Sunday, August 15, 2021

Indy Eleven vs OKC Energy FC - 08.18


- Opponent: OKC Energy FC
- Location: Carroll Stadium
- Attendance: 5,999
- Final Score: 2-1 W

- Starting XI: Farr, Buckmaster, Ouimette, Cochran, Hackshaw, Sissoko, Gutjahr, Ayoze (C), Law, Wild, Arteaga
- Substitutions: Seagrist (Ayoze 72'); Vassell (Sissoko 72')
- Unused: Dick, Hamilton, Liu, Malic, Revolorio

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Law 26' (assist Arteaga)
OKC - Batista 37' (assist Wynne)
IND - Arteaga 53' (assist Law)

- Bookings:
IND - Sissoko 10' (Yellow)
OKC - Adekoya 45' (Yellow)
IND - Arteaga 90'+3' (Yellow)
IND - Wild 90'+4' (Yellow)

- Referee: Joshua Encarnación
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Let's be honest, a win doesn't change everything immediately. Indy is still mired in a very crowded middle of the Central Division table and just outside of the playoffs. Despite Farr's return to the lineup, Columbus Crew loanee Eric Dick was still in the 18 because Bobby Edwards is on the Injury Report. Speaking of the Injury Report, Haworth is finally off of it, but Timmer and Moon took his place. An issue of depth in the back became apparent when recent USL Academy signing Revolorio was included in the game's 18.

But damn a home win feels good.

The Indy Eleven players went nearly 3 months without celebrating a win with their fans and had just come off of a 6-2 drubbing from Atlanta United 2, that was described by interim coach Rogers as "embarrassing." So to find the goal twice and keep OKC from getting a second goal helps everybody get a little more confidence moving forward. With a very winnable game on Wednesday against a struggling Loudoun team (2W-1D-14L), Indy could see their first win streak since the end of May.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves though. 

This was a game of interim coach versus interim coach as OKC is also working on finding a permanent coach. Some of which could explain why the majority of the first half felt like it was mostly played between the 18-yard lines. Both teams went into the halftime locker with 2 shots on goal and a goal a piece, but there was also a lot of action in the middle and wings of the field that didn't lead to much. I've described Indy's success when they attack the middle of the field and Indy's first goal by Law was another example of that. Ayoze attacking the middle, to Arteaga in the middle, to Law in the box with a cheeky little chip over the keeper to put Indy ahead. It was gorgeous inter-play between three of Indy's best (and in Manu's case, maybe most energetic) players. Arteaga had another shot later in the game that followed the same script of Indy attacking the middle of the defense instead of the wings.

As far as OKC's goal from a corner kick, what can you do? Jordan Farr was blocked from getting to the ball and OKC's 6-foot 5-inch tall Batista outjumped everybody and put the ball on goal. Credit to them for signing a basketball player. Unrelated to the goal, Batista went over after the halftime whistle and talked crap to Arteaga who was sitting on the ground after being fouled (but not called), which the Indy bench didn't appreciate. As I watched them all walk off the field to the same spot, I noticed that Law was walking briskly behind, and towards, Batista. Once he caught up with him, Nicky slowed down and had a word with Batista, then gave him a quick fist bump to Batista's chest. I would love to know what Law said in that moment.

Indy's second goal early in the half resulted from a recycled ball from Law after a free kick. Law's class showing again as he put the ball in a location where the keeper couldn't get to it, but game his teammates a chance to do something with it, which Arteaga didn't spectacularly in the tiny little window he had between the post and the keeper. With the speed at which Arteaga was making his run, his head could have very easily been sent into the wrong side of the side netting, but luckily for Indy, the ball found the back of the goal just before Arteaga took out the advertisement signs behind the goal.

After Indy scored the second, I don't know if I could describe Indy's play as a complete bunker, but there was a drastic difference in possession between the two teams after that point. The average position of the starters for Indy was definitely skewed heavily towards OKC's goal. While Indy managed to out-shoot OKC after the goal (4 to 3), the average location of OKC's substitutes was well within Indy's defensive half of the field. Indy was just able to do more with their opportunities, with 6 of their 8 shots being on target and a blistering 75% shooting accuracy.

After Rogers made two of his five available subs at the 72nd mark, and despite having Hamilton on the bench and Arteaga frequenting the field in pain, Rogers didn't make another substitute. Felt like a Hoosiers "My team is on the floor" moment. I don't know why Rogers decided to not make anymore subs, but that was what popped into my head.

Indy celebrated with their fans. Smoke was cathartically released after the win. It may not solve all the issues, but a good solid win on a nice August nice certainly helps the confidence.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

I think I'm going to have to give this to the trio up top in Arteaga, Law, and Wild. The trio accounted for 5 of the team's 6 shots on target, both goals (and assists), and had 5 chances created between them. 

Additional Photos

Former Indy Eleven player Kyle Hyland during the pregame Cheers to Indy

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