Thursday, July 6, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Flint City AFC - 02.11 (Playoffs)


- Opponent: Flint City AFC
- Location: Atwood Stadium
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 3-0 W

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

- Substitution: Chatterton 60' (Sexton), Soderstrom, S. 60' (Dewey, S.), Williams 66' (Whitsett), Wilson 74' (Chester); Johnson 74' (Soderstrom, S.); Ojongboh 74' (Creel)

- Unused: Edwards

- Scoring Summary:
IND – Bahr 14’ (Penalty Kick)
IND - Dewey, S. 42' (assist Williams)
IND - Soderstrom, K. 49' (assist Kugler)

- Bookings:
IND - Creel 45'+2’ (Yellow)
IND - Kugler 79' (Yellow)

- Referee: Audra Fullen
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Coming into this game, I wondered if Flint City's turnaround from last season's last place finish in the Great Lakes division to this year's first place in the division, had anything to do with the fact that they didn't have to face Indy Eleven and Racing Louisville twice each. While Indy's and Louisville's departure did save Flint from a potential four losses, Flint City's record outside of those two teams was still a poor 2W-1D-5L. So, not being with Indy and Louisville helped some, they did substantially improve even against the other teams that remained from last season's division.

A penalty kick in the 14th minute after Creel was deemed to have been pulled down in the box on a corner kick started the scoring for the game. Defender and former player/coach Bahr calmly stepped and put the ball to the left while Riddle started to the right before freezing in her tracks to watch the ball go past her. Again, how talented and deep is this team when you have Williams, Dewey, and Soderstrom on the field and it's a defender that steps up to take the penalty kick?

Flint City did a good job in the first half of holding possession, but not in a ton of dangerous locations, or in ways that gave them solid chances at goal. It was Indy who was able to utilize their possession to get looks at the goal. Late in the half, Indy had a flurry of activity in Flint City's goal that eventually found its way to the backheel of Dewey, who put Indy up by two heading into the locker room.

Coming back out of the locker room, Indy found a run up the right side of the field from Kugler that Flint City couldn't stop. Kugler put a ball towards the six-yard box that Soderstrom, K. redirected towards the near post and past Riddle. Just like that, three minutes into the second half, and Indy had a three goal lead. Then it was just a matter of doing what they could to see the game out, keep a clean sheet, and keep everybody healthy.

Best I could tell, everybody finished healthy. Dewey, Soderstrom, and Williams were all able to get out of the game at a reasonable time to keep their legs fresh, while also giving some minutes to others, which will be important come Saturday afternoon. Indy went to Flint with one goal in mind, and that was to make it to the Central Conference final where they can give themselves a chance to exact revenge on the team that beat them last year. Helping Indy's cause this year will be that the game will be at a neutral site, and Minnesota won't be able to pack the stadium like they did last year. At least not as easily. If you're able to make it to Flint this weekend, go support the team and counteract any visiting Minnesota fans. Winning tonight was not Indy's ultimate goal, but they had to win tonight to give themselves a chance to win on Saturday and they did that. 

Indy will recover tomorrow, and get ready to face Minnesota at 3:00 on Saturday.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

I keep repeating it with this team, but I could literally give the GBGB to nearly every player on the field. So it keeps coming down to which player do I keep noticing that they have done something well. To that point, tonight's GBGB goes to Kraszula. Flint City put a lot of pressure on Indy's midfielders, and Rogers and Kraszula were really up to the task. There's a reason Rogers is the captain and nearly plays every minute, but there seemed to be a number of moments where Kraszula had to make key interventions and she did so. Flint City's defenders were also not gentle with their press, and so she took a bit of a beating trying to maintain possession for Indy. Kraszula gets tonight's GBGB for her effort against a rough Flint City midfield.

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