Thursday, July 14, 2022

Indy Eleven vs Minnesota Aurora - 01.13 (Playoffs)


- Opponent: Minnesota Aurora FC
- Location: TCO Stadium
- Attendance: 6,200
- Final Score: 2-1 L

- Starting XI: Wood, Chatterton, Bahr, McCarthy (Ro) (C), Smith, Rogers, McLaughlin, Cherry, Chester, Soderstrom, Williams

- Substitution: Leonard 45' (McLaughlin); Johnson 70' (Chester); Bulatovic 73' (Smith); Sochacki 82' (Leonard)

- Unused: Beard, Gajdobranski, Isger, Ware, Lindley (AND if I go by the USL W Match Center... Foulk, Lynch, Dean, MacNab, Marin, Barnett, Kraszula, Dewey, Phillips, Reason, Koger, McMahon, Soderstrom (Susan), and McCarthy (Ra)... the league is nothing if not consistent in their randomness of how things are documented...)

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Rogers 34' (assist Cherry)
MN - Turner 50' (assist Rapp)
MN - Inokawa 68' (Penalty Kick)

- Bookings:
IND - Cherry 69' (Yellow)
MN - Bennett 73', 90' +2' (Yellow/Yellow - RED)
IND - Chatterton 79' (Yellow)

- Referee: ??
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

I had hoped that I wouldn't have to write one of these; a post-game assessment of a loss by the women's team. It took all the way to unlucky game number 13 to do it, but the women were finally on the wrong end of a final scoreboard, losing 2-1 on the road to an undefeated Minnesota Aurora FC team. It's a shame that two of the three undefeated teams in the league played each other in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, but given the nature of the league, travel has to be limited. Yet, as a biased spectator, Indy didn't deserve to have their season finish on the road in the first game of the playoffs after going undefeated in the regular season.

Further, as a biased spectator, Indy was the better team tonight. The 6,200 fans in attendance may dispute me, but Indy dominated the first half. Indy was the better team, it was just that the team didn't get some of their normally electric effort to pay off. 

We saw it one other time this year with Soderstrom. She and Maddy Williams are human. They can miss penalty kicks. I don't know her that well, but I think Williams will tell you that she should have done better on her penalty kick attempt in the 25th minute. Maybe. But when the goalkeeper has already taken a good-sized step in the right direction before Maddy ever kicks the ball, the odds start to move more towards the keeper. Yet, even after the miss, it still felt like Indy's game. Rogers' goal in the 34th minute was the goal that Indy had been working toward all half. These were two high scoring teams and Minnesota wasn't going to go down easily, so Indy lone goal at that point didn't feel like it would be enough, nor that it would be their last. 

The second half just didn't go the way it was planned. An early goal after halftime. Then the slowest penalty kick in the history of soccer snuck by Wood's outstretched arms. After that, Minnesota just had to keep everything in front of them, blast the ball back across the halfway line when all else failed, and fall down at the slightest of touches. The refereeing reminded me of the difference between the refereeing in the Big Ten basketball season versus the refereeing in the other league's around the country. The physicality that was allowed in the Great Lakes Division was apparently more than what was allowed in the Heartland Division, and Indy doubled their season total of yellow cards in a single game, as Cherry and Chatterton picked up cards late in the half.

I don't know how to end this, and I hope to have some future women's team content soon. This is my ninth season writing recaps and opinions about Indy Eleven. I can honestly say that I have started to wonder whether I wanted to do it any longer. However, having the chance to write about this group of women has rekindled that desire to write. This is a special group that Coach Dolinsky put together and they deserved to go out with at least one more game in front of their home fans. Sometimes it just doesn't work out that way, but I can't wait to support the next iteration of this team next year.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Not today. No single player is getting the GBGB. I want it to go to the entire team for this game. The entire team deserves it for the game and for the season that provided Indy fans. Thanks!

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