Thursday, May 3, 2018

Indy Eleven vs FC Cincinnati - 05.06

- Opponent: FC Cincinnati
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: 8,079
- Final Score: 2-3 L
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Ring, Mitchell, Ouimette, Ayoze, Steinberger, Guerra, Pasher, Speas, Saad, McInerney
- Substitutions: Lewis 60' (Steinberger); Watson 60' (Speas); Braun 78' (Guerra)
- Unused: Farr, Matern, Rusin, Venegas
- Goals: McInerney 24'; Ayoze 31' (PK)
- Bookings: Ayoze 88' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: One

It's starting to look like the Eleven are going to have to win games in the first half and then hold on during the second half. In six games this year, the Eleven have scored six goals. None of which have come in the second half of any game. In this game, both teams were awarded questionable penalty kicks and both teams capitalized on those kicks. FC Cincinnati's PK came early in the game, putting the visitors on the board in just the 7th minute of action.

Indy fought back to level by the 24th minute when Ring put a ball in the middle of the field that FCC's Walker misplayed, allowing McInerney to run onto it for a shot on goal. His initial attempt was parried away by Richey, but only as far as the 6-yard box where McInerney had continued his run and slotted the rebound home under the outstretched Richey. The Eleven were awarded their own penalty kick when Saad was deemed to have received a rough challenge inside the box. Just as Walker had done with FCC's penalty kick, Ayoze sent the ball in the opposite direction as the keeper and the Eleven found themselves up a goal after having been down a goal early.

FCC rounded out the first half scoring with Corbin Bone putting a ball between a couple defenders that McLaughlin ran onto, shot from outside the 18, and one hopped just in front of, and under, Fon Williams. After 45 minutes, the teams went into the locker room in what was probably a well deserved draw. Both teams had one legit goal and one goal for each from the penalty spot that could be debated as having been rewarded for flops by Welshman and Saad.

FCC capped the scoring in the 55th minute from another shot outside the 18 that found its way just inside the post and then nearly had a fourth goal in the 57th minute when Fon Williams was forced to push a ball over the crossbar after Walker unleashed from just under 30 yards away. After that, the Eleven were forced to chase the game and the first subs for Indy took place moments later when Lewis and Watson entered for Steinberger and Speas, respectively. Braun rounded out the subs for Guerra and the bulk of the starting midfield finished the game on the sidelines.

With 3 games in a week, both FCC and the Eleven employed starting lineups that were different than we've seen recently and definitely different than when the teams met in March. By my count, FCC started 5 guys that didn't even see time in the first game, while the Eleven started just one player who didn't see time in the first game. However, the Eleven's starting lineup significantly shuffled the midfield for this game and the midfield seemed to be a weak point in this game for them.

Notably, and confusingly for me, Coach Rennie started Pasher on the right side and Soony Saad on the left. Guerra and Steinberger more as defensive mids, allowing Speas to serve as the playmaker. Pasher made it to around the 35th minute before Coach Rennie swapped him with Saad and I'm confused about why he started them that way. As Coach told us before, Pasher's defensive ability and his ability to take on guys is solid. However, and this is key for me, Pasher drastically favors his left foot and playing him on the right means that he is going to turn the ball back into the middle to create any chance from the right side. As a defender, you force him to the endline and away from the middle, and you've effectively taken Pasher out of the play. Until he shows he can serve some balls with his right foot, he's going to become easier to defend when playing on the right. On the left is a completely different matter.

On a night when Lucas Oil Stadium had the roof open and a view of the City through the north window, the Eleven had some chances at the end of the game, including a free kick strike from Saad that was eerily similar to the goal he scored against Nashville, but couldn't find the equalizer. The Eleven and FCC have now played twice early in the season, both in Indy, and the Eleven didn't manage a single point. Fortunately, the team can't dwell on the defeat as conference leading Louisville City FC comes to Indianapolis for a noon start on Saturday.
"It's disappointing tonight, but it's only two days before we play again so we have a chance to bounce back. It's really one of the first games this season where I was disappointed with too many things tonight. I think every game we've played this season we've improved, we got better. So we need to put this one behind us and bounce back and, obviously, no better way to do that than against Louisville on Saturday." - Coach Rennie

The Game Beckons Game Ball

For me, despite giving up two legit goals, the Game Beckons Game Ball still goes to Brad Ring and Carlyle Mitchell. After the game, Brad said,
"Getting two goals, for us, should be enough to get some kind of result so it's on the defense. As a unit. As a team. Not just the four of us, not just the goalie, it's on all of us collectively. We can't allow three goals."
So even though Ring wasn't happy with their play, I didn't find too many problems with his play. Mitchell didn't track well on FCC's second goal, but between the two of them, they stifled a significant number of attacks from FCC before they even turned into shots or crosses. Ring was credited with a scoring chance and I believe that was the one that ended up being McInerney's goal. The stats indicate Mitchell lost more aerial duels than he won, but that seems incorrect to me. Regardless, given the rest of the play, these two stood out for me.



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