Sunday, August 16, 2020

Indy Eleven vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds - 07.09

- Opponent: Pittsburgh Riverhounds
- Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
- Attendance: 5,748
- Final Score: 1-0 W

- Starting XI: Newton, Hackshaw (C), Osmond, Ouimette, Conner, Gibson, Ayoze, Lindley, Carleton, Pasher, Ilic

- Substitutions: Antley 56' (Carleton), Watson 57' (Ilic), Moon 82' (Pasher), 
- Unused: Farr, Haworth, Rafanello, Moon, Walker

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Pasher 13' (assist Carleton)

- Bookings:
IND - Ayoze 50' (RED)
PIT - Dos Santors 58' (Yellow)
IND - Watson 62' (Yellow)
IND - Gibson 81' (Yellow)
IND - Moon 86' (Yellow)

- Referee: Lukasz Szpala
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions
If you are one of those people that like to look at the statistics to get a feel for the game without watching the game, don't bother on this one. They aren't very helpful in telling you about the final result. Pittsburgh had more possession, more shots, more shots on target, 57.1% shooting accuracy, 23 crosses, and as can be seen from the heat map, the majority of the game was played firmly in the Indy Eleven half of the field. 

A 50th minute red card on Indy Eleven's Ayoze will do that.

A red card that resulted from a called handball on a goal line clearance from a shot on goal after a Pittsburgh corner kick. As an Indy fan who has seen it in replays, I can rationalize that Ayoze wasn't at fault because he headed it first and it ricocheted into his arm, even if it was in an "unnatural" position; a position that could be argued was because he was putting his arm out to protect himself from hitting his head on the goal post. However, from a ref's perspective, without the advantage of replay, it's a card he had to give. I would argue that some of his other cards to Indy players were unnecessary, but the red card was the appropriate decision.  

Fortunately for Indy, Newton went the correct direction on the penalty kick and made one of his very sparse 3 saves, given that Indy spent 47 minutes of game time down a man. As Rakestraw has pointed out on numerous occasions, Newton isn't always required to make numerous saves, but he is asked to make a few key saves. He did that tonight, keeping Indy with their one goal lead. 

Then the Rennie Bunker (TM) was in full effect. Pasher dropped into the left back position temporarily until the coaching staff could make the changes that they wanted to make for a man down situation. Despite how well Carleton and Ilic had been playing, Coach Rennie brought on Watson and Antley to drop Indy into a 5-3-1 formation, with Pasher the lone man up top for the periodic ball to chase. Otherwise, it was all men back to defend and defend some more. 

With Indy having a one goal advantage thanks to a 13th minute goal from Pasher on a one-touch assist from Carleton, there was little need to push forward unless the opportunity was absolutely available. Otherwise, it was defend and blast the ball up field to relieve pressure. This game marked just the second time that Indy surpassed the 20% long pass mark, with the other game coming against Pittsburgh earlier this year. 

With Indy now off until they play August 26th against Louisville, the guys can get some rest knowing that they have survived their out of group schedule with a 4W-0D-0L record. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball
There are so many guys that could receive this for this game. I continue to appreciate the pairing of Conner and Gibson in the midfield and all three subs brought the energy that was needed after the red card, but I have to give this game's Game Beckons Game Ball to Evan Newton. He made a good save in the first half and his penalty kick save is what kept the team defending for a win instead of defending for a draw. The save made all the difference in the guy's mentality when facing the prospect of a half's worth of playing time down a man.

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