Thursday, July 12, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Charleston Battery - 05.18

- Opponent: Charleston Battery
- Location: Charleston
- Attendance: 2,094
- Final Score: 2-1 L
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Moses, Ouimette, Mitchell, Ayoze, Matern, Starikov, Watson, Guerra, Pasher, Speas
- Substitutions: Saad 55' (Pasher); Steinberger 77' (Guerra); McInerney 82' (Speas)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Ring, Rusin, Lewis
- Goals: Starikov 58' (assist Speas)
- Bookings: None
- Adage goals: None

This game was always going to be difficult to match the excitement of May's 3-3 thriller between these two teams at Lucas Oil Stadium. Unlike the game in May where 4 of the 6 goals were crammed into the final 10 minutes + stoppage time, today's three goals were spread out over 62 minutes of game time with Charleston opening and closing the goal scoring.

Charleston got on the board first in the 22nd minute when Indy's defense failed to quickly shut down Wild, who proceeded to take a long-range shot over Fon Williams. At times during the first half, the Eleven looked exactly like a team that was playing its fifth game in a 15 day span. Content to hold the ball, pass it (slowly) around the defense in their own half, and not make a lot of advances into the final third of the field, as indicated in the 1st half distribution graph. Charleston's graph for the 1st half isn't significantly different, but they were able to score on one of their few chances.

The Eleven looked like a different team in the 2nd half, with Charleston being content to absorb pressure and counter and Indy chasing the game. When Coach Rennie utilized his first substitute of the night, inserting Saad for Pasher in the 55th minute, Starikov pushed even further up the field and was able to beat the offside trap to put Indy on the board in the 58th minute. Sta-REE-cough (not the correct pronunciation of his name, but repeatedly said by play-by-play announcer Poppy Miller) received a chipped ball from Speas and with a good bit of skill, deftly popped the ball over Cooper as he left his line to close down the space.

Just a couple of minutes after Indy scored, they nearly had the go ahead goal when Mitchell put a ball over the top that Saad was able to run onto. His first shot was blocked by Cooper, but the ball bounced back up and into Saad's path. His follow-up shot, from a tight angle, was cleared off the line by Charleston. A goal at that point might have provided a different result on the night as the game continued to open up after the Eleven scored as both teams looked for the winner.

However, the game was mostly played in the middle of the field, with each goalkeeper only being required to make 2 saves in the game. Charleston's winner, scored in the 84th minute by Wild, was a result of a counterattack after an Indy free kick along the sideline. While Moses was back defending, he never really shut down Wild and his shot was low, hard, and bounced just before Fon Williams, making it a difficult save. At that point in the game, the goal was a bit against the run of play.

The Eleven now have 10 days without a game before playing in Tampa Bay. I haven't heard yet on the severity of Venegas's and Braun's injuries, but after the stretch of games the team has endured the past couple of weeks, a week and a half break will allow guys to recharge and hopefully get healthy.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Nobody stands out for me as having a spectacular game above everybody else so I'll give it to the team's 12 player to score a goal this season in Starikov.


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