Sunday, March 17, 2019

Indy Eleven vs Charlotte Independence - 06.02

- Opponent: Charlotte Independence
- Location: Charlotte
- Attendance: 1,649
- Final Score: 3-2 W
- Starting XI: Newton, Hackshaw, Barrett, Ouimette, King, Walker, Gibson, Watson (C), Enevoldsen, Starikov, Kelly
- Substitutions: Penn 77' (Starikov); Diakhate 82' (Kelly); Farias 89' (Enevoldsen)
- Unused: Farr, Matern, Ilic, Crognale
- Goals: King 12' (assist Walker); Gibson 16'; Enevoldsen 69' (assist Walker)
- Bookings: None
- Referee: Gustavo Solorio
- Adage goals: One

Sometimes you watch a game, see the score, and look at the game statistics and you think, "yeah, that makes sense." Sometimes you watch a game, see the score, and look at the game statistics and you think, "there's a disconnect between all of those." This game is one of the latter.

Indy Eleven scored 3 goals, two of those in the first 16 minutes by King in the 12th minute and Gibson in the 16th minute. The third, which would surprisingly be considered the game winner, found the back of the net in the 69th minute on a rocket from Enevoldsen from a corner kick. After
that, Charlotte scored two goals to make the end of the game much more interesting than it needed to be from an Eleven fan's perspective.

Charlotte held a 62.5% to 37.5% advantage in possession. And yet, even by the standards of the Charlotte broadcast team, Charlotte's possession was substantial but not effective. Charlotte had just three shots on target for all of that possession. However, the managed to put two of those shots in the goal. Evan Newton made his first save for Indy in the 66th minute. Three minutes later, Indy put their third goal on the board. Four minutes later, Charlotte's second shot of the game, found it's way past Newton and breathed life into the Independence. Their possession paid off again in the 83rd minute when IU product Andrew Gutman's header found its way under Newton and trimmed the game down to a single goal differential.

As an Indy Eleven fan, you love the start to the game. You love that multiple guys are finding the back of the net. However, giving up the late clean sheet makes you wonder if all of Charlotte's possession and the 3 back lineup began to wear on Indy, helping set up the two goals.

As I suspected, Coach Rennie stayed with the 3 back lineup, but he moved Ouimette to the center of the field and moved Barrett to the right. Without seeing all of the preseason games, I wonder if Rennie is still trying to determine who can best fill that CB, leadership, role for this team. I suspect he likes Barrett's physicality to the role, but maybe Ouimette is showing to be better at directing the defense. We may see some additional movement at that position until Rennie figures out who he can trust in that role.

As previously mentioned, Charlotte held a 62/38 possession advantage, in essence swapping the possession numbers that Indy held against Saint Louis. For me, much of that difference can be accounted by the fact that Indy nearly doubled their number of long passes between the two games. Indy had 14% long vs Saint Louis and 26% versus Charlotte and that number seems low from the eyeball test. Or maybe it is just exacerbated by the fact that the 82% passing accuracy from the Saint Louis game dropped down to 69% for this game. It felt like Indy routinely did well with quick passes with each other in the defensive third only to watch somebody blast it forward over the midfield in an attempt to get it to Enevoldsen, Starikov, or Kelly. Routinely with limited success.

It's only two games into the season, but Dane Kelly really needs to see a ball go into the goal. In the game against Saint Louis, his penalty kick was saved and he had a header go off the woodwork. Against Charlotte, a nice run of fplay by the Eleven allowed Kelly to unleash a shot from just outside the 18 that also found the woodwork. Fortunately for the Eleven, other guys are scoring goals, but they desperately want to get Kelly going soon.

Indy now has two weeks off before their home opener against former Indy player Wojcik and Hartford Athletics and then another two weeks off before going to play Swope Park.

Other Notes:

- Ayoze was out again this week, this time officially listed in the Injury Report as Questionable with a quad. In his absence, Walker has been taking most (all?) of the corners and set pieces. In a related note, the Eleven have scored four goals in the young season, three of which that were assisted. Walker has all three assists.

- There are some good commentators in the USL and there are some bad commentators. Rakestraw is one of the best. The Charlotte commentators were...not as good. I had to stop the game and come back to it later. Fast forwarded to about where I left off and was met with dead air. A lot of dead air. So much that I wondered if I had turned off my speakers. Greg has said that there's a fine line between providing commentary in a visual medium and that he approaches it differently when he's doing radio. I counted 5 different segments of the game, where the Charlotte commentators were silent for at least 30 seconds. At one point, from 62:35 to 63:38 (a full minute of game time), there was silence. They didn't say a single word. No play-by-play. No color commentary. Just the sounds of the PA announcer and the sparse Charlotte crowd noise. If you don't think Greg Rakestraw is one of the best in the business, I feel sorry for you.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

I think I'm going to give this to Starikov this week. Starikov's header was what started the flurry in front of goal that lead to Gibson's put-back goal. His energy was good and ended up with 4 shots and an 80% passing accuracy.

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