Friday, July 1, 2022

Indy Eleven vs Detroit City FC - 01.10


- Opponent: Detroit City FC
- Location: Keyworth Stadium
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 3-0 W

- Starting XI: Wood, McCarthy (Ro) (C), Kraszula, Bahr, Isger, Dean, Chatterton, Rogers, Gajdobranski, Soderstrom, Williams

- Substitution: Johnson 57' (Gajdobranski); McCarthy (Ra) 62' (Williams); Sochacki 68' (Chatterton)

- Unused: Phillips

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Soderstrom 46' (unassisted)
IND - Soderstrom 52' (assist Isger)
IND - Williams 55' (assist Isger)

- Bookings:

- Referee: ??
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

As I pointed out on Twitter earlier this week, with 3 games left, Indy Eleven could clinch the Great Lakes division tonight with:
1) win + Midwest United loss (outright)
2) win + any MUFC result (IND w/tiebreaker)
3) draw + non win for MUFC (tiebreakers over MUFC & LOU)

Thanks to a 4-2 loss to Kings Hammer last night, Racing Louisville took themselves out of that equation for the playoffs, having no ability to get the wild card spot that is available to either the Great Lakes or Metropolitan divisions. With a 30 minute headstart for their game tonight against Flint City, we know that Midwest United kept themselves in the running for the top spot in the Great Lakes and a chance at the wild card spot with an 8-0 drubbing over Flint. HOWEVER, Indy took care of business tonight in Detroit and put another trophy into the Indy Eleven trophy case with a 3-0 win over Detroit City, and thereby securing the Great Lakes division title due to having (at a minimum since there are still 2 games remaining for each team) the head-to-head tiebreaker with Midwest United.

Indy had some fresh, never before announced, faces make the game day roster due to this being a league full of players that have other responsibilities. Luckily for Indy, their starting lineup looked very similar to what we've seen before, but with just a couple new names that were visible when the lineup was announced. Both players saw game time with Johnson coming into the game in the 57th minute and Sochaki coming into the game in the 68th minute. The Detroit City announcers called Johnson a "water bug" because she seemed to be everywhere and making good plays doing it.

Indy nearly went down early in the 4th minute as a result of a cross that was redirected off the crossbar. Fourteen minutes later and Indy had one of their own shots ring off the crossbar after the teams shared shots in what was an early back-and-forth affair that saw both teams have opportunities. However, Detroit was the more aggressive of the two teams in going forward, giving Indy very little time on the ball in the early part of the game. By the time the game reached the 30-minute mark, the pace had naturally settled and Indy began to see a little bit more of the ball, but Detroit was still the dominant side. Detroit looked like the team with nothing to lose and were quicker to the ball, and forced Indy into quick decisions on both offense and defense. Some of those decisions were often blasting it back towards the center circle to relieve pressure. I have to believe that the halftime talk from Dolinsky was to just settle down and play Indy's game. 

Within a minute of halftime, Soderstrom did exactly what we've come to expect from her. She makes defenders miss and puts shots into locations where goalkeepers can't reach it; which is exactly what she did in the 46th minute. After a first half that was mostly dominated by Detroit, Soderstrom's second goal in the 52nd minute and Williams' goal in the 55th minute came about because Indy took Detroit's script from the first half and made it their own. They were quick to press, they held possession, they attacked. Stifle your opponent and attack as soon as you can. That's the recipe that Detroit followed in the first half and the one that Indy followed in the second half. The difference was that Detroit was unable to make good on their opportunities, whereas Indy did so quickly in the second half. 

Once Indy stepped out of the locker room, their entire demeanor said, "we played like garbage the first half and that is not who we are. We are the leading team in one of the toughest divisions in the league." Forty-five minutes, and three goals later and they were officially the Great Lakes division champions, with two games remaining. Indy return to Grand Park on Sunday to play Kalamazoo and then play this same Detroit team again next Saturday as part of a Detroit doubleheader with the men's team. There are some good teams in this league (the League's Power Ranking has had Indy in the 5th spot for the past few weeks with McLean in the top spot), and I, admittedly, haven't watched all of them, but this team is setup to win games. Amazing goal scorers. A controlling midfield. A stout defense. An athletic goalkeeper. It's how you can win a division, and maybe, if Indy fans are lucky, the inaugural USL W League championship.

The Game Beckons Game Ball
We've reached the point where Indy players scoring a brace has become so common that Soderstrom isn't my Game Beckons Game Ball recipient. Indy have played 10 games and there have been 7 occurrences of players scoring at least two goals (3 braces from Soderstrom; a brace each from Bulatovic, McCarthy, and Williams; and the hat trick from Williams). Yet, tonight's goals doesn't secure the win without the defense from Robyn McCarthy on Kayla Addison. Addison is tall, fast, an excellent shooter, and the kind of forward that drives defenses crazy from her effort. So tonight's GBGB goes to the captain since McCarthy's effort on Addision is what helped keep Indy in the game through the first half.

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