Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Kings Hammer - 02.03


- Opponent: Kings Hammer
- Location: Corcoran Field
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 1-0 W

- Starting XI: Edwards, Sexton, Watson, Bahr, Chatterton, Hershfelt, Rogers (C), Kraszula, Soderstrom, K., Chester, Lindley

- Substitution: Whitsett 45' (Kraszula); Kugler 62' (Sexton); Vanegas 72' (Lindley); Dewey, R. 72' (Chatterton); Houweling 78' (Chester); Hunt 78' (Soderstrom, K.)

- Unused: Reason

- Scoring Summary:
IND – Vanegas 76’ (unassisted)

- Bookings:

- Referee: ?
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Thanks to the camera microphone being able to capture every command, adjustment, and exasperation that came from the two coaches on the sideline (something Indy fans hope will be an impossibility when Indy Eleven play their home opener on June 2nd at Grand Park), the discussion of this game is going to be intermingled with the coach's commentary.
Several of Indy's players are familiar with the Xavier field, either because they played their home games there (Bahr, Dewey, R., Dewey, S, and Rogers) or they played away games there as part of the Big East conference. When you're playing your third straight road game to start the season, it's a nice benefit to have the game on a field that is familiar to the players, which was not the case for the St. Charles and Lexington games. 

"Addy, Addy, Addy!" and Watson sent a cross-field ball to Chester with space to run at the goal.

Soderstrom off the crossbar in the 4th minute from just outside the 18-yard box. This will be a reoccurring theme in this game...

"1v1, 1v1!" at Soderstrom to tell her she could turn and take on her defender.

"We have to find the space that Cassidy is creating!"

"Keep working Blue, we'll get it!"

"Organize early!" after the ball went out for a deep Kings Hammer throw-in.

Indy was a step faster in their running and speed of thought. Kings Hammer coach kept shouting "connect the next pass," just trying to hold some kind of possession, but Indy had the Kings Hammer defenders chasing shadows for most of the first half. 

"Find the 2nd runner, not the 1st runner!"

Last year's #23 was Robyn McCarthy, an All League defender. This year's #23 is Trinity Watson, and in the first two games she has played for Indy Eleven this season, she has been filling McCarthy's shoes nicely. She's making good decisions as the right CB, is controlling her area perfectly, and can put a cross-field pass on a dime. Reminds me a lot like Robyn.

Not long after a drop ball restart in the 28th minute because a ball was pinged off the referee, Lindley received a pass from Soderstrom and took a one-time shot that pinged off the post. A 40th minute low cross from Hershfelt ran across the goal mouth, through a mass of humanity, and the shot on goal from Lindley was blocked. At this point, Indy was starting to feel like there was an imaginary lid or force field on the Kings Hammer goal. 

"We're exposed if we lose it!"

"Give the ball up!" directed at Bahr who carried the ball a long way up the field and then took an ill-advised long distance shot that went harmlessly wide.

The first half of this game looked like the men's first team. I don't know what the final possession numbers were for the half, but it had to be pushing the 80/20 ratio that we saw from the men earlier this year against Las Vegas. Kings Hammer stayed compact, had timely defensive interventions, and managed to keep Indy off the board allowing them to go into the locker room with a nil-nil scoreline despite never really threatening Edwards. I felt like Hershfelt was not as decisive in her decisions in the first half as she was in the game against Lexington. She looked like she wanted to set up her teammates, but she had opportunities to take the ball herself if she went quickly. When she didn't, the Kings Hammer defenders stepped to her, forcing the ball backwards. 

Kings Hammer came out of the halftime locker room more aggressive, in both their defending and their movements going forward. Fortunately, Indy weathered the early additional pressure, in part because the Kings Hammer forwards had trouble getting off good shots.

"C'mon, we're too complacent!"

"It's not going to come to you. Let's make something happen!"

"Guys! Discipline!"

"Our movement has to be proactive! We're waiting for the ball to come to us!"

"We're getting too predictable!"

At this point in the game (58th minute), this looked like two different teams than the ones from the first half. Indy looked timid and weren't the aggressors to the ball, while Kings Hammer looked the complete opposite of those characteristics. Whatever the possession was in the first half, it wasn't a full 180 in the early part of the second half, but it was much much closer to even. It's like Indy came out of the locker room forgetting that they were the better players and team.

ANOTHER ball off the crossbar in the 62nd minute.

"Keep playing Blue! C'mon girls!"

"Nooooooo..." That one actually turned out okay, but my initial feeling was the same as Coach's assessment of the pass.

Goal by Vanegas in the 76th minute by just being in the right place in the box and losing her defender. Venegas came on with a lot of energy and was rewarded by getting in front of her defender to give her a chance at the ball after the initial shot was deflected. The goal had been coming and was deserved by how many shots found the crossbar or post, but it was still good to see that Kings Hammer hadn't put a hex on the goals, or at least that Indy had found a crack in that hex.

"Madisyn, play your position!"

ANOTHER ball off the crossbar in the 84th minute.

"You guys need to make the goal bigger."

"We're in stoppage time. Make 'em play facing their own goal!"

Indy were unfortunate to not have this game be a blowout just like the others with the number of balls that hit the crossbar and posts, but a win on the road after Sunday-Wednesday games was deserved. As I stated after the first game, this division has the appearance that it could come down to the two games between Indy and Racing Louisville. If the two teams split the series, then goal differential could come into play, and Indy would love to have seen the woodwork be kinder today. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.

The Girls in Blue need to take the win and get on the bus knowing they're still leading the division and that their next game will FINALLY be in front of the home fans in their version of LIPAFC. Coack Dolinsky will probably have some words about shaking off the woodwork issues, but that they need to not relax after halftime like they did today. Then he'll have them ready to play Louisville in an environment where he shouldn't be able to make as many corrections as he did tonight because the BYB are in full voice behind him.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Vanegas entered the match excited and full of energy. She listened to what Coach Dolinsky wanted from her, and she was rewarded for that effort with a goal, making her Indy's third multi-goal goal scorer. 

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