Sunday, October 15, 2017

Indy Eleven vs Miami FC - 04.30

- Opponent: Miami FC
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: 8,925
- Final Score: 3-0 L
- Starting XI: Busch, Franco, Falvey, Miller, Keller, Torrado, Henderson, Junior, Speas, Vukovic, Zayed
- Substitutions: Goldsmith 53' (Junior); Ubiparipovic 63' (Henderson); Thompson 67' (Speas)
- Unused: Cardona, Watson-Siriboe, Lomeli, Ables
- Goals: None
- Bookings: Torrado 41' (Yellow - 8th of the Fall Season - will miss next game due to card accumulation for the second time this Fall Season)
- Adage goals: Two

Over the years in my different blog iterations, I've made reference to a phrase, "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics." If somebody told you that a team had a 23 to 9 shot advantage (6 to 3 on target, respectively), had a nearly 60/40 advantage in duels won & aerials won, had a 5 to 2 corner advantage, had an 18 to 6 cross advantage, required only 4 clearances to 30 for the other team, and that the first team's goalkeeper wasn't credited with a single save while the second team's goalkeeper had 6 saves, you would likely assume that the first team was the winning team. In this case, you would be completely wrong. Statistically, the Eleven dominated nearly every category except for possession and most importantly, the scoreboard.

Miami was credited with 3 shots on goal and all three went for goals. All coming in the first half. Indy started the game pressing Miami's backline, knowing that it needed to get ahead of Miami, but it was Miami that struck first, thereby forcing Indy to chase the game. The second half substitutions for the Eleven, in essence, created a 3 back lineup to provide more offensive going forward trying to find a goal to give them some kind of hope of getting back into the game. This change is what precipitated the stats above, but even under that "pressure," Miami always looked like the better team during this game. Miami didn't put nearly the same pressure on Indy in the second half as they did in the first, otherwise this could have been a 6 - 0 scoreline. It's nice to watch beautiful one- and two-touch soccer, with movement that forces the team to chase shadows. Unfortunately for Indy Eleven fans, that team was the opposition and not their home squad, who continued to have poor communication (see a sequence of one of those times in the photos below) and unforced errors.

NASL/Opta Stats - Passing setup for Mares goal
The Eleven needed a win today to keep any glimmer of hope of making the playoffs, but by halftime, the possibility of getting extra games this Fall Season were extinguished. Miami's Stefano Pinho had a brace, scoring in the 4th and 34th minutes, and former Indy Eleven player Dylan Mares capped the scoring a few minutes later in the 38th minute. Miami FC held a 61.5% to 38.5% possession advantage because they were content, and able, to pass the ball around, looking for their opportunities to go forward. How they didn't have more shots is a mystery to me.

How the Eleven generated as many as they did is also a mystery to me. At one point in the game, I wrote down in my notes (which has been said before here and elsewhere), "you don't score 100% of the shots you don't take." One of the Eleven's major faults this year has been a slow trigger on taking shots. What should be a one touch shot ends up being two and defended away. What should be two touches, ends up being five and defended away. With Braun out, this team lacks his motor and hold-up play, and nobody on the roster seems to be able to generate their own shots. The first 20 minutes or so of the game, Paulo Junior and Torrado did the best at trying to generate movement going forward, but were not able to sustain that for 90 minutes.

Many times during games, I write something in my notes that turns out to not be accurate once I've looked at the stats or re-watched the game. That was not the case today. As I watched, it looked like both teams had a very compact grouping around the center of the field, with only about 40 yards separating both defensive lines. Looking at the average position graph from NASL/Opta Stats, my assessment was accurate. My observation occurred in the second half when Miami had, in essence, parked the bus and were trying to prevent the balls over the top by Indy and Indy was trying to push forward to get something positive on offense.

With the loss, the Indy Eleven are officially, mathematically, eliminated from post-season play. As poor as the results have been lately, I'm not sure how they will get motivated to play the final two games, other than to not finish last. I've touched on it recently, but it's officially time for #Minutes4Lomeli as he is the only player on the roster to not see time this year. Even if it's just a half worth of action at some point. Other than pride and future roster spots (likely on other teams for many/most of these guys), there's no reason not to give him a chance at playing.

This has been a difficult season for the Eleven and their fans and there's a level of gratitude for it all to be officially over now that the math can't work in their favor any longer. With today's result, the fans can stop being concerned with this year's results and can focus on whether there will be a team at all for next year.

Wait, that's not much better...

Photos (courtesy of Don Thompson Photography)


1 comment:

Jeff C. said...

Mares had to score, didn't he? Sigh.