Sunday, July 22, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Tampa Bay Rowdies - 05.19

- Opponent: Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Location: Tampa Bay
- Attendance: 5,378
- Final Score: 3-1 L
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Venegas, Ouimette, Mitchell, Pasher, Matern, Starikov, Watson, Guerra, McInerney, Speas
- Substitutions: Ring 61' (Matern); Moses 68' (Guerra)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Ayoze, Rusin, Amankona, Steinberger
- Goals: Starikov 20' (assist Pasher)
- Bookings: Venegas 39' (Yellow); Matern 49' (Yellow); Ring 90'+2' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: One

It's hard to win games on the road in any professional league. The Eleven have been successful at doing that this year, but it's really hard to win games on the road when you give up two defensive mistake goals in the first 20 minutes. The Eleven have not shown that they can routinely score a large number of goals and giving up a goal in the 12th minute on a counterattack and then a second in the 19th minute on a Venegas "clearance" that bounced off the face of Hristov meant that they were going to have to chase the game for 80% of the game. At some point, they were going to have to open up more and it was ultimately what caused them to concede a third goal. Scoring a goal in the 20th minute helped some, but they were still chasing the game.

I'm starting to get frustrated hearing announcers continue to comment about Coach Rennie having only 3 weeks to put the team together and that they need time to gel. At what point in a 34 game season does it become obvious that it isn't going to happen and the team that we see is the team that it's going to be. I think 19 games into the season has to be that point.

There's no doubt that not having Saad and Braun as options hurts this team. Speas up top by himself with McInerney in midfield is not going to get it done. Other than the countless times that the announcers mispronounced McInerney's name, can you recall many instances where he was making an actual impact on this game? He only had 20 passes and managed to create just 1 chance on goal. With Saad and Braun out, Ayoze and Pasher need to be on the field at the same time.

Venegas was a liability in this game. He has Pasher's propensity to go forward without Pasher's constant hustle to get back. Though I do put some of the blame on Mitchell for the first Rowdies' goal. He got pulled toward the ball when he didn't need to and left the runner alone behind him. Venegas should have been guarding him, but even though he wasn't there, Mitchell shouldn't have left him while Ouimette had the ball covered.

The Eleven have two more away games before returning home, Thursday against Bethlehem Steel and then Louisville FC on August 5th. They would have liked to get positive results out of at least 2 of this 4 game road trip, but that is going to be difficult at this point. After that the Eleven have a 10-day break before resuming August 15th on what I feel is their hardest stretch of games of the year and will go a long way to determining if they make the playoffs. Not necessarily because of the teams to be played, but because of the number of games and the home/away travel in the beginning of it:
Wed Aug 15 vs NCFC
Sat Aug 18 @Ottawa
Wed Aug 22 vs TFCII
Sat Aug 25 @ ATL2
Wed Aug 29 vs PGH
Sat Sept 1 vs RCH
Wed Sept 5 vs NYRBII

Brutal scheduling. Home/Away/Home/Away/Home in a two-week span. With that run of games, don't be surprised if we don't see Amankona make an appearance (one of three players to not yet see time this season; backup GKs Farr and Lundgaard the other two...neither of who can seem to stay healthy).

The Eleven needed to get points in Tampa Bay and made the flight home empty-handed. A mid-week game gives them a chance to come back from Bethlehem with some points before another USL scheduling break before Louisville.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Pasher and Starikov. Their hustle was unmatched by anyone else.


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