustrations with NASL referees. Corea kicks the ground and trips himself in the penalty box, but because he has three Eleven players near him, a penalty kick is awarded. A penalty kick that even the Edmonton announcers questioned. Torrado's own frustration bubbled over as he used the opportunity to get a drink from Busch's water bottle after the ball had been placed for the kick, then walked straight to Corea taking the kick, touched him on the arm, and provided Corea with some choice words. At which point, he was shown his third yellow in as many games. Personally, I'm starting to think he's just trying to get to his 5th yellow of the spring season so he can take a game off. He's clearly frustrated with the way things are going, but that was not a smart card to receive. The ref, while bad, had no other option but to give him the card. After that, Corea stutter-stepped his way to blasting the penalty kick off the right side of the crossbar even though Busch went to the left. But wait, the call that's never called gets called as the Eleven were charged with encroachment. Corea gets to make amends of his poor first attempt, goes the opposite direction, which Busch did as well, and the Eddies found themselves up a goal in the 27th minute.

For what it's worth, Torrado's yellow card had to be given, but Falvey's yellow confuses me. Falvey's leg never came any higher than his hip and Ledgerwood jumped into the ball and kick. How that goes as a foul, much less a yellow card is beyond me. Did you know that the Eleven have conceded 113 fouls on the season and that their opponents have conceded 114 fouls? Did you know that the Eleven have been shown 18 yellow cards (highest in the league), while their opponents have been shown a total of 7. I've watched every Eleven game and the Eleven isn't that substantially more physical than their opponents. Unfairly targeted? Maybe.

All that being said, Edmonton's second goal off a set-piece was a result of poor man marking. Three different Eddies could have had a chance at the ball that Straith put in the back of the net in stoppage time of the first half. For a team that has been struggling offensively, two goals in the first half must have felt like the flood gates opened. For the Eleven, a two-goal deficit was never going to be an easy task this year. Braun has scored 4 of the team's 9 goals (and now assisted on 3 more) so as I've been saying for weeks now, the Eleven's offense goes as Braun goes. With a two goal lead, at home, and the struggles they've had this year, Edmonton could have parked the bus and defend what has become a fairly inept offense as of late.

The question that we're all asking is what happened to last year's team? Who left and who took their place?

  • Gordon
  • Janicki
  • Lacroix
  • Larrea
  • Mares
  • Paterson
  • Reinoso
  • Shaffer
  • Wojcik
  • Youla
Some of those seem like underwhelming or under-performing players, right? Yet, that list accounts for 21 goals last year. If you total the goals scored by all the returning players not named Zayed? 15. With 8 of those being from Braun. Ubi and Torrado didn't score a single goal in the regular season last year so it's not surprising they haven't done so this year. Goldsmith, Speas, and Thompson have shown promise and have found the woodwork on a few occasions, but two of those are rookies and Eleven rookies have historically struggled to significantly impact the team. I don't think a healthy Smart or Zayed immediately turn this team's fortunes around, but Zayed's ability to poach goals and Smart's crosses are two components that are sorely missed right now. Zayed's presence should also take some of the pressure off of Braun and he's drawing A LOT of attention these days. 

Neither of those guys are due back soon so this could get worse before it gets better. After a string of six draws to start the season, the Eleven have fallen off the cliff the past three games (four if you count the Open Cup game against the Michigan Bucks). A win against another struggling team in Edmonton would have been a helpful boost to the morale. As it was, Brad Ring's assault of the unassuming Gatorade bottle when he was subbed off in the 67th minute was the perfect display of the frustration he feels with the results. 

Can the Eleven climb back out of the canyon? They get a chance next week in San Francisco next week before coming home to the Mike to face Jacksonville. A win in San Fran looks to be an absolute necessity, not only for affect on the standings, but also for the morale of the team.


1 comment:

Don said...

I love the way you summarize a match. Great job.

I'm not sure there is any hope for this season.