Sunday, July 1, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Penn FC - 05.15

- Opponent: Penn FC
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: 10,222
- Final Score: 1-1 D
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Venegas, Ouimette, Mitchell, Ayoze, Matern, Moses, Guerra, Watson, Braun, McInerney
- Substitutions: Starkikov 58' (Moses); Speas 63' (Braun); Rusing 81' (Matern)
- Unused: Farr, Lewis, Ring, Steinberger
- Goals: McInerney 80'
- Bookings: Watson 41' (Yellow);Ouimette 76' (RED - Yellow 50', Yellow 76'); Rusin 90' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

With Saad out and an in-form Braun, the starting lineup the past two games remained the same. While McInerney was out with his yellow card accumulation suspension, the starting lineup remained the same. Consistent among that four game stretch was the rest of the midfield and the defense. That will not be the case come Wednesday when the Eleven face Ottawa Fury FC because Ouimette picked up two yellow cards against Penn FC in the 50th and 76th minutes. I don't argue with either card and makes the second time this season that an Indy Eleven player has picked up a 2nd yellow card in a game (Matern was the first to do this vs NYRB II in May). Combined with Ouimette's previous red card (stoppage time vs NCFC in April) and McInerney's yellow card accumulation suspension, the Eleven have now had 5 games where they had to shuffle the lineup due to suspensions. Coach Rennie has tended to prefer the back four lineup of Venegas, Mitchell, Ouimette, and Ayoze with 7 of the 15 games employing those four players. Once again, the defense is going to have to shuffle. Based on the sub that was made immediately after Ouimette was sent to the locker room early, I would expect a Venegas, Mitchell, Rusin, Ayoze lineup on Wednesday versus Ottawa.

For what it's worth, the Eleven are tied for 1st on most red cards received and 7th for most yellow cards received. I'm not sure if the USL tiebreakers come down to fair play as we've seen in the World Cup, but the Eleven aren't helping themselves in that category.

A key component of Coach Rennie's philosophy this year has been defend first, possess when possible, and counterattack. I'm not sure if that last part is actually "counterattack and hope for a foul within 35 yards that allows for a set piece," but the Eleven set piece goal scoring trend continued against Penn FC. Down a man in the 80th minute from 28 yards out, Ayoze and McInerney stood over the ball and while it would be understandable for Penn FC to think that Ayoze would try to bend it with his left foot over the wall and into the goal, it was actually McInerney who used his right foot to bend it over the wall and into the goal. With the number of weapons that the Eleven possess from set pieces, teams might think twice about "professional fouls" in that area and just take their chances on letting the game play out in the run-of-play. They might have better luck.

So despite being down a goal after the 51st minute after Lucky Mkosana converted the penalty kick that also included Ouimette's first yellow card, and down a man from the 76th minute after Ouimette's red card (not the best of night's for Karl...), the Eleven managed a draw at home in what could have easily been a loss. The Eleven possessed the ball at times, but could never seem to do much with it, getting just 1 shot on goal out of 4 total and shooting themselves in the foot 6 times with Offside calls. For a team that likes to run their offense through counterattacks, the offside calls stopped all their momentum.

After an undefeated May, Ottawa has had a rough June, losing 3 of their last 4 official matches, plus a game in Atlanta that was abandoned before the 2nd half could begin due to prolonged weather issues. Yet, this will be Colin Falvey's first return to Indy and he will have his guys motivated. Having watched Falvey lay the hammer on opposing teams' guys the past two season, I fear for Braun and McInerney. Wednesday's game against Ottawa marks the 2nd in as many games where Indy fans will see former players on the opposing bench, as Marco Franco and Paulo Junior both visited Indy with Penn FC. Paulo must be a recent addition because I don't see him on their roster, but he did get his first start with the team. It's nice to know the guys found new teams after the scorched earth rebuild.

Based on the post-game interview that I saw, Coach Rennie was reasonably happy with the result given the circumstances in which the put themselves, but they did not look like the same team we've seen the past few games. The competition level stepped up from Atlanta and Toronto, but we've been hearing that the team needs more consistency with the lineup and we'll start seeing better results. They've had that in the past month and they look good against the bad teams and okay against the good teams. Maybe that will be enough for them to make the playoffs...

The Game Beckons Game Ball

I think it's time for me to give Fon Williams some love. I was harsh on him in the beginning of the season and he still makes some decisions that I question, but he's lead the team to 7 clean sheets on the season (tied for 2nd in the conference) and have only given up 16 goals (tied for 3rd in the conference). There was even a moment against Penn where his defenders put him into a situation where he was forced to kick the ball out of danger with his left foot. Early in the season, that would have immediately found the arms of the fans in the stands, but he put it in the middle of the field where the Eleven at least had a chance to do something with it.




Jeff C. said...

If a penalty occurs within the first five minutes of the half, but the PK isn’t taken until the 51st minute, should it count as an adage goal? The thought crossed my mind at the time.

Do we know what’s up with Saad?

Conterattack and hope for a foul that leads to a free kick within 35 yards seems to perfectly capture Indy’s attacking philosophy. Fortunately, Indy seems to have three players who are very good at such set pieces—they’re doing what we all hoped Kleberson would do back in the inaugural season.

Drew said...

That's where we're at with adage goals with this club, aren't we? We're talking about semantics of what really constitutes one.

I haven't heard anything about Saad. The team's press box printer has been failing on them lately so I haven't received their Match Notes lately, which would normally indicate the injuries. I didn't watch the replay of the game to see if Rakestraw and Hauter mentioned him on air.

Add in the corner kick set pieces and the guys with the height to really fight to get to those balls (Mitchell, Ouimette, Rusin) and the Eleven follow Alexi Lalas' "set piece, set piece, set piece" mentality.