Monday, October 2, 2017

Indy Eleven vs North Carolina FC - 04.26

- Opponent: North Carolina FC
- Location: Cary, North Carolina
- Attendance: 4,209
- Final Score: 5-0 L
- Starting XI: Busch, Franco, Falvey, Miller, Vukovic, Ring, Henderson, Junior, Thompson, Speas, Goldsmith
- Substitutions: Watson-Siriboe 45' (Falvey), Keller 45' (Ring), Ables 65' (Speas)
- Unused: Cardona, Smart, Zayed
- Goals: NONE
- Bookings: NONE
- Adage goals: THREE

I've been saying that it might be time to give the young guys some more playing time to see if they can provide a spark to the team that seems to be missing from their older counterparts. I don't know if that thought process had anything to do with it, but Coach Hankinson took the lineup and significantly reduced the average age, particularly in the second half, when both Ring and captain Falvey were pulled at halftime for Keller and Watson-Siriboe. Speas continued for another 20 minutes in the second half before his replacement in Adrian Ables found the field. Not counting Busch, at the end of the game, Vuko was the oldest player on the field for the Eleven at the age of 33. Henderson is barely 30 and the rest of the lineup consisted of twentysomethings. I'm not sure what precipitated the change in Coach's mind, butthe youth were clearly given their chance. Torrado and Ubi didn't even make the trip while Smart and Zayed were available for selection but didn't play.

Unfortunately, the spark created by the young guys ignited a dumpster fire. A 2nd largest goal differential in the history of the Indy Eleven dumpster fire. It could have been much worse dumpster fire.

Passes were sloppy, touches were careless, and goals were aplenty for NCFC, starting with a goal in the 9th minute where Gorne got inside position on Miller. NCFC were the aggressor from the start, providing constant pressure on the ball every time the Eleven players had the ball, whereas the opposite mindset was in play when NCFC had the ball. Indy chased the ball as North Carolina moved it at will around them.

NASL Scoreline Summary
Last week, the team posted an article on their site, written by Eamon Zayed. Zayed has done this a couple times this year, but this post relates to his time as a youth with Leicester City FC and "the fairytale story of the 2015/16 season when Leicester went on to secure the most unfathomable dream of winning the Premiership Title that year." Zayed goes onto describe how prior to the 2015/16 season, the Foxes were 9 games from the end of the season, having won only 4 times in 29 games and being 7 points away from the relegation line. They then proceeded to win 7 of their last 9 games and securing their stay in the Premier League and then winning the entire thing the next year. Zayed conveys this story because he was looking for belief that the Indy Eleven, with 8 games remaining at that point, could go on a run to get into this year's NASL Championship. I thought of this article after the NCFC game, not because I had the same belief as Zayed that the team could go on this year, but because he had the Leicester City reference correct, just the wrong years...

In the 2015/16 Premier League, Leicester City won the league. In the 2016/17 season, Leicester City "finished 12th, thereby setting a new record for the worst Premier League title defense." In 2015, the Indy Eleven finished 9th out of the then 11 teams in the NASL, but got wins in two of their last three games. In 2016, the Eleven had their own fairytale story, winning the Spring Championship and going undefeated at home. Like water, maybe Leicester City and the Indy Eleven have just "found their level" and last year's amazing run can, and should, be looked as a lightning in the bottle season where very few things went wrong.

Maybe I'm just being pessimistic again, but the guys looked disinterested, like they were going through the motions to just get through a crappy, injury-riddled season, in a league that might not be here next year. If that's the case, I can understand their mentality, because it's much the same way as I feel right now continuing to write these posts.

Guess we'll get to see how interested I'll be in writing on Wednesday.


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