Sunday, October 6, 2019

Indy Eleven vs Memphis 901 FC - 06.32

- Opponent: Memphis 901 FC
- Location: Indianapolis
- Attendance: 13,134
- Final Score: 3-0 W
- Starting XI: Farr, Hackshaw, Barrett, Ouimette, Gibson, Walker, Conner, Ayoze, Ilic, Novoa, Kelly
- Substitutions: Perea 70' (Ilic); Pasher 74' (Kelly); Rodrigues 83' (Novoa)
- Unused: Brown, Osmond, Diakhate, Starikov
- Goals: Novoa 13' (assist Kelly); Ouimette 22' (assist Ayoze); Pasher 77' (assist Barrett)
- Bookings: None
- Referee: Elijio Arreguin
- Adage goals: None

Even on short rest, there's something about being back at Lucas Oil Stadium that created a different vibe from this team. They seemed to come out faster and more determined than any of the four previous road games. Coach Rennie often cites club records in comparison to how the team has performed so I'm sure he was aware that a 5 game losing streak would have been a new record low. After the game, Jordan Farr stated, “There was definitely a vibe that was ‘This needs to end here now.’ Like, there is no chance that we are losing this game, there’s no chance we are not going to get points out of this and win. I think we were under a mentality of ‘This is it.’"

With that mentality in mind, an early 13th minute goal by Novoa helped put the team in a better mindset and not have to come from behind or get a late goal to win. It helped keep the game from being a struggle for them, which is what we've seen the past few games. Ouimette's goal in the 22nd minute solidified that this was the night for the losing streak to end. Having not scored in 8 games, Tyler Pasher, Indy's leading scorer, capped off the goal scoring for the night with a one-v-one breakdown of his defender and then a shot through Caldwell's legs. Pasher's goal may have surprised Caldwell on the timing as Pasher shot the ball with his right foot, with Caldwell likely waiting for Pasher to get the ball to his favored left foot and so the shot surprised him. Interestingly, they all originated from different parts of the field and in different ways, but all three goals were scored from the same general area on the field against Memphis' goalkeeper Caldwell; around the six yard line and to his left.

Novoa and Kelly played well up top together. Kelly was extremely active with a constant fight against Memphis' Doyle for position. It happened much later in the game than I expected, but one of the two of them received a yellow card for the physical play between them when Doyle was shown the game's only yellow card in the 82 minute. Ironically, on a foul not on Kelly who had made way for Pasher.

It may be a function of trying to watch away games via a television feed and not live, but there seemed to be a concerted effort in this game for Ayoze and Conner to use the entire width of the field. In the past, I've noticed the wingers on the touchline on one side and the other side winger will drift into the middle. Tonight, both guys stayed out wide regardless of where the ball was located unless they were the player that was taking the ball into the middle. This width seemed to open channels for the rest of the players, while also allowing for some significant switching of the field by Barrett, Hackshaw, and both Ayoze and Conner. The pace of switching the field of play was quicker tonight and it paid off.

It was also nice to see that coming out of the locker room at halftime ahead 2-nil, the team did not settle into the Rennie Bunker (TM). They continued to press forward. While the vibe from the team was a win, a clean sheet and making things easier on Farr seemed to play into the tactics as well. Memphis had a couple of opportunities on goal being credited with 7 shots, but I can only remember a couple that really required Farr to make a big play, which he did.

This was a good, and much needed, win for Indy. A fifth loss in a row would have been devastating to their hopes of hosting a home playoff game (rumored to be at Carroll Stadium). Getting guys on the scoreboard will also help their confidence as they head to Tampa Bay after an entire week of rest/training. With some of the other results from the weekend, Indy moved back into 2nd place and in line for one of the home playoff matches. Strong results against Tampa and Swope Park can solidify that goal.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

I'm going to give this game's Game Beckons Game Ball to Ilic. Like Kelly, he was a thorn in the Memphis defense, playing physical and with intensity. He created a chance on goal and was 100% accurate with his passes inside Memphis' half of the field. He put in a great shift tonight.


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