Sunday, August 19, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Ottawa Fury FC - 05.23

- Opponent: Ottawa Fury FC
- Location: Ottawa
- Attendance: 5,393
- Final Score: 0-0 D
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Ouimette, Mitchell, Ferreira, Ayoze, Ring, Moses, Steinberger, Guerra, Saad, Collier
- Substitutions: Watson 75' (Guerra); Speas 75' (Steinberger); McInerney 81' (Collier)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Rusin, Lewis, Matern
- Goals: None
- Bookings: Ayoze 85' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

Today's game against Ottawa Fury FC was the second of 7 games for the Indy Eleven, taking place in a stretch of just 22 days. Ottawa came into the game in a similar situation, with the game being their 6th game in an 8 game stretch in 28 days. As a result, both teams made changes from their Wednesday games' lineup. The Eleven changes were significant, as only Fon Williams, Mitchell, Ferreira, Ayoze, and Guerra remained in the starting XI, with newcomer Elliot Collier getting his first start for the Eleven. Given that this was just the Eleven's second game in their run of games, I was surprised by the mass changes, but maybe Coach Rennie was banking on Ottawa having tired legs from their run of games and wanted to counter with a fresh lineup.

I think that there's some significant irony that the Indy Eleven played Ottawa just three days after playing their first game on the new turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. A new Lucas Oil Stadium turf that was covered in brand new and bright line after football line. The irony is that Ottawa Fury play at TD Place, a stadium they share with the Ottawa Redblacks, who play in the Canadian Football League. As you can see from the screen capture at kick-off, Ottawa Fury's turf is void of any distracting and extraneous lines despite sharing it with another professional team. So it can be done.

Wednesday's game against North Carolina FC had 29 shots between the two teams, 12 of them On Target. Ottawa and Indy managed 15 shots and just 5 of them On Target. This game was played in the middle of the park with each team occasionally finding their way into the final third for chances, but the Heat Map confirmed that Ottawa's 3-5-2 alignment sufficiently clogged the midfield. The Eleven had moderate success getting through it, with fewer long passes than I would have expected, but only managed two shots on goal. Though Saad also put two more shots off the woodwork and Moses put a scare into Crepeau on another.

Collier, the newest member of the Eleven, looked decent in his first significant minutes with the team. He managed to create two chances on goal, looked good on the ball, had some nifty footwork a couple times, but also had a couple instances where he looked indecisive on his decisions with his new teammates. Coach Rennie has repeatedly said all season that the team needed time to gel and then has thrown Collier into the lineup almost immediately after being signed. I've disagreed with that mentality in the past and I'm not sure I understand it here in mid-August. Though I'm hearing he's looked really well in practice and is actually getting along with the rest of the team already so maybe it will work out with what looks to be a long-term injury with Braun.

Two games into the 7 and the Eleven have 4 points out of a possible 6 with bottom of the table Toronto FC II coming into town on Wednesday. Obviously not perfect, but positive results in both games is a good starting point towards solidifying the team's position in the playoffs.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

For his point blank reaction save in the 35th minute that was one of Ottawa's best chances on goal, Fon Williams gets this game's Game Beckons Game Ball.


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