Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Indy Eleven vs Sporting Kansas City II - 07.12


- Opponent: Sporting Kansas City II
- Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
- Attendance: 5,066
- Final Score: 2-1 W

- Starting XI: Newton, Osmond, Barrett (C), Ouimette, Conner, Gibson, Ayoze, Haworth, Carleton, Moon, Rafanello

- Substitutions: Watson 82' (Rafanello), Antley 82' (Ayoze), Ilic 89' (Moon) 
- Unused: Farr, Dumas, Senanou, Lindley

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Moon 6' (assist Ayoze)
IND - Rafanello 63' (assist Haworth)
SKCII - Freeman 88'

- Bookings:
IND - Barrett 3' (Yellow)
SKCII - Resetar 23' (Yellow)
SKCII - Serna 53' (Yellow)
SKCII - Riley 58' (Yellow)
SKCII - Davis 59' (Yellow)
SKCII - Cuic 74' (Yellow)
IND - Conner 87' (Yellow)
SKCII - Manager Nagamura (Yellow)

- Referee: Ismir Pekmic
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions
Pasher wasn't on the game day roster. Pasher is the only player to have scored for the Eleven since July 29th. Where was Indy going to get a goal in his absence? The good news is that Ayoze was back in the roster and in the 6th minute, he sent a long pass up the left side that found Moon near the 18 yard box, who proceeded to take on his defender one-on-one and slide the ball under Thompson into the right side netting. Just like that, some of the pressure was taken off of the Indy Eleven, who needed to look at this game as a must-win.

While Indy's first half defense against Louisville was fraught with multiple errors, Indy's game plan of limiting the touches of Sporting Kansas City II's Wilson Harris' in dangerous locations was highly effective. That included not only having Barrett key in on Harris with Gibson hanging around just in front of him to limit his touches, but the Eleven also limited the easy touches from the rest of SKCII. Indy pressed the young backline of SKCII frequently on the field as far back as within SKCII's 18-yard box.

Without Pasher on the field, Moon looked more focused at going forward and finding his own shot instead of trying to feed Pasher. After a perfect cross from Haworth in the 63rd minute, Moon was nearly able to connect with the cross to give himself a brace. While Moon was not able to find the ball, the effort that Bone showed against Indy, Rafanello matched with a back post run where he was able to get the ball past Thompson through a very small window.

With a two goal lead, Indy's focus became maintaining the clean sheet. A clean sheet that they were not able to successfully accomplish due to a perfectly taken free kick from just outside the 18-yard box by Freeman, SKCII's 17-year old forward. A kick that went just over the wall and just out of the reach of Newton. Down a goal and with time running out, SKCII had a late corner kick that looked to provide the tying goal off of the head of Barbir. However, the referee ruled that Barrett was fouled in the process of Barbir creating space for the header and called off the goal. Without knowing what Pekmic saw from his position, the replays make me think that the SKCII players and fans have a valid complaint about the goal being disallowed. Though when players from your team have been shown yellow cards five times to the point in the game, it's not like you have been a beacon of sportsmanship and rule followers. When that has been the way you played, a non-foul can look like a foul from the referee's perspective and location on the field.

While the final goal/non-goal can be debated, Indy was the better team for the majority of the game and deserved the win. SKCII were limited in their chances and only managed 7 shots, with just 3 on target. Both teams needed this win to stay in the Group E playoff race, as every game in the group now has the feel of being the proverbial 6-point swing. Louisville and Saint Louis play on Saturday to bring the group back to even in games played and then everybody do-si-dos and changes partners for the Week 13 games.

Such is the life of the USL Championship in the final weeks of the season.

The Game Beckons Game Ball
Nick Moon deserves this game's Game Beckons Game Ball and not just because he scored the opening goal. He put in a good shift and showed that he's not just growing into his role as a forward (remember that wasn't his role at Lansing nor any of his other previous stops), but also growing in his confidence.

Additional Photos

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