Sunday, May 30, 2021

Indy Eleven vs Louisville City FC - 08.04



- Opponent: Louisville City FC
- Location: Lynn Family Stadium
- Attendance: 10,731
- Final Score: 2-1 W

- Starting XI: Farr, Hackshaw (C), Cochran, Timmer, Koffie, Law, Moon, Ayoze, Vassell, Wild, Hamilton

- Substitutions: Arteaga 67' (Vassell); Sissoko 78' (Wild); Smith 90'+1' (Hamilton)

- Unused: Edwards, Gutjahr, Malic, Ouimette

- Scoring Summary:
LOU - Bone 45'
IND - Hamilton 63' (PK)
IND - Hamilton 89' (PK)

- Bookings:
LOU - Lancaster 11' (Yellow)
LOU - DelPiccolo 71' (Yellow)
IND - Seagrist 77' (Yellow)
LOU - Hubbard 88' (Yellow)

- Referee: Elijio Arreguin
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Since their inception, Indy Eleven have played 227 games across all competitions. Of those 227 games, Indy has played Louisville City 14 times. Of those 14 games, Indy has won just 3 games; once in June 2016 (a U.S. Open Cup game), once in May 2018, and as of last night, Indy added their third win. That amounts to 1,120 days since their last win in 2018. 

Let me repeat that for the ones in the back. Indy hadn't beat Louisville in 1,120 days. There's a reason it's more appropriate to describe this as a "geographical" rival, because anytime there are 3 years between victories, it's hard to describe it as a legit rivalry. 

Photo credit: EM Dash
In that timeframe, Indy's roster has seen some turnover, Louisville's roster less. In fact, from that game in May 2018, Indy's game day roster included just two players that were also on last night's game day roster; 
Ouimette and Farr. In contrast, Louisville's game roster included 6 players from that May 2018 game; Totsch, Davis IV, DelPiccolo, Lancaster, Souahy, and McCabe. One notable name missing from Louisville's lineup was Speedy Williams, who was replaced last night by former Indy Eleven player Tyler Gibson. Louisville lost a player and replaced them with Indy's Iron Man.

As I mentioned in my portion of Benton Newman's game preview, you know what to expect from Louisville. It's never a rebuild, it's a reload and Louisville have done that since the 2018 game by adding Gibson, Corben Bone, and Kyle Greig to name just a few. When Benton and I talked, he stated that "our ability to retain talent year over year has been the key ingredient to our success. It all starts from the top and I applauded our ownership and front office staff for being dedicated to creating a enjoyable and successful culture. The financial commitment towards the stadium and training complex has only made LouCity more attractive."

Louisville's consistency means that a majority of their players remember what has occurred in most of the recent LIPAFC matches, but that the Indianapolis players have no real understanding of what the game means to the fans. Not really anyway. When asked what it meant to snap the 10-game winless streak, even Rennie after the game was quoted as saying, "I’m not really that focused on that because it’s a new team, it’s a new group of players. It
’s 2021, it’s a new season. In life, if you focus too much on the past you miss the present moment and the future opportunities, so I’m not too much focused on what’s happened in the past." 

Photo credit: EM Dash
I have repeatedly said that it's hard to call it a rivalry when only one of the teams is winning and that if you want to be the King, you have to beat the King. Well, Indy finally beat the King. At least on the scoreboard. 

That, however, is about the only place that an objective observer can say that Indy won this game. Look up the stats. I don't have it in me to go through all of them. Some key ones though are that Louisville held a 65%-35% advantage in possession, an 18-5 advantage in shots, and was 12%-15% more efficient in their pass accuracy. The only place where Indy won was in penalty kicks, and if we're being honest (though I'm sure Louisville fans would disagree with me), there's an argument that there should have been one more of those for Indy. However, you would be hard-pressed to disagree with the two awarded penalty kicks and Hubbard was lucky to receive only a yellow for his foul and not a red since his actions stopped a clear scoring chance.

Others will tell you that the win is all that matters, and sometimes I'm one of them. Sometimes. Not this time.

Photo credit: EM Dash
Indy turned over the roster in ways we've never seen. They brought in talent, specifically to be more attack minded, because Indy had trouble scoring last year in ways that didn't involve Tyler Pasher. Arteaga, Hamilton, and Wild put that talent and eagerness to go forward on display last week against SKCII. For the moment, we'll assume that Vassell and Wild are interchangeable pieces in that attack so the change in that portion of the lineup isn't important, but from what I have seen so far, that isn't the case, despite Vassell's credentials. However, with that assumption, the Rennie Bunker (TM) looked to be in full effect again against Louisville from the start. Indy put all 11 guys behind the ball most of the time. They did not look like the possession-oriented, attack-minded team we saw last week. This was defense first, play-for-the-draw-on-the-road mentality that we've grown accustomed to seeing from a Rennie coached team. 

I want to celebrate this win. I do. But it doesn't feel like a step forward yet. It feels like a side step that maybe gets better later in the year after the guys have had more time to gel. Right now though, it feels like the little brother still trying to figure out how to beat the big brother or at least not look badly while trying. I'm hoping that the next meeting between the two teams plays out differently, but with the same result, because Indy have yet to score a run of play goal in a win against Louisville during its duration in the USL. 

It's hard to sound like a sore winner, but I'm sure that I have managed to do just that. I think I may just be tired about hearing how "we're going to play our game" and then watch my team play a bunkering style of play against the top team in the East when I just watched them play the exact opposite style of play against a 2 side. Maybe that is "their game" and they're able to adjust like a chameleon in a Disney movie, but why does the RB (TM) always seem to be present against the better teams in the league?

Yay, we won!

One last side note. It was a brief moment on screen, but after Hubbard was called for his foul on Arteaga and they were preparing for the penalty kick, there was a clear moment when you could tell that Arteaga and Hamilton were arguing about who was to take the kick. THAT'S the fire I want to see from our attacking players. It turned out fine for Indy fans, but I might have learned towards Arteaga taking the shot since Hamilton had just taken one against Hubbard and it made the chess match more difficult. I don't know who ultimately made the decision, but I love that there are multiple players wanting to be the one to take it. Yet, one of those fighting and wanting to take it sat on the bench for 67 minutes after scoring two goals in three games.

Well, there I go again.

Indy don't get to celebrate for long as they have a busy stretch as they come back home on June 2nd to face OKC and Memphis on June 5th, before wrapping the run on the road by facing former players Dylan Mares and Macca King with El Paso Locomotive, who made it to penalty kicks of the Western conference final last year. We're about to find out a lot about this team in the next week and a half.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Photo credit: EM Dash
I want to keep giving love to Law because he is quickly becoming my favorite player, but I have to give it to the back three today. While I dislike the RB (TM), I don't dislike how the guys that have to play it actually play it. I'm not sure why Ouimette has found the bench right now, but Timmer has been good in his place. Cochran seems to be coordinating the guys well, and Hackshaw has been, well, Hackshaw. So enjoy the GBGB boys. 

The Just Because I Want To Include It But Couldn't Find a Good Way Moment
Photo credit: EM Dash
Jordan Farr knows how to lower his shoulder to protect himself.

I don't know if that comes from training with Andy Swift or Jon Busch or Evan Newton, but that was good goalkeeping.

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