Thursday, June 22, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Lexington SC - 02.09


- Opponent: Lexington SC
- Location: Toyota Stadium
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 3-0 W

- Starting XI: Reason, Kugler, Creel, Bahr, Chatterton, Hershfelt, Rogers (C), Dewey, S., Soderstrom, K., Chester, Williams

- Substitution: Watson 45' (Creel); Kraszula 45' (Kugler); Soderstrom, K. 62' (Dewey, S.); Lynch 62' (Williams); Sexton 66' (Hershfelt), Slimak 76' (Soderstrom, K.)

- Unused: Edwards

- Scoring Summary:
IND – Dewey, S 29’ (assist Hershfelt)
IND - Soderstrom, K. 43' (unassisted)
IND - Williams 45'+1' (unassisted)

- Bookings:

- Referee: ?
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Some new names for Indy in this game with Creel getting the start, and Lynch and Susie Soderstrom on the bench. Lynch is a returnee from last season with 6 starts and a goal last year, scoring the game winner in the 5th game of the season against Midwest United, and playing her last game in the 7th game against Kings Hammer. For 14-minutes tonight, we were able to see both Soderstrom women on the field at the same time. From what I saw tonight in her limited time in the second half, let's hope the younger Soderstrom takes over the Soderstrom mantle on the Indy Eleven USL-W team if her older sister finds a pro team in Europe.

Indy and Lexington split the possession early in the game until about the 20th mark when Indy seemed to settle into the game and became more patient and picking their spots in the attack. Indy had several crosses throughout the first half that went to the back post when the runs were going to the near post. Eventually in the 29th minute, Hershfelt dropped a ball near the 6-yard box that Josephson couldn't come off her line to get and Dewey ushered the ball around Josephson to get the well-deserved first goal of the game. With the exception of the first 15 minutes of the game that looked like the Lexington that I saw against Racing Louisville, Indy were in complete control of the first half with dangerous attack after dangerous attack. If the crosses had been on the same page a couple more times, this game would have been put away much earlier.

As if Lexington wasn't having a hard enough time with keeping possession and out of Indy's feet, they shot themselves in the feet twice in the dying minutes of the half with poor defenses touches that let Soderstrom and Williams in on goal. Soderstrom put a couple of shimmies and shakes on three separate defenders and then shot back across her body and away from the way that Josephson was leaning. Minutes later, another poor touch by a defender and an individual effort by Williams to get around said defender put Indy up 3-nil at halftime when Williams calmly slotted the ball to the opposite side of the goal under Josephson. 

The halftime graphics indicated that Indy had 7 shots, 4 on target, and 3 goals. That's efficient. And could have been worse for Lexington based on the possession advantage and the number of crosses that went a bit wasted by Indy. The first half was the kind of game we know Indy can provide against many teams, but I'm a little surprised it happened against Lexington. Lexington have shown signs of putting it together, particularly that game against Racing, but for now, there's still a pretty decent gap between 1st/2nd and 3rd in the Valley Division.

Indy came out of the locker room just a little more conservative and not as clean as they were in the first half, but a three-goal lead can sometimes do that to a team. Additionally, the substitutions immediately out of the locker room changed the early dynamic as it pushed Hershfelt into a centerback role. There were some weird events as Slimak missed a shot from 6-inches when she didn't get her foot turned enough and the ball went back in the direction it came instead of taking the perpendicular direction into the goal. 

The result is ideal even though the second half wasn't as high scoring as the first half. Again, the math remains easy. Keep winning, and they'll keep playing into the playoffs. Indy return home to close out the regular season with a game against St. Charles, the only team to have found a win against Indy in two seasons. Win and their in, and looking to exact revenge against that losing result, I fully expect Indy to come out and try to put that game away early.

Williams is now averaging 1 goal every 35 minutes for the past two games. I suspect we might see her in the game next Friday against St. Charles. Indy has 6 different players that are averaging a goal in less than 90 minutes, with 3 of the top 4 goal scores (3+ goals each) averaging a goal in less than 75 minutes.
  • Dewey, S - a goal every 59.5 minutes
  • Soderstrom, K - a goal every 148 minutes
  • Whitsett - a goal every 71 minutes
  • Williams - a goal every 55 minutes
There are some other higher scoring teams in the league, but I wouldn't want to face this team in the playoffs. You can't defend just one player, though I think some teams have tried to throw multiple players at Soderstom this year in that "let's not let her beat us" mentality, and eventually somebody is going to find a look to beat the defense and the goalkeeper.

One more game. That needs to be the mentality the rest of the season, and hopefully it finishes with a trophy for the club.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

You can call this a cumulative award if you want, but I think I'm going to give Reason tonight's GBGB. She has a stellar 0.2 goals against average, 4 clean sheets out of 5 starts, and played solidly tonight when called upon to do so. She had a very early poor pass that led to a giveaway and a shot by Lexington, but Reason settled in after that. It's easy to give praise to the plethora of scorers on this team, which I did just before this, but the defense might be what sets this team apart from many others and that defense was anchored by Reason tonight (Edwards is no slouch herself at 0.5 GAA and 3 clean sheets out of 4 starts). Reason played tonight, so she gets the official GBGB, but Edwards can take a piece of it if she wants. #GKUnion

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