Saturday, March 26, 2022

Indy Eleven vs Louisville City FC - 09.03


- Opponent: Louisville City FC
- Location: Lynn Family Stadium
- Attendance: 8,551
- Final Score: 1-1 D

- Starting XI: Panicco, Rebellon, Jerome, Cochran (C), Timmer, Ingram, Brown, Law, Fjeldberg, Briggs, Pinho
- Substitutions: Michael 73' (Pinho); Ouimette 89' (Fjeldberg); Ault 90'+6' (Briggs)
- Unused: Trilk, Iaccino, Revolorio, Warhaft

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Pinho 22' (assist Law)
LOU - Totsch 53' 

- Bookings:
IND - Timmer 35' (Yellow)
LOU - Ownby 85' (Yellow)
IND - Briggs 86' (Yellow)
LOU - Dia 89' (Yellow)

- Referee: Eric Tattersall
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

With a loss tonight, Indy would have started the season with 0 wins and 3 losses. El Paso lost an absolute crazy game on Wednesday to start their season with 0 wins and 3 losses, two of which were at the fortress they call Southwest University Park. A trip to Louisville was starting to look like the hiring of Coach Lowry wasn't benefitting either team. At least this early in the season, both teams sit near the bottom of their respective tables, and unfortunately, until tonight, Indy looked like they belong there. The good news for Indy fans is that, as they indicated on the telecast, Lowry's first two seasons at El Paso were also slow starts. While Indy picked up a much needed point tonight, the three games are still a long way from the optimism we all felt just a few weeks ago. 

A draw on the road in Louisville in the first game of the 2022 iteration of the Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest series is something to build upon though, particularly given the number of players that were unavailable for this game. Starters Hackshaw and Powder were out with Trinidad & Tobago, and Arteaga and Ayoze continue to be out with a knee and ankle injury, respectively. While the second half of the game was tilted more towards Indy's defensive side, the first half had a much better showing from Indy on their ability to put Louisville under pressure than we saw throughout any part of the Loudoun or Tampa Bay games. 

Louisville came into this game getting 9 points from their first 3 games, having not conceded a goal yet this year. Indy's goal in the 22nd minute was a result of Indy attacking, and attacking in numbers. When the series begins, Indy had both forwards and three of the four midfields going forward, with Ingram quickly following behind the play, against just two Louisville defenders (more did manage to make their way back by the end of the play). Fjeldberg's cross was not ideal, but because Indy was attacking with so much pace, Bone was at a dead-sprint towards his own goal and couldn't get much on his clearance, which went directly to Brown. Brown quickly found Law, with Bone out of position. Then Law abused Bone further with the fake cross with his right foot, bringing it back to his left for the cross in front of goal that Pinho latched onto with his diving header. This was the kind of attacking football that I thought we would see.

Indy nearly doubled their lead eleven minutes later after Law managed to get his foot to a clearance from Bone that ricocheted into the middle of the pitch and Fjeldberg. With Louisville's defense slightly out of position after the ricochet, Fjeldberg immediately turned towards Louisville's goal and put one in the upper corner that Morton managed to push just enough to get the ball to bounce off the cross bar. 

Louisville made some adjustments after halftime and Indy found themselves defending much more in the second half, but it was a scramble on a Louisville corner kick in the 53rd minute that found Totsch, who made no mistake of putting it into the back of the goal. At that point, momentum clearly felt to be on Louisville's side, but Indy settled back into the game again and managed to thwart Louisville's frequent pushes forward. Including another scramble on a corner kick where Panicco didn't get a good punch to the ball and second half substitute, and recent signing, Michael managed to get a boot to the ball as it bounced towards goal, only to kick the ball up into the bottom part of the cross bar and back out off of Cochran's shoulder. Despite pleas from the Louisville players and fans, it looked like the correct no-call to me. 

Given the way Indy looked in their first two games, this draw in Louisville feels like a win. It moves Indy off of the bottom of the table, if only just barely, to give the team and fans some confidence moving forward. After three games, Indy finally come home to The Mike next week for their first home game of the season against LA Galaxy II, and then get a quick turnaround for an Open Cup game on Tuesday against Saint Louis City SC 2. Getting a point tonight against Louisville is going to make those games a little less stressful.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

In contract to the past two games, I think I could actually give the Game Beckons Game Ball to a couple players. Obviously I could give it to Law because he was mentioned a couple times in my recap and 4 chances created. Brown was worthy because of his presence in the attack and defense. Timmer has been moved all over the starting lineup recently as needed due to the injuries and suspensions and has been great. However, given that Indy hadn't scored a goal before tonight, I think I'll give tonight's GBGB to Pinho. His movement to stay onside as Law abused Bone was absolutely vital to the Indy goal. Indy needed to see the ball go into the goal and Pinho provided that tonight.

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