Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Indy Eleven vs Cosmos - 04.28

- Opponent: New York Cosmos
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: 8,998
- Final Score: 2-2 D
- Starting XI: Busch, Franco, Falvey, Miller, Keller, Ring, Torrado, Smart, Speas, Vukovic, Zayed
- Substitutions: Junior 82' (Smart)
- Unused: Cardona, Watson-Siriboe, Henderson, Ubiparipovic, Thompson, Goldsmith
- Goals: Smart 27' (assist Franco), Zayed 64' (assist Smart)
- Bookings: Falvey 32' (Yellow), Ring 53' (Yellow), Torrado 53' (Yellow), Zayed 90'+3' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: One

A game against the Cosmos ends in a draw more than 70% of the time, so we should just expect that as the baseline going into the game. No lead is safe. No deficit is impossible to overcome. The Eleven scored first with a blast from Smart just inside the corner of the 18-yard box. The Cosmos countered with a goal of their own first half goal nine minutes later, when Ledesma out-worked Falvey and Miller and followed-up a rocket from Marquez that Busch could do nothing with but parry away. Falvey and Miller stood flat-footed as Ledesma ran right past them to get to the rebound.

Seconds after the halftime whistle blew, the sky's opened and a heavy rain forced fans to find shelter where possible. Many people decided that their shelter would be their car and never returned. For those that stayed, the second half provided them much of the same as the first half. The Cosmos held more possession and more than doubled the number of shots, but the Eleven put the ball in the back of the net first in the 64th minute when first half goalscorer Smart turned provider and put a ball across the goal face that Zayed, prone to be in an offside position during this game, timed perfectly and calmly put past Maurer. Yet just like the first half, the Eleven couldn't hold onto the lead, and Marquez scored on a shot inside the box after the defense was slow to react.

Coach Hankinson once again employed Vukovic in the midfield. Based on goals scored, you would have to question its success, but I personally feel much more comfortable with Keller in the backline. Much like Palmer wasn't going to get as involved in the offense as Franco, Keller isn't going to go forward and forego his defensive responsibilities. What I don't understand with the change, is why he keeps lining up on the right side of the field with Smart on the left side of the field. Neither player wants to send in a cross from that side with their less-favored leg, so each player turns and brings the ball into the middle so that they can serve a ball with their preferred leg. Both players, and by extension the team, were much more successful on their desired side of the field.

Mathematically, the team is still alive. Realistically, the Eleven needed to come away with a win at home against one of the teams ahead of them in the Combined Table. Particularly with games against the two league-leading teams this week in San Francisco and home versus Miami. Unfortunately, the team squandered two separate leads and racked up a few more yellows. Which, if you're keeping track, both Ring and Smart are a yellow away from getting their 5th yellow in the Fall Season and will have to sit for yellow card accumulation and Torrado, having already served a one-game suspension for his yellow cards, is now just one more yellow card away from serving his second one-game suspension. I doubt he makes it through the next three games without getting a card, it will just depend on when it happens. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball:

I've been stingy with the GBGB in the Fall Season, but Smart deserves it for this game for putting the team on his back and getting it done on the offensive end of the field. The defense didn't help him out, but put in a solid shift to try and get the team a win. "Mr. Indy" also reached 100 appearances (across all competitions) for the Indy Eleven in this game. Whether he's back next year or not, Smart's been fighting for this team for a long time and continued that effort on Saturday night.

Photos (courtesy of Don Thompson Photography):


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