Sunday, April 23, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Monterey Bay - 10.06


- Opponent: Monterey Bay 
- Location: Carroll Stadium
- Attendance: 10,038
- Final Score: 2-3 L

- Starting XI: Oettl, Boudadi, Vazquez, Dambrot, Rebellon, Lindley, Blake, Quinn, Fjeldberg, Asante, Guenzatti (C)

- Substitution:  Martinez 37’ (Fjeldberg - injury); Jerome 68’ (Boudadi); Robledo 68’ (Blake); Tejada 8’ (Quinn)

- Unused: Trilk

- Scoring Summary:
MB – Robinson 17’ (assist Dixon)
IND – Asante 23’ (assist Quinn)
IND – Guenzatti 40’ (assist Asante)
MB – Volesky 58’ (assist Doner)
MB – Yoske 63’ (assist Volesky)

- Bookings:
IND – Blake 45’+1’ (Yellow)
IND – Martinez 78’ (Yellow)
MB – Boone 85’ (Yellow)

- Referee: Greg Dopka
- Adage goals: One

Thoughts and Opinions

The last time Indy and Monterey Bay faced off last year, Indy was routed 5-nil, in far better weather conditions than what they teams dealt with today with temperatures in the 40s and a steady wind whipping from west to east across the field. Tonight’s game against Monterey Bay also marks Indy’s fourth game in a row against Western Conference competition and the third in a row against teams from California, with two more California teams to play during the remainder of the season. Indy finished this run of games against the opposite conference with a 0W-1D-3L record, scoring 2 goals against the competition's 7, meaning Indy will be looking forward to some Eastern Conference competition next week when Pittsburgh comes to Carroll Stadium just to face a team in their own conference.

Diz Pe and Rissi weren’t shown on the official match day injury report, but I found out that both are nursing hamstring issues. I’m also not sure why Indy only suited five subs with an upcoming game against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday and the game against Pittsburgh on Saturday. Notably missing from the game day lineup was Alann Torres who hasn't been on a game day lineup in a couple games. With a short bench tonight, I wonder if his absence means something is in the works for another loan. Indy came into the season with a roster rebuild designed around quality over quality, but a couple of injuries and an "unknown status" severely hampers Indy’s options off the bench, particularly after a late first half injury by Fjeldberg that forced a substitution before halftime.

Since the first game that Eleven have played in Carroll Stadium, fans have stopped their feet on the metal bleachers to make noise during the team’s corner kicks and set pieces with goal scoring chances. Tonight’s crowd took to the feet stomping tactic early in the game even when the team had the ball in their defensive third. Having not seen the team score a goal at home this season, and not having scored since the second game, Indy fans were getting restless so see some kind of positive result from the team’s possession advantage. Then Monterey Bay scored in the 17th minute, not really against the run of play, and Indy once again were chasing a game, and the noisemaking fans were left to wonder if Indy were going to ever find a goal.

Lindley showing how much it meant 
for the team to finally get a goal.
Fortunately for Indy fans, that chase didn’t last very long. Indy, on a set piece deep in their offensive third (basically a short corner, which is how Indy scored their goal against Detroit), scored when Quinn put a ball between the 6-yard line and the penalty spot that Asante redirected into the opposite corner away from Herrera. Not too many games ago, I questioned why Asante was in the wall on opponent free kicks, and he yet he has continued to show he can get to set piece headers on the opposite end of the field. At 5’-5” tall, that has to be good positioning, because he shouldn’t be able to out-jump most defenders. He did indicate that he's been working on that part of his game. Of being better at finding the pockets of space to give him  the best chance of getting a head to it.

Indy spent much more of the first half in their own defensive half, with the Crisp and Kelp (seriously…it’s their nickname) holding the rare possession advantage against Indy for the majority of the half (Indy squeaked into a modest advantage by the end of the half). A well-timed break and an inch perfect pass from Asante allowed Guenzatti to open his scoring tally for Indy in the 40th minute. Prior to this game, Indy had dominated possession with nothing to show for it. In the first half of this game, Indy had less possession, but went into the locker room with a 2-1 advantage. Proving, once again, that possession is only as good as the finishing touch, which was markedly improved in the first half compared to recent games.

The second half started with both teams trying to take control of the game, with neither team succeeding very much. There were a lot of rough tackles in the midfield and lost possession. Yet it was Monterey Bay who found their equalizer goal in the 58th minute from a break through the center of the pitch. Just five minutes later, Oettl sent a line drive pass up the field that Monterey Bay intercepted, and quickly attacked. A couple of passes later, and a shot to Oettl’s left slide found Indy once again chasing a game to get a positive result suddenly down 3 - 2. 

Another five minutes later, and Tejada found himself as the lone remaining substitute available warming up (not counting Trilk) after Coach Lowry brought in Jerome and Robledo to inject some fresh legs. Tejada eventually found his way into the game in the 85th minute, expending all Indy’s field player substitutes, but to no avail as Indy fell to Monterey Bay to extend the early season losing streak to three games.

Seriously, does Indy really have to play another California team this year?

The good news is that Indy didn't get blanked and shutout this year by a 5 goal differential against roughly the same squad, personal wise, that beat them last year. The other good news is that Indy finally saw the ball go behind the opposing goalkeeper twice. The bad news is that Oettl dug three balls out of his own goal to negate Indy's successes. 

On a cold April night, the chances of Indy working out of this stretch looks just as cold. Indy play Pittsburgh next week at home, followed by a Loudoun team that is currently in a playoff position on the road, and then a currently undefeated Sacramento team. Unless Indy can figure out a way to get a win next weekend against Pittsburgh (not counting what might happen on Wednesday in Columbus in the U.S. Open Cup game), Indy's most talented team on paper is going to reach a dubious failure distinction. Despite some of the unsuccessful teams and rough stretches Indy has had over the years, there have only been three times that Indy have had >3 game losing streaks. The first was in the Spring season of the 2014 inaugural year. The second was in 2019. The third was, obviously, last year's deep depression, which had two separate runs of >3 losses. This team does not want to join that group.

Oh, and one more thing. Indy's successful games this season? A draw against a 1W-2D-3L Tampa, a win against a 1W-1D-5L Detroit, and a draw against a 0W-4D-0L Las Vegas Lights. All teams sitting below the playoff line, or in the case of Las Vegas, at the bottom of the table.Indy needs some good wins, and they need them soon.  [Update: after the games on Sunday, all four of these teams are at the bottom of their respective tables. LV at the bottom of the Western Conference; Indy, Tampa Bay, & Detroit (in that order) at the bottom of the Eastern Conference

The Game Beckons Game Ball

He looked like the Asante we expected to see when he signed with Indy last year. A goal and an assist, some good crosses, some good shots. He was honest during the post-game press conference where he looked like he was absolutely freezing. Solo gets the GBGB.
"I think we lost concentration, and in these games, you cannot slip. Coach told us any time there's a free kick, any time there's a throw in, anything like that, we need raise the concentration. But I think we didn't do it and we lost concentration. ... I feel so sad. I feel so bad. Playing at home and then losing at home. Our families are here. Our fans. I feel so bad, but we are going to try our best to rectify the mistakes and come back stronger."

Additional Photos (Don Thompson Photography)

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