Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Indy Eleven vs Atlanta United FC II - 06.29

- Opponent: Atlanta United FC II
- Location: Atlanta
- Attendance: 1,026
- Final Score: 2-1 L
- Starting XI: Newton, Hackshaw, Barrett, Ouimette, Gibson, Walker, Ayoze, Watson (C), Pasher, Starikov, Rodrigues
- Substitutions: Ilic 70' (Starikov); Kelly 73' (Rodrigues); Novoa 89' (Walker)
- Unused: Farr, Osmond, King, Perea
- Goals: Barrett 36'
- Bookings: Hackshaw 9' (Yellow); Gibson 43' (Yellow); Barrett 90'+5' (RED)
- Referee: Alejandro Mariscal
- Adage goals: None

Sometimes you can glean something good out of a loss. Sometimes you get tonight, when the best you can say is, "we looked better than last Friday against Birmingham." Only just barely and against a team in Atlanta United FC 2 that is just a Birmingham Legion win away from being officially eliminated from the playoff picture. The less I say about this game, the better my blood pressure will be and considering that I had to deal with my neighborhood's HOA this week, I need to do everything I can to keep my blood pressure down.

After last Friday's game, Coach Rennie was quoted as saying, "We’ve had a really good season and our players are entitled to a bad half, but that’s something down the stretch that we really need to get focused back on." Coming out and losing 5 days later against ATL2 gives the impression that they didn't get their focus back on in their longest rest between games this month. It's also officially cause for concern for Indy fans. Indy may have officially stamped their place in the playoff picture, but home field advantage is still very much up for grabs. Back-to-back road losses highlight Indy's need to be playing at home come playoff time. In the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium (or wherever the playoff game(s) will be held), Indy is 11W-0L-4D, while posting a 6W-7L-1D record on the road.

As I said in my review of the Birmingham game, "Over the years, Indy hasn't had a lot of significant sustained success. When they have been a good team, and with a couple of notable exceptional moments, Indy has made a habit of having a chance to make significant moves up the table only to look like they weren't worthy of that ranking. Tonight was no different."

This was a physical game with 40 combined called fouls and 8 cards. The loss in Atlanta was bad enough, but it was exacerbated by the fact that one of those cards was shown to Paddy Barrett at 90'+5', AFTER the final whistle had blown. After the game on Friday, Barrett tweeted about the team's bad performance. I doubt he tweets tonight, despite getting the team's only goal in the 36th minute to get the team back to even going into halftime.

With two more games on the road before heading back to Lucas Oil on October 5th to play Memphis 901 FC, Indy needs to figure out their focus and they need to figure it out quickly. Indy heads to Pittsburgh on Saturday to play a team that has now officially punched their own ticket to the playoffs, is on a 6 game undefeated streak, and has only lost once in their last 13 games. Indy have already played Pittsburgh twice this year, having been knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup by the Riverhounds in late May and then Indy exacting some revenge a week later with a 2-1 come-from-behind win. Given the two teams' current form, Indy is going to need to look a lot better than they have the past two games if they want to win the rubber match and stay ahead of Pittsburgh in the standings.

Right now, Indy looks to be trending the wrong way after getting themselves into the playoffs. With just a few games left, can they right the ship and live up to the expectations that they created for themselves in the first 80% of the season? Or has Indy's season long inability to consistently create chances and make good on those chances finally reared its head again, right when they need it least?

The Game Beckons Game Ball
Not tonight fellas.

No comments: