Sunday, August 22, 2021

Indy Eleven vs Sporting Kansas City II - 08.20


- Opponent: Sporting Kansas City II
- Location: Children's Mercy Park
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 1-1 D

- Starting XI: Farr, Ouimette (C), Cochran, Hackshaw, Koffie, Gutjahr, Seagrist, Moon, Law, Vassel, Hamilton
- Substitutions: Wild 60' (Vassell); Timmer 61' (Gutjahr); Arteaga 73' (Hamilton); Sissoko 73' (Koffie); Ayoze 82' (Seagrist)
- Unused: Dick, Ayoze, Buckmaster

- Scoring Summary:
SKCII - Harris 40' (assist Pierre)
IND - Hamilton 51'

- Bookings:
IND - Hamilton 58' (Yellow)
SKCII - Barber 65' (Yellow)
IND - Seagrist 69' (Yellow)
SKCII - Dia 88' (Yellow)

- Referee: Greg Dopka
- Adage goals: One

Thoughts and Opinions

In Indy's second game in a three-game stretch where they play the team that currently sits at the bottom of their respective division, the Eleven needed to shake off the horrible 4-1 result against Loudoun United, the worst (by record) team in the league. With 7 of the 8 Central Division teams playing today instead of yesterday, a lot of movement was available in the table for a Sunday afternoon game. Given that 5 of the 8 teams were within 4 points of each other before the start of the games, with 3 (including Indy) sitting at the same point total on the playoff line, the chance to remain in a playoff spot was important. Sidenote: How Indy is even close to the playoff line after their run of games is amazing. As somebody on Twitter indicated, "maybe the Central Division isn't that good." With the exception of maybe Louisville...

So a win was vital; maybe more vital than the Loudoun game since today's game was against a divisional opponent. Albeit, a divisional opponent 8 points behind them and 2 games ahead of them. Making it all that more important to get points from teams that they should beat.

It was notable that the SKCII starting lineup had 8 players on loan from the parent club. Indy has struggled with USL teams, much less one that is composed mostly of MLS level players. As a result, Indy spent the majority of the first half on the back foot, much of it defending in their own half. 

Indy did have a good chance on goal in the 8th minute after a cross from Seagrist found Hamilton just near the penalty spot that Pulskamp managed to get a hand on and smothered. Eight minutes later from that, Indy had a nearly similar chance of Seagrist to Hamilton, who headed it wide.

First Half Average Position
Then it became a game in the middle of the field with both teams trying to keep possession, but not much coming from it for either team. The final third for each team looked to be a struggle until the hydration break in the 31st minute. After the hydration break, SKCII put themselves ahead in the 40th minute when the Indy defense played their "olé" defense and watched a cross come all the way across the box to an unmarked Harris.

Indy started the second half with more pressure than they showed in the first half and an extra effort from Moon (no surprise there) took a ball from a SKCII defender that made its way to Law who decided to take a shot on goal from an acute angle. Unlike his effort in the first half with Hamilton's shot, Pulskamp was able to get a hand on it, but not keep it under control and the rebound went straight to Hamilton who easily put it in the goal from inside the six-yard box.

Indy's finishing touch in the second half was lacking, otherwise Indy would have been ahead by a couple of goals. And it was a lack of finishing in the final seconds that prevented Indy from leaving Kansas City with three points. 

This result feels exactly like what we have come to expect from this Indy squad. Give up a goal right before halftime, find an equalizer, but unable to finish off teams through an inability to finish their chances. Even when they have a numbers advantage and beat the keeper in the final seconds of the game. 

As I've said before, there are glimpses from this team that make you think they are going to turn the corner with the talent that is on the roster. Yet, those glimpses don't seem to lead to enough goals for themselves or prevent enough goals from the opposition. My heart wants to believe this is a playoff team, but my brain says that it just isn't going to happen. Going into the Loudoun game, I thought a win streak would be possible given the opposition, but Indy has started this three game stretch with a 0W-1D-1L and at no point in the two games did I think they were the team most likely to win. 

Indy heads home on Saturday to face Real Monarchs to try and put at least one win in their win column against the last place teams in their divisions. At this point, I'm not optimistic that will happen, and because of other results on Sunday, Indy once again find themselves looking up at the playoff line rather than moving up away from it.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

I think I'm going to give this one to Patrick Seagrist. He had Law type numbers in this game, and I've clearly stated this year what I think of Law. Seagrist's effort, particularly in the heat, was impressive and his crosses nearly led to two goals. In one of the only times I can ever think I've thought this, when Seagrist was subbed out FOR AYOZE, I thought to myself, "I'm not sure about that substitution." That's how highly I thought of Seagrist's performance in this game.

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