Sunday, May 22, 2022

Indy Eleven vs New York Red Bulls II - 09.10


- Opponent: New York Red Bulls II
- Location: Carroll Stadium
- Attendance: 6,217
- Final Score: 2-0 W

- Starting XI: Panicco, Hackshaw (C), Jerome, Timmer, McQueen, Brown, Ingram, Powder, Aguilera, Fjeldberg, Arteaga
- Substitution: Pinho 79' (Fjeldberg); Asante 79' (Powder); Michael 85' (Aguilera); Cochran 90'+3' (Arteaga) 
- Unused: Trilk, Ault, Law 

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Own Goal 30' (Castillo)
IND - Fjeldberg 42' (assist Powder)

- Bookings:
NYRBII - Williams 37' (Yellow)
IND - Powder 45' (Yellow) 
NYRBII - Rafanello 73' (Yellow)

- Referee: Kevin Fikar
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

After six games without a loss, Indy went to Memphis last week and came home without any points, falling by a score of 2-1. With Indy trying to bring back the fortress aspect of The Mike, a return to home cooking against the last place team in the conference is what Indy wanted to get the Memphis loss out of their memory. However, this is a New York Red Bulls II team that has played well, but has let teams score late goals against them. When you’re playing a team that has struggled to get results, and is desperate to turn good games into good results, it’s good to try and get ahead of them early so that you get in their heads that you have no intention of winning/tying it late. Indy tried to do just that with some early shots and the early control of the action, but couldn’t get on the board. 

Within the first 15 minutes, Indy controlled the game, but NYRBII had a few good opportunities, all of which could be argued were against the run of play. The next fifteen minutes felt more even as NYRBII appeared to have weathered the initial effort from Indy. The Eleven were still getting chances, but it was more equitable between the two teams. Sometimes, as the game starts to have that swing in momentum, you’ll take whatever advantage you can. In the 30th minute, Indy was awarded for their early efforts with an own goal against NYRBII's Mullings from a long throw from Hackshaw. With the ball in the air, Arteaga gave Mullings a slight bump that put Mullings just slightly in a different spot than he would have preferred. As a result, the ball skipped off his head and between the post and Chan.

It may not be a glamourous way to get a lead, but as Coach Lowry put it after the game, "so the long throw, it works. When you put the ball in the box, things happen. So we'll take that goal, we'll take any type of goal." Hackshaw's ability with long throws is its own weapon for the team, from both a long throw from the corner flag and from an attacking effort to avoid an offside call. 
"I'm a big proponent of the long throw. ... I would love to get one from both sides because I think they just generate pressure and they make the other team have to defend away from their goal. ... I think we'll see a couple more goals this season from those things." 

As the half wound down, Fjeldberg doubled Indy's lead after Powder led him perfectly behind the NYRBII defense, but not in a place where Chan could have come off his line to get to it before Fjeldberg. Fjeldberg calmly slotted the ball to his right and Indy went into the locker room in the driver's seat. 

With cloudy skies developing in the west and the abandonment rules potentially looming again, a third goal by Indy was going to have an effect on how the teams played. Which is why it was worrisome for Indy when NYRBII had a sitter that was pushed wide of the goal in the 46th minute. Panicco did just enough to make it a difficult shot with a very small window, but the 2-0 lead nearly went down the drain before the guys picked up a post-halftime sweat.

While the chances for Indy slowed in the second half, Indy generally felt to be in control for the majority of it. What if I told you that tonight was the first time all season that Indy won the possession battle? Not by much, but Indy had more possession, and had it in dangerous spots. 

We're starting to see Indy's ability on display. "We're getting there. We're not where we need to be yet, but we're in the right direction. We just can't lose games like we did last weekend." Indy’s interplay in the second half was crisp, providing them with opportunities to get through and around the quick pressing of the NYRBII players. This was one of the first games this season where I felt Indy's talent was on full display and that the players look to be getting in sync with each other. I can think of just a couple of unforced errors where guys weren't on the same page with their passes.

The other thing that I noticed and Coach mentioned in the post-game was Indy's ability to take multiple bites at the proverbial apple. So many times before, Indy will have a shot and just a single shot. Tonight, corner kicks were being recycled back into the box, players were getting to deflections, etc. Coach described them as waves of attacks.

"So it was good to see us get those waves of attacks. Against Memphis, I thought we played well, we went forward, we got a shot and we didn't move up behind the ball. So when they cleared it, they kind of just carried up themselves and now we were defending. So we worked this week, yeah we're going to go forward and when we go forward, we gotta join each other so if they clear it, if we lose it, we're there to get a second, third, or fourth chance. You saw that tonight. ... Tonight, they showed that they learned."

Indy is still not fully healthy. Rebellon and Briggs are the only ones listed on the Injury Report, but Pinho is dealing with a knee injury that is keeping him from full fitness. Law was on the bench, but is dealing with a calf issue. Ayoze tweaked his hamstring during the week. Asante is barely match fit at this point. Let all of that sink in on how deep this team is that all of those guys can be dealing with some level of injury and the team is still competing and winning.

Indy return to The Mike next Saturday for a Memorial Day weekend game against New Mexico United, with a 4:00 PM start time. Having been born in New Mexico myself, I'm looking forward to this game. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball
The goal that didn't count, but look at Chan's face.
I jokingly want to give this to Hackshaw's Throw-In, but Fjeldberg deserves this game's GBGB. As it was, he finished the game with one goal, but looked like he could have had a couple more, including one that was called off (Cue the Premature Smoke) for being barely offside. Fjeldberg is one of the guys on this team whose motor is non-stop (Aguilera and Ingram are two more) and being able to see the ball go in during each of the last two games is going to provide some confidence moving forward. Fjeldberg gets whistled for a lot of offside calls, but that's because he's constantly on the edge of the defenders, forcing them into trapping decisions. Tonight, he beat that trap perfectly and outraced the defenders to the ball for his goal. 

Additional Photos (Courtesy of @DLTPhotog)

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