Thursday, April 27, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Columbus Crew - 2023 U.S. Open Cup


- Opponent: Columbus Crew
- Location: Field
- Attendance: 2,000ish
- Final Score: 0-1 L

- Starting XI: Oettl, Rissi, Jerome, Vazquez, Dambrot, Lindley (C), Blake, Quinn, Robledo, Martinez, Tejada

- Substitution:  Guenzatti 66’ (Tejada); Asante 80’ (Robledo); Boudadi 80’ (Martinez); Rebllon 80’ (Dambrot)

- Unused: Trilk, Diz Pe

- Scoring Summary:
CLB - Farsi 83’ (assist Moreira)

- Bookings:
IND - Vazquez 88’ (Yellow)
CLB - Degenek 90'+ (Yellow)

- Referee: -
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

I'm not sure what Paul Lowry* could have done differently in this U.S. Open Cup game against the MLS's Columbus Crew. Indy Eleven defended, and generally defended well, for the majority of the game. Paul Lowry*, seemingly, didn't go into the game against Columbus with the same kind of game plan that he has been employing this season during the league games, which is possess, possess, possess, and try to find a seam in the defense to get a goal. I wouldn't call it a full Lowry Bunker (TM), but the team looked to be more content to defend, defend, defend, and counter at appropriate times. 

Unfortunately, Columbus just looked like a better, faster team. When the team did try to counter, Columbus' defenders were more than capable enough, and faster than the Indy forwards, to quickly squash the Indy opportunities, which weren't very many. All of Indy's players defended well enough to take the game to the late minutes in a scoreless fashion, but the one time that both the defenders and Oettl failed to make a stop in the same play, CLB's Farsi put the home team up and sent Indy Eleven home.

Despite continuing to have a short bench due to the recent injury to Fjeldberg (a toe injury that will likely keep him out for a few weeks) and the unspecified disappearance of Torres (that I questioned after the Monterey game could be an impending loan/trade), Coach Paul Lowry* was able to rotate a few players and get some minutes for guys that are returning from injuries. Indy's U.S. Open Cup failures are consistent from season to season and from coach to coach, and lower division teams beating MLS teams doesn't happen very often, so Paul Lowry* isn't going to get fired for a 1-nil loss to Columbus. Indy fans can be disappointed the team has never won more than one game in a season in the tournament, but Indy's recent league struggles are probably more worrisome at the moment. A quick turnaround game against Pittsburgh at home concerns me more than a loss to the Columbus Crew on the road.

 Indy return to Carroll Stadium on Saturday to play the Riverhounds in an attempt to stop the losing streak, which now sits at 3 in a row in league play and 4 in a row in all competitions. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Many times, people have the tendency to say, "if it wasn't for the play of [insert goalkeeper's name here], this game would have been a lot worse." That's why teams play with 10 field players and a goalkeeper and not just 10 players. Defenders would play a completely different style of game if there wasn't a goalkeeper behind them. Against Columbus, Indy went with the crazy tactic of playing with all 11 players. That 11th player, Oettl, played a stellar game, making a total of 7 saves on 8 shots on target. In a game where Indy defended for large stretches of the game, the defenders were inclined to have some mistakes, and Oettl was there nearly every time to keep the mistakes from turning into goals.

* Chris Doran, a professional play-by-play guy for the Columbus Crew, and a recent guest on Soccer Saturday with Greg Rakestraw, repeated called Mark Lowry by the name of Paul Lowry. I realize we're all prone to mistakes, but it further exacerbates a real or imagined perception that MLS teams (their fans, owners, commentators, sponsors, or definitely casual soccer fans, etc.) consider USL teams to be just barely above your local rec league team. I think Doran knows, and should do, better. So I perpetuated his mistake as a joke here.

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