Saturday, June 24, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Hartford Athletic - 10.15


- Opponent: Hartford Athletic
- Location: Trinity Health Stadium
- Attendance: 4,784
- Final Score: 2-0 W

- Starting XI: Oettl, Rissi, Boudadi, Diz Pe, Vazquez, King, Lindley, Quinn, Asante, Robledo, Guenzatti (C)

- Substitution: Jerome 68' (Robledo); Martinez 82' (Asante); Molina 82' (King)

- Unused: Trilk, Dambrot, Sanchez

- Scoring Summary:
IND – Lindley 73’ (assist Boudadi)
IND - Martinez 90'+5' (assist Molina)

- Bookings:
IND – Boudadi 4’ (Yellow)
IND - King 49' (Yellow)
IND - Robledo 65' (Yellow)
HFD - Saydee 70' (Yellow)
IND - Lindley 74' (Yellow)
IND - Rissi 87' (Yellow)
HFD - Rito 87' (Yellow)
HFD - Amoh 90'+5' (Yellow)

- Referee: Amiel Aleman
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Between injuries, suspensions, departures, and acquisitions, there is a legit core of starters, but what the rest of the starting lineup looks like from game to game is anybody's guess. One of those core players, Blake, was supposed to start, but picked up a knock a couple hours before the game. Rissi in, Jerome out. Diz Pe back in. King back in. I don't know if all the adjustments are why Indy looked out of sync at times, but there weren't many moments where Indy looked like the better team, playing against the team at the bottom of the table. 

Every single one of the below comments came from the Hartford telecast staff about the Hartford team:

"You are what your record says you are." - Bill Parcells (to be fair, this reference was kind of directed towards both teams)

"I don't think they are far away."

"Hartford fans have been really loyal this season. If they [the team] can get back to winning ways..."

"Performances don't matter if you keep losing games."

Every one of those comments could have easily been about the Indy Eleven throughout most of this season. Coach Lowry came into this game with yet another adjusted lineup, with guys who have been injured and may not be fully match fit. He also came into this season with the mindset of attacking, which he has done throughout most of his career, playing pretty soccer with a majority of possession. It's not a complete 180, but Coach Lowry has become a much more defensive minded team in recent weeks. He was tired of conceding goals, and has begun to set up the team to stop losing games because of mistakes in the back. 

While Indy has still held the possession advantage in recent games, that was not the case tonight. There were moments in this game where I fully expected to be writing about an Indy Eleven loss. Indy's first shot on target was when Lindley shot an absolute rocket into the upper 90 from 30 yards out for the team's first the 73rd minute. They managed just two more shots on target the remainder of the game, both in stoppage time. The second shot on target by Guenzatti forced the only save made by Sanchez, and the third shot was the Martinez goal in the 90'+5'. I mean, it's hard to argue with 3 shots on target and two goals, but it took long enough to happen.

This comment isn't only about Indy, but it's such a routine thing that I yelled out loud tonight about it. Indy had a free kick in the attacking third, late in the game. Everybody was up for the kick, and instead of putting a ball into the mixer, a "training ground" kick was attempted, that went backwards first, then backwards again, then all the way back to Oettl. For a team that has been struggling to score goals, wasting free kicks in prime position like that seems pointless.

As Coach Lowry has said in the past, and was said tonight on the telecast, this is a results oriented business. To that goal, Indy had a successful trip to Hartford. They also brought their season (in league play) goal differential to 0, making them just one of 4 teams in the conference with an even or positive differential. At some point, the pogo-stick season will level out though, right? Or is Indy exactly what their record says they are? An inconsistent team still trying to figure out how to win in this conference with the players on the roster. 

Indy return to the Mike next weekend to take on San Diego on Indy-pendence night.

Make sure you head to Grand Park the night before though to support the women's team as the look to get a win and wrap-up the division and be the Valley division's representative in the playoffs.

The Game Beckons Game Ball
There's a reason why there are 11 players on the field. Oettl was credited with 3 saves, but there were timely interventions and punches that kept Indy in the game until they finally could breakthrough with the game-winning goal. Indy spent the majority of the game in their own half, and Oettl was key to all of the Hartford possession in that half leading to nothing. 

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