Thursday, August 15, 2019

Indy Eleven vs Detroit City FC - Exhibition

- Opponent: Detroit City FC
- Location: Hamtramck, Michigan
- Attendance: 4,350
- Final Score: 1-0 W
- Starting XI: Farr, Ayoze, Hackshaw, Osmond, Ouimette, Pasher, Walker, King, Ilic, Farias, Kelly
- 2nd Half XI: Farr, Hamilton (Trialist), Osmond, Barrett, King (Ouimette), Conner, Marion (Trialist), Watson, Farias, Boone (Trialist), Diakhate
- Substitutions: Starikov 64' (Diakhate); Diakhate 82' (Farias)
- Goals: Starikov 71'
- Bookings: Ilic 30' (Yellow); King 47' (RED)
- Adage goals: None

It's difficult to get much information in the way of form from a friendly, so I'm going to keep this relatively brief. I mean, most of the starters watched the second half from the bench, with the exception of Farr, Osmond, Farias, and Ouimette. Even Ouimette wasn't intended to play the second half, but King's 47th minute RED card modified things. A red card where Detroit City FC's head coach, and former Indy Eleven assistant, Trevor James agreed to "decline the penalty" and let Indy continue the game 11 v 11. King was gone though. Then there was the substitution where goalscorer Starikov came in for Diakhate in the 64th minute and then Diakhate came back in for Farias in the 82nd minute.

Obviously, not exactly your everyday scenarios and substitution patterns. Nineteen different players saw minutes on Tuesday. The only Indy Eleven players on the roster who didn't see minutes were Newton (backup GK for the game), Brown (backup backup GK), Nieto (an Academy signing), recent signees Novoa and Rodrigues, and Tyler Gibson (who has played all but 6 minutes of every league game this year). Let me rephrase this another way. Due to all of the recent roster moves, if it wasn't for 3 trialists, Indy would have played a lot more of their starters during a friendly because there was literally ONE field player not utilized.

What we did see was Indy holding possession for the majority of the game and having a nearly 3:1 advantage in shots. Though to be fair to Detroit City FC, the shots on target were much closer to a 1:1 ratio, forcing Farr into making 4 saves, while DCFC's GK Steinwascher made 6 (unofficial stats). Despite Indy's "starting eleven" not playing during the second half, DCFC was much less effective in the second half at attacking Indy's goal, getting just two shots (one on target) in the second half, both of which happened around the 75th minute. Both Indy's offense and defense picked up with the infusion of new signee Drew Conner, Watson, Starikov, and three (yes, three) trialists.

Three trialists. I know that Conner, Novoa, and Rodrigues are intended to offset the departures of Enevoldsen and Kim, but three new players and three trialists with 20 games of a 34 game season in the book with a team ranked in the top 5 in the conference is a tad concerning. Most people, Coach Rennie included, say that it usually takes time for players to gel. With less than half of the season remaining, that doesn't leave much time for the new additions to gel. While Conner and the three trialists performed well, I'm curious to see how they are all utilized moving forward, particularly with the quantity of games that take place in September.

It may have been a friendly, but Kelly's touch and his inability to get shots didn't seem any better. Maybe the roster moves and the addition of Conner will pressure Kelly into form, but I didn't see it having positive results in Detroit. I thought Conner and Ilic played well. Watson was his normal, age-defying self in the second half, as well. But the one player that stood out the most for me, received the fewest minutes of the 19 who saw the field...

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Starikov. In Indy's first friendly away from home in the club's history, it's always nice to get a win. It's particularly nice to get a win with a goal from a player who has been injured since the third game and maintain a clean sheet as well. Starikov looked lively in his 26 minutes of action, particularly the second half stoppage time bicycle kick that just missed wide left. Starikov looked like a player who is glad to be back on the field and looking to make a large impact in the remaining games of the season. With Enevoldsen gone, Kelly continuing to struggle, and teams focusing on Pasher, guys like Conner, Ilic, and Starikov are going to need to step up, and step up quickly, in the last part of the season so it was nice to see Starikov rewarded for his effort in his return.

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