Thursday, October 1, 2020

Indy Eleven vs Sporting Kansas City II - 07.15

- Opponent: Saint Louis FC
- Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
- Attendance: 6,039
- Final Score: 2-1 L

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

- Substitutions: Carleton 45' (Lindley); Moon 69' (Ilic); Watson 69' (Conner); Rafanello 86' (Gibson)
- Unused: Farr, Antley, Dumas

- Scoring Summary:
SKCII - Harris 41' (assist Mompremier)
IND - Carleton 49' (assist Pasher)
SKCII - Sparks 90'+5'

- Bookings:
IND - Lindley 38' (Yellow)
IND - Watson 73' (Yellow)
SKCII - Sparks 86' (Yellow)

- Referee: Calin Radosav
- Adage goals: Two

Thoughts and Opinions
It wasn't a "must-win" game tonight against Sporting Kansas City II, but the prospect of going to Saint Louis to get a draw or a win in Saint Louis' potential last game ever, put some expediency into Indy's offense early, creating numerous chances. However, midway through the first half, SKCII began to see more chances of their own until they eventually took the lead on a 41st minute goal by Harris on a "chipping wedge in his bag" cross by Mompremier. Indy had four first half shots on target, but SKCII's goalkeeper, Prieur, was better than Indy's shots in the first half. 

"We have to finish." - Coach Rennie (at halftime during telecast)

Rennie was referencing the number of chances that they had around the goal that they were unable to convert into goals. We would find out later that it also could have referred to finishing the game. 

After the halftime break, Rennie substituted Carleton in for Lindley. Carleton's creativity and vision were immediately made apparent. Within five minutes, Pasher sent a cross/pass towards the top of the box that Carleton buried into the lower right corner away from Prieur. For the moment, it looked like the game would be salvaged as Indy evened the game and still had 40 minutes remaining to get a much needed second goal. 

And yet, the finishing around the goal never happened again, despite 3 more shots on target in the second half and a total of 24 crosses. Headers went just over the top. Another Carleton shot from outside the box went wide. At one point in the telecast, Rakestraw said something to the effect of "Indy isn't lacking for soccer IQ," and that their "speed of thought" was on full display tonight. What he missed what that their play was good for everywhere except that finishing touch. 

I don't want to harp on it game after game, but Indy's end-of-season scoring has not been consistent with the rest of the way they have played. Pasher, Indy's leading goal scorer, hasn't scored a goal in the run of play since August 15th against Pittsburgh. Since that time (6 games), Indy have been held scoreless twice (both against Louisville City), Pasher scored a first half stoppage time penalty kick, Moon and Rafanello scored vs SKCII, and Hackshaw headed home the game tying goal last week versus Saint Louis after a recycled corner kick. Run-of-play goals have never been the cornerstone of a Rennie team, but the team is struggling to find the goal as this season concludes.

Then there was the 90'+5' goal by Sparks that took Indy's reasonable result (from a confidence perspective as it didn't really help in the standings in comparison to Saint Louis) and threw it into the dumpster. A dumpster that many fans are going to set on fire if Indy is unable to get a result and finish the season without making the playoffs in a group where many thought Indy could have been the top team and after their promising start to the season. The good news for Indy is that they really are playing mostly good soccer and that a draw against Saint Louis on Saturday still manages to get them into the playoffs despite having a 1W-1D-4L record in their last six games. 

With their recent inability to finish chances and their ability to give up poor goals, I'm not very optimistic this season continues past Saturday. If it does, it looks like it will have to be done entirely on the road in the playoffs as Indy has one of the worst records of all of the eastern conference playoff teams.

One last thing. The #RennieOut birds are out again, so I will reiterate that I don't think this will ever happen after this season. Particularly after a COVID shortened season where the team will still be able to win 50% of their games if they get the win on Saturday. I went back to the USL Championship 2020 Record Book (which covers teams through the 2019 season). Coach Rennie's overall record for the club ranks near the Top 10 for all coaches who have been at a club for more than 2 years (I admit I could have missed a couple, but I think I was fairly comprehensive in my evaluation). Unless he gets caught saying something racist, homophobic, sexist, etc., put in jail, or finds another job on his own, I fully expect that the #RennieOut crowd better get used to him being here at least one more year.

  • Luke Spencer / Paolo Del Piccolo / George Davis IV (LCFC) 66.7% (This was only one season, but I had to include it here because LCFC had 3 player/coaches and still won 2/3 of their games. That's damn impressive.)
  • Rick Schantz (Phoenix) 65.3%
  • John Hackworth (LCFC) 55.75%
  • Preki (Sacramento) 54.1%
  • Patrice Carterton (Phoenix) 53.0%
  • James O'Conner (LCFC) 52.4%
  • Ian Russell (Reno) 51.0%
  • Bob Lilley (Pittsburgh) 50%
  • John Wolyniec (NYRBII) 48.1% overall (70% in 2016)
  • Simon Elliott (Sacramento) 48.6%
  • Martin Rennie 47.25% overall (including 2020 to date)
  • Stuart Campbell (Tampa Bay) 44.1%
  • Mike Anhaeuser (Charleston) 42.7% 
  • Paul Buckle (Sacramento) 42.4%
  • Darren Powell (San Antonio) 40.8%

The Game Beckons Game Ball
This game's Game Beckons Game Ball is going to go to two players. Andrew Carleton and Ilija Ilic. Their vision and creativity were on a different level for this game and it's a shame that some of their passes and effort weren't rewarded. We've seen promise from Moon and Rafanello, but seeing both Ilic and Carleton on the field together for 24 minutes makes we wish that we could see more of what they could do with more time.


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