Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Louisville City FC - 05.21

- Opponent: Louisville City FC
- Location: Louisville
- Attendance: 8,437
- Final Score: 2-2 D
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Venegas, Mitchell, Ferreira, Ouimette, Matern, Moses, Watson, Steinberger, Starikov, McInerney
- Substitutions: Guerra 71' (Steinberger); Saad (Ouimette 74'); Speas (McInerney 90'+1')
- Unused: Lundgaard, Rusin, Lewis, Ring
- Goals: McInerney 16'; McInerney 21' (assist Watson)
- Bookings: Ouimette 40' (Yellow); Starikov 74' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: One

Who knew that the way this game started was going to be a microcosm for the rest of the game. Here's a quick recap of the first few entries of the USL Match Commentary (with some remarks from me after each):
3' Offside, Louisville City. Gregory Ranjitsingh tries a through ball, but George Davis IV is caught offside. (Why is that interesting? Because Ranjitsingh is the goalkeeper and Davis was caught offside on a drop kick restart. There's working your way into a game and then there's stumbling out of the gates. This is an example of the latter.) 
5' Penalty conceded by Carlyle Mitchell (Indy Eleven) after a foul in the penalty area. (Sweep the leg Johnny Carlyle...) 
5' Penalty Louisville City. Ilija Ilic draws a foul in the penalty area. 
6' Penalty saved! Brian Ownby (Louisville City) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the top left corner. 
6' Attempt saved. Devon Williams (Louisville City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ilija Ilic. (There was a time last year when I complained about the effort from the Eleven on opposing team's kicks from the spot. I will not complain about this effort. Every single member of the quadrumvirate of the back line had a hand in keeping the ball out of the net, with an assist from the woodwork to boot. Fon Williams stopped the initial kick, Venegas challenged the follow-up shot, post, Ouimette & Ferreira, then Williams booted it up the field. I appreciate the effort.)
An intense and crazy three minutes catapulted itself toward a mind-boggling 5 minutes at the 16 minute mark.
16' Goal! Louisville City 0, Indy Eleven 1. Jack McInerney (Indy Eleven) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. (McInerney did well to adjust to the ball that Venegas sent it (not credited with the assist since it was misplayed by LCFC) and perfectly headed the ball down where Ranjitsingh couldn't get to it. The ball went across the line at 15 minutes and 21 seconds...) 
17' Goal! Louisville City 1, Indy Eleven 1. Ilija Ilic (Louisville City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Magnus Rasmussen with a cross. (The ball went across the line at 16 minutes 34 seconds. There are adage goals and there there are just complete mental and physical breakdowns. The Eleven didn't touch the ball a single time after the restart. These are the kinds of moments that drive coaches crazy, particularly when a player as physical as Matern gets muscled off the ball allowing the ball to be played into the goal scorer.) 
21' Goal! Louisville City 1, Indy Eleven 2. Jack McInerney (Indy Eleven) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Matthew Watson following a fast break. (This goal immediately reminded me of the goal that Watson scored in the Atlanta game where he read the pass, intercepted it, and took it to goal. This play had the same look, with the exception that Watson was a half step late and didn't get the ball as cleanly and he was able to perfectly thread a pass to a much better goal scoring option in front of him in McInerney. It's fun to watch a player read the mind of other players and react fast enough to thwart them.)
Three goals and a saved penalty kick in the first 21 minutes and then it took all to the 59th minute before somebody would find the net again. This time it was Louisville City FC on a blast from just outside the box was out of reach of a diving Fon Williams. Then twelve minutes later...
72' Penalty Indy Eleven. Eugene Starikov draws a foul in the penalty area. 
73' Penalty saved! Eugene Starikov (Indy Eleven) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner. (Why did Starikov take the kick? Why didn't McInerney get the chance for a hat trick? Why did Starikov quickly get up and take the ball to the spot when McInerney went towards him asking for it? Why did Ferreira tell McInerney to let Starikov have it? Why do players do the stutter step up to the kick? Why wasn't there a mic on McInerney so that I could hear him cuss at Starikov under his breath after the miss? Questions we may never know answers.)
Four goals, two blocked penalties, and both teams walked away with a point. With just 6 points separating 4th place Louisville and 9th place (and out of the playoffs) Bethlehem Steel, any points are helpful, but both teams would have preferred to walk away with the full three points.

How about some interesting graphs and random thoughts from the game to close out this recap?

Interestingly, LCFC held an approximate 60/40 advantage in both possession and aerial duels. The Eleven were way off their average in aerial duels won.

In Indy's first trip down to Louisville in league play, LCFC saw a slight bump from their average attendance. Coming into the game, LCFC was averaging an announced attendance of 7515 people. Sunday's attendance was listed at 8437, with only Atlanta drawing more. I have to believe that the game being on a Sunday likely kept some of the Indy fans from making the trip.

Did it seem like there were a lot of long balls over the top to nobody? Yes. In fact, long passes accounted for nearly 24% of the Eleven's passes, nearly 7 percentage points more than their average with only two games with higher long pass percentages.

There was a noticeable difference in where Indy's attacking midfielders and forwards were touching the ball between halves. The first half saw the Eleven attack get their touches on their defensive side of the ball, whereas the second half was skewed more towards their attacking side. That's not counting the fact that in the 74th minute, Coach Rennie made the substitution of Saad in for Ouimette. Saad finished the game with his average position being in the attacking third, so it was obviously not a like-for-like substitution. Coach Rennie has shown a propensity for more defensive minded tactics on the road and it's been successful this year. Tied late in the game in a regional rivalry, he chose to bring on Saad in lieu of Ring or Rusin who were both on the bench. I'm not sure what to think of the sub, but I'm going to keep an eye on whether that kind of offensive trend continues.
Indy Eleven attacking players touchmap - 1st half

Indy Eleven attacking players touchmap - 2nd half

The Game Beckons Game Ball

On his birthday, with a brace, I'll give it to Jack McInerney.


1 comment:

Jeff C. said...

I’ve never been a fan of letting the players who was fouled take a penalty kick. I have no statistics for it, but anecdotally it seems a lower percentage choice. And in this case it really was silly to deprive McInerney of the chance to get the hat trick.

I hate it when Indy plays long ball. Don’t get me wrong: there are few things more beautiful in soccer than a raking 50-yard diagonal ball to an open man that carves open a defense. But that’s something for the best players in the top European leagues; it’s not something that Indy generally tries, let alone accomplishes.

A point here was acceptable, but the way it was accomplished was a bit maddening.