Saturday, May 12, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds - 05.08

- Opponent: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
- Location: Pittsburgh
- Attendance: 3,123
- Final Score: 0-0 D
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Ring, Mitchell, Ouimette, Ayoze, Matern, Lewis, Steinberger, Saad, Braun, McInerney
- Substitutions: Rusin 35' (Mitchell - injury); Guerra 62' (Matern - injury)
- Unused: Farr, Amankona, Moses, Speas, Watson
- Goals: None
- Bookings: Ring 77' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

Nil-nil. Points on the road. Clean sheet. All good things.

However, I keep waiting for this team to have an offensive explosion and I'm starting to wonder if it is ever going to happen. With the talent up front, it would seem like it should happen, but the final third continues to be the issue for this team. The Eleven had half of the shots of Pittsburgh, which makes back-to-back games with that kind of stat. Worse yet, though, is that not a single one of their 7 shots were considered to be on target. Zero shots on target, most of which came from outside the box.

I wish I could find that missing piece, but I'm not sure from where it's going to come. I stated after the Louisville game that the "Eleven are going to need to get better in that part of the field against the best teams in the league and I have to wonder if Braun up top with Saad or McInerney would provide a better target forward who can then distribute." As if Coach had read my comment and was looking to show me how that would work, the starting lineup included all three of those guys. Unfortunately, Braun finished the game with more clearances (2) than chances created (0).

Additionally, as good as the team looks in stretches with possession and passing, so often in this game they resorted to blasting balls over the top. 109 of their 423 passes were considered "long," which translates to just under 26%; a high for the season. As of today (before Saturday's games), the Eleven sit tied at 14 points with NYRBII and Charleston. Of the top 7 leagues in the conference, the Eleven are the only ones who have not cracked double digits in goals scored. Until they figure out a way to get the ball to the forwards in better methods than blast and chase way and put more shots on goal, it's a good thing they're one of the stingier defenses in the conference. Luckily, the leaders in the conference haven't yet managed to pull away from the rest of the pack yet, so the Eleven are still in acceptable shape at this point in the season.

Coach Rennie has also seemed hesitant to use subs recently too. He made two subs this game. Rusin came on in the 35th minute for an injured Mitchell and Guerra game on in the 62nd minute for an injured Matern. Five other players stayed on the bench. It's almost as if he's saying that if you're a starter, he's going to ride the lineup until the wheels fall off.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Let's go with Braun this game. Like I mentioned earlier, he didn't create any chances, but this was his first game with a full ninety minutes. Maybe that means he's now feeling like he's back to 100% and we'll get to see some more out of him.


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