Monday, September 4, 2017

Indy Eleven vs Deltas - 04.22

- Opponent: San Francisco Deltas
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: 8,702
- Final Score: 2-0 L
- Starting XI: Busch, Franco, Falvey, Miller, Vukovic, Thompson, Ring, Torrado, Goldsmith, Zayed, Speas
- Substitutions: Ables 78' (Goldsmith)
- Unused: Cardona, Watson-Siriboe, Ubiparipovic, Lomeli
- Goals: None
- Bookings: Franco 74' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: Two

The Indy Eleven took to Carroll Stadium on Public Safety Night on Labor Day weekend with both the Indianapolis Fire Department and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on hand and the Eleven could have used the IMPD at one point during the game. More on that in a minute. Given that it's a holiday weekend, I debated the extent of how much I would write about this gam. Various team members seem to not be playing to their full abilities (and if rumors are to be believed, it wouldn't surprise me) so maybe I wouldn't write to my full abilities. A relaxing weekend and another poor showing by the team produces a visual breakdown response. If you want more from me than this, tell the team to stop playing like there isn't any urgency, especially at home where they are 0W-0D-3L in the Fall season, and like they want to get off the bottom of the Fall table with only 10 games left. Other teams seem to have figured out they are all playing for 2nd place and are playing harder, with more urgency, and are pressing the Eleven more than the Eleven are reciprocating.

The bad:
4 shots for Indy
24 shots for San Fran

The really bad:
4 chances created for indy (three different players)
24 chances created for San Fran (EIGHT different players)

The visual evidence of the bad:

So let's talk about San Francisco's first goal. Pablo has the ball with relaxed defending from Vukovic, but he at least ushers him towards the center of the field where there is help.

Cory Miller steps forward to Pablo, who pushes the ball out wide to Stephens. Vukovic peels off to defend Stephens, while Ring, Torrado, and Miller to cover the run of Pablo. At this point, there are 6 defenders plus Busch and 4 Deltas players. Pablo continues his run to the center of the box, while Falvey maintains his man-marking of Teijsse.

Vukovic provides absolutely zero pressure on Stephens, who has free reign to center the ball. Pablo continues his run to the six-yard box unimpeded with only Ring in the general vicinity. Falvey continues his man-marking of Teijsse who made a run to the near post.

Pablo gets to the ball and heads it past Busch.
SFD 1 - 0 IND.

Now let's dive into the second Deltas goal. Pablo once again has the ball with multiple players around him. He goes at Falvey, who chose to defend like a matador instead of the bull, and easily gets around him and goes straight towards Busch.

Busch, not surprisingly, does everything correctly. 1) He cuts down the angle. 2) He kept his legs close to prevent Pablo trying the 5-hole. 3) Has his arms out to try and stop the ball. Pablo find the only available spot to put it in the goal.

This is the opening that Pablo saw to score his second goal of the game. Sometimes you just have to give it up to an individual effort. I haven't watched any of the other games for the weekend, but I'm banking on this being the Play of the Week.

The Eleven did see one of their own shots find the back of the net, but it was called back for being offside. An incorrectly called offside. I know the game moves fast, but these are the kinds of calls that "professional" referees shouldn't miss. Not only was Goldsmith onside when the ball was played from Zayed, he was onside when the ball passed him and the defender. Goldsmith continued the play and nicely slotted the ball under the keeper. Maybe as concerning, and this goes back to the "bad" and "really bad" stats above, there are two Eleven offensive players anywhere close to the final third with 7 Delta defenders + keeper behind the ball. It's difficult to see in the below screenshot, but Ring is running forward, Thompson is running forward, while Franco, Speas, and Vuko are well out of the play or walking (I'm looking at you Speas). No urgency...

Speas... The official NASL formation called this lineup a 4-4-2, but it played more like a 4-3-3 with Speas up top with Goldsmith and Zayed. I don't know if that was purposeful on Coach Hankinson's part because of the Delta's formation, but Speas is a defensive liability. If he loses the ball, I haven't seen the drive in him to run back and defend. As the ball heads the other direction, Speas walks back.

The Game Beckons Game Ball:

Cory Miller. It's been 11 months since he played a game and he played a full 90 minutes. Normally, Coach Hankinson likes to work guys back into match fitness, but he didn't do that with Miller. Whether that was because he trusts a "getting back into form" Miller more than a healthy Watson-Siriboe, I think it was the correct decision. He looked rusty at times, but his physical and aerial presence is right back where he left off last year.

Photos (courtesy of, now famous, Don Thompson Photography):


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