Sunday, July 21, 2019

Indy Eleven vs Loudoun United FC - 06.18

- Opponent: Loudoun United FC
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: 11,059
- Final Score: 2-0 W
- Starting XI: Newton, Hackshaw, Osmond, Barrett, Walker, Gibson, Ayoze, Pasher, Ilic, Enevoldsen, Diakhate
- Substitutions: Farias 63' (Ilic); Kelly 67' (Diakhate); King 90'+3' (Pasher)
- Unused: Farr, Ouimette, Kim, Nieto
- Goals: Enevoldsen 81' (assist Kelly); Pasher 90'+1' (assist Ayoze)
- Bookings: Gibson 24' (Yellow); Barrett 50' (Yellow); Ayoze 55' (Yellow); Osmond 73' (Yellow); Kelly 83' (Yellow)
- Referee: Matthew Corrigan
- Adage goals: None

Per every press release that Indy has released in their history, "per club and team policy, terms of player contracts with Indy Eleven will not be released." So we have no idea what Dane Kelly and Alioune Diakhate get paid for their services. The smart money would tell you that Kelly gets paid significantly more than Diakhate. While that's not always the way to create your starting lineup, any kind of competitive athlete who was hired to score goals likely finds it difficult to watch the game start with a unknown open trialist playing in his position. Yet, maybe that's exactly what Kelly needs right now to further light a fire in him.

While Kelly didn't score himself, he was an absolute frustration for the Loudoun defense from the time he came into the game in the 67th minute until the end of the game. He was the assist on the game winning goal by Enevoldsen in the 81st minute, he picked up a yellow card in the 83rd minute by catching the foot of Loudoun GK Edwards Jr. who was a bit too casual with a play out of the back, and managed to get Edwards to pick up his own yellow card in the 87th minute for something he said to Kelly on what looked to me like could have been a penalty kick for Indy. While Diakhate's play has been slowing catching up to his raw ability week-to-week, Kelly provides a different type of threat. His pace, off the bench, caused Loudoun problems in the waning minutes of the game. It's not exactly how you want to see one of your top paid players earn his salary, but Kelly, motivated to try and prove everybody wrong, could be exactly what this team needs moving forward. It makes me think of Carli Lloyd during this year's World Cup. It's a nice option to have coming off the bench.

A healthy Ilic and Starikov aren't going to hurt either.

Enevoldsen was also brought onto this team to score goals and he was finally rewarded for his efforts, including yet another time this year where I think he should have been awarded a penalty kick. I don't have an official stat total for it, but it seems like he's been taken down in the box without a call more than any other player on the team. In this game though, we also saw him working to teach Diakhate what runs he should be making and frustrated at Kelly for not making an obvious pass, but also getting the game winner, 4 shots on goal, and creating 3 chances.

During the post-game press conference, Enevoldsen diverted from a question a bit and stated, "We have a really good defense, which means there's pressure on us up front because most games if we just put one in, it means we'll at least get points out of it because the defenders don't let a lot of goals in." Which leads me to Osmond.

I really like Ouimette and what he can bring to the team and to a game, but there is something that Osmond brings to the center-back role that seemed to be missing last game when he was not playing. I've had concerns at times about his over-zealous nature, but the defense felt more organized in this game, even with Pasher and Ayoze constantly pushing forward and Hackshaw looking a bit off from his normal self. Maybe last game's defense was an outlier, the team "getting a little complacent before the loss last week," (via Newton after the game) but I feel like Osmond should be the starting center-back with the other guys rotating as necessary.

It's not a recap lately unless we're talking about Tyler "get out of jail free card" Pasher (h/t to Nipun for that one). As has been the case for the past two months of games, Pasher's speed, ball skills, and desire to push the ball forward has been the major force for Indy's offense. Coach Rennie brought out a unique lineup this week by putting Ayoze on the right side of the field because he has to keep both of them in the lineup. They're the engine that's running the attack right now. Ayoze's vision and ball-handling skills are in the top of the league. Pasher's ball-handling, at full speed, is what separates him from other players and continually gets him opportunities for crosses. In this game, I would have liked to see the other attacking players make near-post runs when Pasher was screaming down the sideline with the ball at his feet because their center and far-post runs were routinely caught or parried away by Edwards.

This was the kind of game where, at the end, you can say that the better team won. Indy felt like they were going to eventually get the game-winning goal and the stats bore that out. When that happens, sometimes you see interesting things in those stats. Like an average position chart that looks like an arrow going forward for Indy... I'm not sure that is exactly how Coach Rennie expected it to play out when he set his starting lineup, but that's what happened.

It's also interesting to me that the Eleven have played 6 league games this year where they didn't receive a single yellow card. They had only received 21 yellow cards in their previous 17 games. Yet, in this one, they received 5 yellow cards, on 11 fouls conceded. Loudoun, conversely, received just 2 cards on 16 fouls conceded.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Enevoldsen and Osmond split the Game Beckons Game Ball award for this game. I feel like they were the difference in this game.


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