Sunday, September 30, 2018

Indy Eleven vs FC Cincinnati - 05.32

- Opponent: FC Cincinnati
- Location: Cincinnati
- Attendance: 31,4783
- Final Score: 0-3 L
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Ouimette, Mitchell, Ferreira, Ayoze, Matern, Venegas, Watson, Mares Collier, McInerney
- Substitutions:  Starikov 66' (McInerney); Saad 76' (Collier); Guerra 79' (Matern)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Ring, Rusin, Speas
- Goals: None
- Bookings: Matern 31' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

I went into this game assuming that the Eleven were going to lose. Yeah, I know. What kind of fan am I? A realistic one. Cincinnati hasn't lost in 21 games (on May 26th to Louisville) and have now won 10 games in a row. Indy has been inconsistent, were on the road, and have struggled against the top portion of the conference. Cincinnati is not just in the top portion like the Eleven, they are THE top and it hasn't even been a close race.

Yet, based on the statistics, the Eleven held their own; even held an advantage in a number of categories. Coach Rennie has routinely said that they have been progressing well and that they needed to eliminate some individual mistakes. The Eleven had mistakes and paid for them nearly every time in this game. That's what great teams do when you make a mistake.

When Adi scored in the 34th minute, nobody stepped to the ball. If you don't stop the ball, a player's options significantly increase. When nobody stepped to him, Adi fired a shot. Yes, it took a deflection, but Fon Williams has struggled with shots like that all year. Close range reaction saves have been fine, but shots from distance seem to surprise him.

When Konig scored in the 65th minute, Fon Williams came well off his line, despite Konig being surrounded by both Mitchell and Ferreira, and made absolutely no contact with the ball. Konig collected and easily placed the ball into the goal.

On their third goal, the Eleven were slow at closing down Cicerone who had time to pin-point his cross, which Mitchell managed to redirect nicely into the side netting. It was a nice goal, it was just in the wrong goal.

The Eleven were credited with 20 shots, but only 5 were on target and a bunch of the missed shots were blasted well wide or over the goal. They were only 25% accurate on their shots, whereas Cincinnati took only 9 shots, but were 55.6% accurate.

Despite the 3-nil scoreline, I don't think the Eleven were a far inferior team against Cincinnati. Indy had some chances, but good saves from Newton and maybe an uncalled handball inside the 18 kept Indy off the scoreboard. Indy also had an issue with getting on the end of their crosses. The team had 24 crosses, of which only 7 were successful. As can be seen from the Chalkboard screen capture, Venegas accounted for 13 of the team's 24 crosses, but only two of those were successful. Venegas had success getting around Cincinnati's left side defense, but they couldn't do anything with the effort. The Eleven, as per usual, had some really good moments, but the final touch (whether that was a pass or shot) when they got inside the final third was lacking all night.

That's been a recurring theme from time-to-time this season. Unfortunately, the team has run out of time for me to think that they're going to figure it out in time for them to make any kind of substantial run in the playoffs. It looks like they are going to sneak in, but my guess is they're going to have to win games on the road as I don't see them getting themselves into position to host.

If Indy wins out, they get to 54 points. Only Bethlehem and Charleston have the potential to reach that point total or higher and if Indy beats Bethlehem, then that takes care of them. Charleston currently sit on 53 points, so they would have to lose to both Atlanta and Ottawa to not gain any additional points. I don't see that happening. So now the Eleven are playing to stay in the playoffs. If they manage just draws against Bethlehem and Louisville, that puts them at 50 points and NYRBII, Nashville, NCFC, Ottawa, & Bethlehem all have the potential to match or surpass that total.

It basically comes down to the fact that if Indy doesn't win out against Bethlehem and Louisville, they're going to need some results to go their way to make sure they are in the playoffs. At this point, after having watched them all season against the top portion of the conference, I'm going to resort to my typical pessimistic view. I think they make the playoffs, but just barely. Though, if they don't get any points from the Bethlehem AND Louisville games, I don't think they squeak in.

Two weeks remain for them to prove their worthy of a playoff spot.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

In a game where it was hard for me to differential one player as the stand-out player, sometimes you have to reward the effort and not necessarily the results. So Venegas gets the Game Beckons Game Ball tonight. He was consistently causing trouble for Cincinnati on the right side of the field, but had difficulty finding people on the other end of his crosses.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Tampa Bay - 05.31

- Opponent: Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: ??
- Final Score: 2-0 W
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Ouimette, Mitchell, Ferreira, Ayoze, Matern, Venegas, Moses, Mares Collier, McInerney
- Substitutions:  Watson 68' (Mares); Saad 83' (Collier)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Ring, Rusin, Speas, Guerra
- Goals: Ouimette 37' (assist Ayoze); Collier 75'
- Bookings: Fon Williams 74' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

The Match Center on the USL website described the starting formation for the Eleven as a 4-2-3-1. The official lineup from the team described it as a 4-4-2. However, the way it played, and the way that Coach Rennie confirmed it played, was more of a 3-1-4-2. When I asked him why he made this kind of change so late in the season, Coach stated:
"We kind of wanted to do that all along. Like when we built the squad, our plan was to have a couple ways to play; one of them was the back three. But for most of the season Reiner wasn't available. We felt it was difficult to play with three in the back when Reiner wasn't available. Now that he's been able to get some consistency, we thought it was a good time to try that system. And I think that tonight it showed we were much more comfortable and balanced on the ball. But it also gave us good balance defensively as well, so it's something that we can add to our game."
The three back system pushed Venegas and Ayoze further up the field, with both guys hugging the sidelines, even when the ball was on the opposite of the field. This created a lot of width for the team and a lot of lanes for Mares, Moses, and Matern to find players either going forward in the attack themselves or disrupting Tampa's attack. Mares and Moses were all over the field, constantly switching sides with each other or overloading a side to prevent Tampa from getting any kind of movement.

Coming into the game, Tampa's record was 11W-1L-1D was scoring first and 0-11-4 when conceding first. They were 0-2-1 on artificial turf and 4-8-2 on the road. All statistics that worked into the Eleven's favor after an Ayoze corner kick found the head of Ouimette in the 37th minute. The Eleven had looked dangerous proceeding the goal, having three good chances in a short timeframe. As I indicated on Twitter in the 28th minute, Collier and Moses were abusing the ankles of Tampa players with some fancy footwork. Venegas got into the ankle abuse action as well, which set up his own shot on goal that Vega was forced to parry over the bar. The corner kick from Ayoze resulted in Ouimette's goal. Indy's second goal in the 75th minute resulted from spectacular interplay between Watson, Collier, and Moses and then a clinical finish from Collier on the rebound from the initial shot.

As good as the offense looked, the team defense looked just as good. I can only recall one significant mistake and that was late in the game with some miscommunication between players. It nearly lead to a goal so they were lucky to not get penalized for the mistake, but it's the only one that stands out for me. In the closing minutes, Tampa was pressing hard to get a goal back and the Eleven's team defense withstood the onslaught. Tampa Bay was credited with 11 corners. The first corner came in the first minute with a 2nd a few minutes later. Then Tampa had 3 more bunched just before and just after the halftime break. The other six corners took place in the last 3 minutes of second half stoppage time.

  • 90+6'Corner, Tampa Bay Rowdies. Conceded by Jack McInerney.
  • 90+6'Corner, Tampa Bay Rowdies. Conceded by Jack McInerney.
  • 90+6'Corner, Tampa Bay Rowdies. Conceded by Jack McInerney.
  • 90+6'Corner, Tampa Bay Rowdies. Conceded by Reiner Ferreira.
  • 90+5'Corner, Tampa Bay Rowdies. Conceded by Karl Ouimette.
  • 90+4'Corner, Tampa Bay Rowdies. Conceded by Owain Fon Williams.

Why was there so much stoppage time you might ask? Well, USL refs are going to USL ref. Center referee Daniel Radford awarded a penalty kick to Tampa Bay as a result of a phantom handball by Mitchell. Fortunately for the Eleven, Radford consulted with the Assistant Referee on that side of the field and retracted the call. It's hard to know for certain whether Lucas Oil Stadium's massive replay screens, and the in-stadium replay and camera work, affected their decision to overturn the call, but it was, ultimately, the correct call. 

That's not to say that Radford still didn't do what we've all grown accustomed to seeing from USL refs. In the 74th minute, with the Eleven up only by a goal at that point, Radford showed a yellow card to Fon Williams for time wasting because he repositioned the ball on a goal kick. One of the softer yellows I can remember all season. If it had been 10-minutes later, I might have agreed with Radford, but the Eleven hadn't shown any sign of time wasting at that point in the game. In fact, it was only moments later, while pressing forward offensively, that Collier scored his goal. As Coach Rennie said in the post-game interview, "Fair play to the officials because, ultimately, they got the right call."

On a team full of experienced players, Watson and Ring are the Captain and Vice-Captain. However, for the first time all season at least one of them were not in the starting lineup. As a result, Ayoze started the game wearing the captain's armband. Watson took over the captain's role when he came into the game late, but it answered a question for me on who Coach Rennie would use if neither Watson and Ring were not in the lineup. As a potential team MVP, Ayoze is a good selection.

Getting a win tonight was vital for the Eleven, with just three games remaining, two of which are against the top 2 teams in the league at their home fields. Indy heads to Cincinnati on Saturday, likely with a hefty contingent of Eleven fans in tow, to play a team that has solidified their playoff spot, solidified home field advantage, and as of tonight, solidified the Eastern Conference Championship. However, the Indy Eleven players aren't expecting to go into Cincinnati to find a disinterested opponent:
"You don't want to have off or bad performances before going into the playoffs. So going to Cincinnati, going to Louisville, they'll want to win. They'll want to be on a good spell going into the playoffs. Especially against a team they know they may face in the playoffs. Everybody's going to go at it." - Karl Ouimette
Should be interesting on Saturday if you're able to make the trip.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

It's always hard to pick the Game Beckons Game Ball when so many players did so much right, including a player getting their first goal of the season, but I think Moses deserves it tonight. He's a high energy guy and was very effective on the offensive end, but his defense stood out for me against Tampa. He was credited with 6 tackles, 1 clearance, and 4 interceptions.


This shot was so close to being Venegas' 2nd goal of the season...


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds - 05.30

- Opponent: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
- Location: Pittsburgh
- Attendance: 2,454
- Final Score: 2-3 L
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Ouimette, Mitchell, Ferreira, Ayoze, Ring, Watson, Mares Guerra, Starikov, McInerney
- Substitutions:  Saad 45' (Starikov - injury); Collier 65' (Watson); Venegas 81' (Ring)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Matern, Rusin, Speas
- Goals: McInerney 81' (assist Guerra); Own Goal 90'+2'
- Bookings: Venegas 90'+4'' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: THREE

The Eleven have four games remaining in the season; two against teams that have already clinched playoff spots in FC Cincinnati and Louisville City FC; another against Bethlehem who currently sits ahead of the Eleven in the table; and another against Tampa Bay who have won 4 of their last 5 games including currently being on a 3-game win streak. With a very crowded middle of the table, the Eleven need to get positive results (and probably a couple of wins in hostile environments) to secure a place in the playoffs. Getting points in back-to-back games in Pennsylvania would have gone along way towards that goal. However, the Eleven make the trip back to Indy tonight after losing to Pittsburgh with zero points in the suitcases.

While the losses are disappointing, the Eleven's inability to get wins against the top portion of the table is concerning. With the loss, the Eleven drop back down to 6th place on the table. The Eleven have won 12 games this year, but only 3 of those wins have been against teams currently in playoff position. Their record against the teams above them (FC Cincinnati, Louisville City FC, Charleston Battery, Bethlehem, and tonight's opponent in Pittsburgh) is 2W-5L-4D. Their record against the final two playoff teams (New York Red Bulls II, Ottawa) is 1W-2L-1D. So most of their success has come against the bottom half of the table; 9W-2L-4D.

Which, again, is not who they play to finish the season.

The Eleven didn't look horrible against Pittsburgh, but they didn't look great either. The Eleven were credited with just 1 Shot on Target (McInerney's goal), but nothing else required a save from Riverhounds goalie Lynd. Looking at the distribution graphic from the game shows a glaring lack of touches anywhere close to Pittsburgh's 18-yard box.

Maybe as worrisome was the fact that Indy took a nil-nil scoreline into halftime only to let things escalate quickly into a 2-nil deficit mere minutes into the second half. Pittsburgh scored in the 49th minute and then, before the smoke cleared, the Riverhounds put a second one past Fon Williams in the 51st minute. The Eleven continued their trend of fighting to the end, pulling one back in the 81st minute on a goal from McInerney where a deft touch put himself in on goal and then followed that with a clean shot on goal. Then after pulling themselves back within one, Mares was called for a foul inside the box setting up Pittsburgh's 3rd goal via penalty kick. Again, before the smoke cleared, the Eleven pulled themselves back within one to make it interesting at the end.

Amazingly, it's just the 3 time all year that the Eleven have had back-to-back losses, but they are coming at a bad time of the year. They played at home on Wednesday against the surging Rowdies with an absolute need to get a positive result if they want to maintain their chances of being in the playoffs. I'm not sure that getting into a position to host a game is possible at this point, given their remaining competition, but a loss to Tampa Bay would put a significant dent in their chances of even being in the playoffs.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

I want to give the Game Beckons Game Ball to Mares for his play in the middle of the park (and in particular for his run in the 57th minute), but it's hard to give it to him when it was his foul that allowed Pittsburgh to extend their lead back to 2 after McInerney's goal had pulled them back into striking range again. You know what? Despite that mistake, Mares still played a fantastic game. So Mares it is...


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Penn FC - 05.29

- Opponent: Penn FC
- Location: Penn
- Attendance: 1,200
- Final Score: 1-0 L
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Ouimette, Mitchell, Ferreira, Rusin, Matern, Watson, Ayoze, Speas, Starikov, McInerney
- Substitutions:  Moses 66' (Ayoze); Mares 66' (Speas); Lewis 86' (Matern)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Ring, Guerra, Saad
- Goals: None
- Bookings: McInerney 40' (Yellow); Rusin 87' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

After the victory over the New York Red Bulls II last Wednesday, nearly everybody said that it might have been one of the Eleven's best performance all year. I disagreed, but generally to deaf ears. The Eleven had 3 very good counters against NYRBII and they walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium with a victory.

Tonight, the Eleven walked into FNB Field in Harrisburg, PA (another soccer field wedged into a baseball stadium) and employed nearly the same tactics, but with far less desirable results for Indy fans.

In both games, the opponents held a roughly 65% to 35% possession advantage.

In both games, the Eleven were outshot 2 (or more) to 1. Though to be fair, the Eleven were better at getting their shots on target in both games.

In both games, more than 29% of their passes were considered long; the highest two percentages of the season.

In both games, the Eleven were at least 15% less accurate in their passing and at least 10% less accurate in the opponent's half.

To top it off tonight, the Eleven had 0% successful crosses against Penn FC.

The difference in the two games? Three goals by the Eleven versus NYRBII and zero goals by the Eleven versus Penn FC. Three successful counterattacks last week and zero successful counterattacks this week. Is it a coincidence that Mares started in the midfield versus NYRBII, but did not start versus Penn and the team had trouble connecting the backline with the forwards this game? Probably, but it is an interesting note.

Penn FC manager Raoul Voss described the field as "slow and soupy" during the halftime interview and despite having a week of training since their last game and 10 days before their next game, the Eleven looked "slow and soupy" too. When former Eleven player Paulo Junior put the home team on the board in the 57th minute, both Ferreira and Fon Williams were slow to react to the shot.

The Eleven could have put themselves (at least temporarily) into 3 place in the Eastern conference with a win tonight, but instead stay in 5th place with 10 days off before their next game on September 22nd against Pittsburgh. The Eleven would have preferred to get a win tonight against a team in the bottom half of the table before having to face the top two teams in the conference within a week of each other with a midweek game between them, but find themselves traveling home empty-handed for the first time in 9 games.

The Game Beckons Game Ball
Paulo Junior? He used to play for Indy, right? He was a thorn in the Eleven's defense all night, creating 3 chances and getting the game-winning goal.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Indy Eleven vs New York Red Bulls II - 05.28

- Opponent: New York Red Bulls II
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: 8,703
- Final Score: 3-0 W
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Ouimette, Mitchell, Ferreira, Rusin, Matern, Watson, Mares, Moses, Starikov, Collier
- Substitutions:  Matern 65' (Ring); McInerney 75' (Starikov); Saad 85' (Collier)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Rusin, Matern, Starikov
- Goals: Starikov 2' (assist Mares); Starikov 21' (assist Watson); Ferreira 43' (assist Moses)
- Bookings: Matern 5' (Yellow); Mitchell 39' (Yellow); Watson 62' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

Every so often, I do a bullet point recap of the game. This needs to be one of those times, in chronological order.

  • Another early goal for the team, this time by Starikov in the 2nd minute (assist Mares, but of course). Let's see if they can hold onto it.
  • Yellow by Matern shortly the goal after for not listening to the ref while setting up the wall for a 22-yard free kick for NYRBII. Seems like an unnecessary card this early in the game. Hope it doesn't come back to hurt the team. May see him subbed out at some point in the second half if the game gets physical.
  • CB pairing of Rusin and Mitchell showing some lack of cohesiveness early, particularly with Ferreira on the left. Ayoze's calming influence missed early.
  • Moses' motor running high today. Back and forth across the field. In 16th minute, chased down the ball that was going from left to right and helped prevent counterattack by knocking it out of bounds.
  • NYRBII - Attack! I can see why they lead the league in goals. 
  • NYRBII transition defense getting back into position much faster than Indy offense is going forward. Not giving Indy many chances in the run of play. Working for counters.
  • Goal Indy 21st minute by Starikov. 
  • 27th minute - Indy free kick from just outside the 18. Noticeably missing Ayoze, McInerney, and Saad for the kick. Ferreira took the wall.
  • 1st Half Heat Map - Indy sitting back
  • 60/40 possession in favor of NYRBII for the first half, but Indy finding good moments to counter. Bulk of NYRBII shots coming from outside the box and only one on frame.
  • NYRBII team speed is faster than Indy.
  • Goals coming from everywhere now. Ferreira getting on the board in the 43th minute on a break by Matern that was initially handled by NYRBII defense. They fell asleep on all of the trailing Indy runners, Mares, Moses, and Ferreira.
  • Team defense has been really good, particularly since 2nd half played entirely in Indy defensive half. Possession increased to 66/33 for game, which means 2nd half was probably 70/30 in favor of NYRBII.
  • 34.5% of Indy's passes were considered "long." Definitely felt that way. NYRBII held a 26 to 10 shots on goal advantage and a 33 to 9 advantage on crosses. This resulted in 41 clearances for Indy to 16 for NYRBII. 
  • Offense vs Defense. NYRBII hadn't been held scoreless since June so this further emphasizes how well the team played defense as a group.

A very effective use of the bunker and counter tactics employed by the team for this game. Stats sway heavily to NYRBII, except for the one that really matters. While the goals were great, the team defense is what won this game for the Eleven.

Team needed this win. Likely needed the win as much as they need the 7-day break before the next game.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Starikov gets the Game Beckons Game Ball, but Moses gets a runner-up. Both very active tonight when the team tried to go forward.



Sunday, September 2, 2018

Indy Eleven vs Richmond Kickers - 05.27

- Opponent: Richmond Kickers
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: 11,344
- Final Score: 1-1 D
- Starting XI: Fon Williams, Ouimette, Mitchell, Ferreira, Ayoze, Ring, Guerra, Mares, Speas, Saad, McInerney
- Substitutions:  Collier 59' (Saad); Watson 59' (Speas); Venegas 83' (Ouimette)
- Unused: Lundgaard, Rusin, Matern, Starikov
- Goals: Mares 14'
- Bookings: Ferreira81' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: One

I believe this game tells us everything we need to know about the Eleven's prospects in the playoffs, assuming that they make them. Richmond came into this game having not won a road game since July 9th against Penn FC. In that span of games, they were 1-6-0 on the road and were outscored 19 to 3. Their past two games, one at home and one on the road, were a 4-nil defeat to Nashville and a 6-nil drubbing to Louisville, respectively, both teams currently in playoff contention.

They scored within 5 minutes against the Eleven.

Granted, Dylan Mares pulled one back in the 14th minute and neither team scored after that, but the glimpses that we have seen from this team can't seem to be sustained for long enough stretches to separate themselves from the other playoff teams. Really, not even the non-playoff teams.

In the past four games, Indy has played Toronto (currently last in the conference), Atlanta (currently 2nd to last in the conference), Pittsburgh (3rd in the conference), and Richmond (currently 3rd to last in the conference) and managed a 3-2 win against Toronto after giving up a 2-goal lead, a 1-1 draw against Atlanta after giving up a 90'+6' goal, a 2-2 draw against Pittsburgh after getting a 90'+4' equalizer, and a 1-1 draw tonight against a team struggling to score goals and keep balls out of their own goal.

I found myself, once again watching the defense and their interplay and team defense was pretty good all night. It was, like Wednesday's game, an individual mistake that lead to Richmond's early goal. The ball was played out wide, which was one-touch crossed into the middle, where Gonzalez wasn't being properly tracked by Ferreira and was able to get in front of him to be able to deflect the ball towards the goal. Individual mistakes once again rearing their head.

Maybe the 6th game of the 7 in the 22 day stretch was a factor. When asked whether the guys were starting to feel the affects of the stretch, Coach Rennie replied, "I think tonight yeah. I think tonight was the first time I saw where I thought we were tired. ... It was a little bit lower tempo, a little bit of tiredness tonight."

Included in the above ellipses was something that I wanted to pull out separately. Around the 70th minute, there was an injury to one of the Richmond players. The injury became a pseudo hydration break as every single player seemed to get water, including the referee. Fans were partially sold on the move to Lucas Oil Stadium as the weather always being perfect for the games. While it's true that no games have been delayed due to rain and fans haven't had to exit the stadium and find shelter elsewhere to ride out thunderstorms, the operation of the stadium game day experience has left a lot to be desired. Twice this season, during a heat wave, there were actual hydration breaks in a stadium that has a roof. Other times, the stadium atmosphere is stifling hot because there is no air flow or breeze. Fans have seen some hot days at Carroll Stadium, but any kind of breeze was helpful. That is not the case in Lucas Oil Stadium.
"Today, the roof was closed but the window was open and it was, you could hardly breath because there's heat coming in, but there's no air. ... It was kind of humid almost, kind of hard to breathe. I've seen that a couple times when there's no circulation of air because it's such a big stadium and the air doesn't seem to flow."
It's nearly impossible to argue that Carroll Stadium is better than Lucas Oil Stadium. However, the way that LOS is being utilized is significantly and adversely affecting the promised experience.

Exit soap box...

I was asked after the game what players I thought performed well. I was quick to point out Mares, who I still feel has gotten better in every way since his first stint here, Ring, who was solid in the defensive mid role, and Ayoze, who seems to rarely have a bad game. I've thought about it more and I can't pinpoint any players that I think played poorly. They just played well enough. Or at least well enough to not beat a bottom of the table team, while playing at home.

One of my final thoughts is something that I scribbled down in the 32nd minute when McInerney made a foray into the box, which was poked away but found its way to Saad just inside the 18-yard line. Despite being surrounded by 4 Richmond defenders, Saad managed to carve just enough space to be able to get a shot that Spangenberg was forced to parry over the top. This is one of the examples of what differentiates the players on this year's roster with ones from the past couple. Where Indy Eleven fans routinely used to shout "Shoot the ball" in the past, McInerney and Saad know their roles and shooting the ball is a key component of that role. Coming into the game, Saad had taken 52 shots (most on the team), which is 3rd most shots in the conference and 7th in the entire league. They know they need to take shots and find ways to do so.

The team remained on their undefeated streak with the draw tonight, but I'm still concerned about its playoff prospects. Maybe Wednesday's game against the Red Bulls II will help sway me, but I'm not optimistic.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Mares. For all the reasons I've been saying the past couple of weeks.