Sunday, June 9, 2019

Indy Eleven vs Memphis 901 FC - 06.12

- Opponent: Memphis 901 FC
- Location: Memphis
- Attendance: 6,829
- Final Score: 3-0 W
- Starting XI: Newton, Ouimette, Osmond, Barrett (C), Walker, Gibson, Pasher, Kim, King, Enevoldsen, Kelly
- Substitutions: Watson 67' (Kim); Farr 72' (Newton - injury); Diakhate 74' (Kelly)
- Unused: Farias, Nieto, Penn
- Goals: Enevoldsen 31' (assist Walker); Kim 52' (free kick); Pasher 58' (assist Kelly)
- Bookings: None
- Referee: Malik Badawi
- Adage goals: None

As an Eleven fan, it would be nice to think that a three-goal output from the team signifies a return of form for the team's offense, but I have to temper my excitement of seeing Enevoldsen, Pasher, and now Kim get on the board. Indy's 3-nil shutout win against Memphis comes against one of the teams in the conference's bottom third of the table, where Indy has feasted this year. Only Birmingham ranks lower than Memphis in their conversion rate of attack, converting just 10% of their shots, while also not being a team to keep the ball out of their own net. Memphis has only one clean sheet on the season, a 1-nil victory over Bethlehem back in March.

So, yes, the team played well, possessing the ball and converting on their opportunities, but this was also against a team that they should beat, even on the road. Fortunately for the team, they have a few more games like that in recent weeks before, once again, facing one of the conference leaders in Louisville in another of the third game in 8 days scenario.

It has been good to see Kim get some minutes lately, as I think he provides something different in the midfield than the other players. His vision is good and he's starting to get in the attack more. If I'm honest, I'm surprised that he was awarded the goal on his free kick since it took a deflection from a Memphis player and I think Caldwell would have been in position to stop the shot had it not been deflected. “Kim’s a very high-level player that’s needed just a little time to adjust and adapt, but it seems like he’s starting to find his rhythm." With the injuries to the squad, more on that in a second, Kim's inclusion into the lineup and ability to get more minutes could prove pivotal down the stretch of the season.

Jordan Farr, once again, saw minutes in this game in a substitute role. Farr may not be getting the starter role, but has been forced to come in twice this season as a substitute and has performed well. It's difficult to know what Newton injured while taking a goal kick in the 71st minute, but Farr may be seeing his first minutes as a starter soon. As of the time of this article, no word has been provided by the team on the extent of his injury. Given that Newton had injury issues during his time at FC Cincinnati with his hip, Farr's ascension into the starter role may be coming sooner rather than later, even if this injury proves to be minor. Newton's injuries in Cincinnati were, at least partially, attributed to playing on turf, which he has continued here in Indy. While the injury to Newton forced Coach Rennie to make a substitute that would not normally be made, given the rest of the bench for the game, I'm not sure it drastically affected the substitution pattern. Kelly's injury a few minutes later also didn't drastically affect the pattern, as he would have likely been substituted in that general timeframe anyway. I haven't heard anything about that injury at this point either.

What does concern me a bit is the absence of Ayoze from not just the starting lineup, but also from the game day roster completely. I've routinely said that he is the team's MVP and there has been little to no comment about him not being part of the game day squad. Whether it's good or just hiding the details, but he has not been shown on the team's Injury Report. So maybe he's just getting a few games rest.

Indy has two more games against teams in the bottom/middle of the table before facing surging Louisville. It will be interesting to see the Injury Report before the Loudoun game and whether Newton, Ayoze, Kelly, or others are on it. Though, as it stated above with Kim getting minutes potentially helping Indy down the stretch, getting Farr some minutes could be similarly helpful later in the season as Newton progresses through another season on turf fields.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

I'm going to give this game's Game Beckons Game Ball to Enevoldsen, who looked dangerous all night. He had his defender completely on his heels and unable to figure out what to do to defend for the goal, but was also continuing to attack until the last second. As time wound down, Enevoldsen picked up the ball in midfield and charged at the goal. When nobody picked him up, he unleashed a shot that just barely missed the crossbar. He was active from box to box and put the team up in the first half, which "meant that Memphis had to attack and come out a little bit more, which created some space for
us to attack ourselves." - Coach Rennie

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