Thursday, September 1, 2022

Indy Eleven vs Louisville City FC - 09.26


- Opponent: Louisville City FC
- Location: Carroll Stadium
- Attendance: 8,275
- Final Score: 2-10 W

- Starting XI: Trilk, Dambrot, Vazquez, Jerome, Timmer, Hackshaw (C), Asante, Ingram, Aguilera, Tejada, Pinho
- Substitution: McQueen 45’ (Timmer – injury); Rivera 71’ (Aguilera); Michael 78’ (Tejada); Ayoze 90’+1’ (Asante)

- Unused: Lewis, Revolorio, Sanchez

- Scoring Summary:
LOU – Serrano 8’ (assist Dia)
IND – Pinho 28’ (unassisted)
IND – Pinho 78’ (Penalty Kick)

- Bookings:
IND – Pinho 12’ (Yellow)
LOU – Mogel 13’ (Yellow)
LOU – Gonzalez 24’ (Yellow)
IND – Dambrot 45’+6’ (Yellow)
LOU – Charpie 57’ (Yellow)
IND – Hackshaw 68’ (Yellow) – will miss the game against Detroit due to yellow card accumulation
IND – Ingram 85’ (Yellow)

- Referee: Elvis Osmanovic
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

In a week where Indy plays the number one team in the Western Conference and the number one team in the Eastern Conference before going to Keyworth Stadium to play Detroit City, the breaking of a 12-game losing streak looked difficult. Getting the win against San Antonio in the first game of the stretch meant that Indy could continue to focus on improving and getting better results without the added weight of not having won a game since June. However, between the Injury Report and Sam Brown’s suspension due to yellow card accumulation, which totaled 7 players (Arteaga, Ayoze, Briggs, Cochran, Meredith, Lewis, & Brown), the plan to rotate players took a little bit of a hit, but Coach Lowry was able to get a few changes as Ingram, Pinho, Timmer, and Vazquez found their way back into the starting lineup. The bench looked a little younger, and even though Ayo was shown on the Injury Report, but was listed as available off the bench and made a brief appearance at the end of the game.

The fact that Louisville City were also coming off a game on Saturday, at least both teams came in with the same amount of lack of rest. Louisville’s loss on Saturday to Miami FC meant that LOU came into Carroll Stadium motivated to get that result out of their system. Indy’s win against San Antonio meant that Indy came into Carroll Stadium motivated to prove that the result against SA was a trend towards better results and not just an “on any given night, any team can beat any team,” kind of result. Throw a blanket of LIPAFC over the entire thing, and the home fans and the traveling LOU fans were ready to see an exciting game despite the teams' two drastically different locations in the table. 

What fans saw was everything they hoped it would be. A good game that was competitive from start to finish. 

The start to the game was a back-and-forth affair with both teams getting some spells of possession and reasonable attacks. That all changed in the 8th minute, when a deflection off of Hackshaw allowed the ball to continue up the field, where Dia tracked the ball down and sent in a cross that Serrano flicked past Trilk to open the scoring. "The first ten minutes, we were a little late on things, a little hesitant. They got a little bit of rhythm, we really couldn't get going. ... They got the goal. That kind of woke us up and from there, we started to implement the plan a little bit better."

After that, the yellow cards also started flying and the field tilted towards LOU’s offensive side of the field for a little bit longer. LOU was intent on pressing Indy’s backline with every single touch in hopes that it would spring the attack. For a stretch, as much as it helped, it also led to LOU being called offside a total of 6 times in the first half alone. LOU played right on the edge with their offense, with Indy toying with disaster each time. Those offside calls and Indy's defense after the LOU goal limited LOU to just two shots in the first half, both before the goal. Louisville didn't have another shot until after halftime. Indy actually put more shots on target than LOU. When was the last time that was the case?

Hustle and Effort.

That should be Indy’s unofficial motto at this point in the season. Whatever happens in the results column, hustle and effort should dominate how the rest of this season is judged. With that in mind, Pinho’s goal in the 28th minute was all of that personified. He hustled to a ball that looked like a ball he shouldn’t be able to get to, hustled to the next ball after the mishit from Soler, and then hustled and provided Deadpool level “maximum effort” to get to the ball before the LOU defenders. With the game all square again, Indy looked like they had grown into the game, were competing again, and tilted the field towards their offensive end. All because of hustle and effort.

Both teams had solid opportunities within the first 5 minutes of the second half, but neither managed to get the ball past the opposing keepers. The second half started much the same way that the first half started. Both teams in a back-and-forth effort without either team truly exerting themselves against the other. Louisville continued their accrual of offside calls compiling another 5 in the second half for a total of 11. The game spent the middle part of the second half in an end-to-end affair. Only moderate opportunities resulted from all the running though, with both keepers making good saves when called upon.

Then more hustle and effort put the game within reach of an Indy win. Tejada’s effort created a penalty kick in the 77th minute, which was taken by Pinho, and sent to the left side of the goal. Despite Morton reading the kick the correct direction, he was unable to get to the ball. With Indy up a goal and time running out, the game tilted to Louisville again as they attempted to salvage a point from the game. Indy saw the game out with team defensive effort, and just enough possession to frustrate LOU. 

Look, Indy dug themselves a massive hole. If you want to get out of the hole, you have to stop digging. Indy did that once against Memphis and then started digging again until this past Saturday. A 12-game winless streak during the middle portion of the season creates an air of impossibility of making the playoffs. Yet, if you told me before this string of three games that Indy would come out of it with 6 points, I would have been pleased. The fact that Indy could, in theory, come out of this stretch with 7 or 9 points with a positive result in Detroit seems miraculous. While the playoffs still seem like a longshot, with the run of games that they have, and the run of games that Tulsa and Detroit have, for the first time in weeks, I thought to myself, "what if?" They have a lot of points to make up, and need a bunch of games to go their way, but "what if?" I didn't think two wins from San Antonio and Louisville was possible five days ago, but here we sit.

Hustle and Effort.

"They're showing that if you play with some heart and desire and hunger and passion, that can take you quite far. ... We wanted it more and the foundation of that can take you a long way. ... It feels great to win games, but it hurts sometimes physically to do that. So they're learning that it's not all fun out there. It's not easy. You can't just jog around and expect to win. You gotta fight. You gotta get hurt. You gotta put your body on the line. They did that and they got the result." - Lowry

How do you go to Detroit with a depleted bench, short rest, and with more guys leaving tonight's game with knocks than when you started the night?

"We gotta find a way. We'll have 11 players and those 11 players have to go out and use this momentum, use this confidence, and start the game in Detroit well. Dig deep, find a way to get it done. ... We're going to be tired. Even the guys that are technically not injured are going to be tired. We have to be true to who we are and what's made us successful the last two games. That's being aggressive, pressing, getting after it, and see if that can take us to through the 90 minutes. These two wins, this 6 points, may have come a little bit too late. Obviously it's still possible for us to be in the playoffs. We're never going to give that up. But, unfortunately, it's taken the guys this long to learn and figure out this is what it takes." - Lowry

I promise you, Coach talked during the post-game for a solid 8 minutes and he gives me confidence that this team is moving in the right direction. I doubt that it will be into the playoffs this year, but this is the most confident I have been talking to the Indy Eleven coaches over the years that this is the one that can take the team to the next step. With the gamut of injuries this team has had this season and the way that has limited the depth, Indy is going to gut out the rest of the season. In gaining some much needed confidence in the past two games, I now have more confidence that it's not just going to be surviving the end of the season, but actually getting some good results to try and end the season on a high note, even if not in the playoffs.

Coach has said that the team can compete against the top teams. They proved it to me the past two games with Hustle and Effort.

The Game Beckons Game Ball
It seems obvious when he scores a brace, but I'm giving Pinho the GBGB because it was his hustle and effort that sparked everything that came after it. Down a goal to the top team in the Eastern Conference, Indy could have rolled over and said, "here we go again." Pinho's hustle and effort that led to his first goal lit the fire under the rest of the team and pushed them over the line. It took a bunch of group defending, including from Pinho, late in the game to secure the victory, but it all started with Pinho's equalizing goal in the 28th minute.

Additional Photos (@DLTPhotog)

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