Saturday, July 28, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Bethlehem Steel - 05.20

- Opponent: Bethlehem Steel
- Location: Bethlehem
- Attendance: 2,150
- Final Score: 1-0 W
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Venegas, Ouimette, Mitchell, Pasher, Moses, Watson, Guerra, Steinberger, Saad, Starikov
- Substitutions: Ferreira 39' (Pasher - injury); McInerney 72' (Saad)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Matern, Rusin, Amankona, Speas
- Goals: McInerney 86' (assist Steinberger)
- Bookings: Guerra 8' (Yellow); Ferreira 43' (Yellow); Starikov 72' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

With an injured Ayoze, it wasn't surprising that Pasher found his way back into the starting defense. Having played 21 minutes in the last 8 games, it was a complete surprise to me that Steinberger found his way into the starting eleven. By my count, for the first time in 14 games, Matern or Ring were not sitting in the defensive midfielder position in front of the back four. The lineup was surprising to me, but it was successful.

With the midfield and forward lineup of Moses, Guerra, Watson, Steinberger, Saad, and Starikov, I thought this might be play more like a 4-4-2, but it really didn't go that way. Guerra took over the role of holding mid, Watson and Steinberger in the middle of the park directing traffic, Saad and Moses working the wings, and Starikov playing up top and the routine 4-1-4-1 lineup we've been seeing materialized.

Moses and Starikov seem to have developed a good rapport and it looks like Moses may have overtaken Lewis as the preferred right midfielder. He might have a little less speed and a little less flair for the dramatic, but he maintains possession and Lewis' struggles have placed him on the bench. McInerney's propensity to pick up yellow cards and Starikov's health looks to have place McInerney out of the starting lineup as well. Sometimes that motivates competitors more than anything and McInerney seems like a guy that doesn't shy a way from a fight.

Which is why, when given his chance in the late minutes of the game, McInerney found the only clear spot in the box and clinically headed a Steinberger corner kick down and out of reach of McGuire. While McInerney celebrated getting back onto the score sheet, Bethlehem defenders were left pointing fingers about who was to blame for leaving McInerney open enough to even get close to enough to get his head on the ball. Prolific goalscorers will do that to defenders.

In the third game of a four game road trip and a break until the 5th when they travel to Louisville City FC, the Eleven needed the win after coming up empty in the first two games. They waited until the end to get it done, despite good chances from Saad that nearly, but a win helps keep them in the playoff race.

One more item of note was the return of Reiner Ferreira to the lineup. Ferreria wasn't listed on injury report, which by itself was a major step, but he also made it back onto the team sheet. Unfortunately for the team, Ferreira's return was at the expense of Pasher who left the game in the 39th minute with an injury. Ferreira slotted into the center of the defense with Mitchell and Ouimette slid to the left in Pasher's play. Ouimette is playing well, but does not bring the same effectiveness of going forward that Pasher brings nor Ayoze's set piece ability. In what looked like a wealth of riches at left back just a couple weeks ago suddenly looks like it could be a struggle until Ayoze and Pasher return.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

McInerney. Sometimes a forward needs to see a ball go into the goal to build their confidence and maybe this goal sparks that in Jack.


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