Saturday, July 1, 2023

Indy Eleven vs St. Charles - 02.10


- Opponent: St. Charles FC
- Location: Grand Park
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 16-0 W

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

- Substitution: Edwards 45’ (Reason); Kugler 45’ (Dewey, S.); Soderstrom, S. 63’ (Williams); Ojongmboh 63’ (Chester); Lynch 63’ (Sexton); Martin 63’ (Creel)

- Unused: Johnson

- Scoring Summary:
IND – Williams 3’ (assist Watson)
IND – Dewey, S. 14’ (unassisted)
IND – Bahr 19’ (Penalty Kick)
IND – Chester 35’ (assist Rogers)
IND – Dewey, S. 38’ (assist Creel)
IND – Dewey, S. 40’ (unassisted)
IND – Chester 42’ (unassisted)
IND – Williams 48’ (assist Chester)
IND – Williams 53’ (assist Rogers)
IND – Williams 54’ (assist Chester)
IND – Own Goal 58’
IND – Soderstrom, K. 73’ (assist Soderstrom, S.)
IND – Soderstrom, S. 77’ (assist Bahr)
IND – Soderstrom, K. 78’ (assist Soderstrom, S.)
IND – Kugler 88’ (Penalty Kick)
IND – Kugler 89’ (assist Soderstrom, K.)

- Bookings:
STC – Barcom 87’ (Yellow)
IND – Kugler 90’ (Yellow)

- Referee: ?
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Nona Reason feeling lonely...
Coming into the season, there looked like a very real possibility that the Valley Division winner could be determined by the higher goal differential between Indy and Racing Louisville. However, the math has been easy since Indy beat Racing Louisville on June 6th, giving Indy the first tiebreaker of head-to-head results, with Indy winning the season series 1W-1D-0L. So while Racing has put a ton of goals on the board this season, particularly recently as Racing beat tonight’s opponent, St. Charles, on Saturday by a score of 7-nil and then again on Monday by a score of 9-nil, the only goal differential that mattered was the +2 differential between Indy and Racing. Indy made things a little more difficult by getting a surprise home 2-nil loss to St. Charles, but Indy have returned to their goal scoring ways making tonight’s game an official win-and-your-in scenario.

Indy was going to be fired up to not make any doubt that the loss to St. Charles was a fluke, but when starting lineups were given, and as St. Charles began warming up, they had 10 players on the paper, and only 9 players warming up. That’s it. This was some Norman Dale, “that’s my team on the floor,” situation. Nine players. No substitutes, and a backup keeper playing in the field. That’s a tough ask against a team with revenge on their mind, and was a game away from making a second trip to the playoffs as long as they won. 

Earlier this year, the men's team had an approximate 80/20 possession advantage over Las Vegas. While the women's games don't keep track of possession, this game was more lopsided than the men's game. At best it was a 90/10 advantage, but this game could have been sponsored by WFMS, because possession was probably closer to 95/5.

Indy made no mistake about their intentions, when Soderstrom, K. fired on St. Charles' goal within 12 seconds that Miller managed to parry over the crossbar, setting up the first of many corner kicks on the night. St. Charles managed to clear that corner kick into Indy's defensive half, but it didn’t take long for Indy to get the ball back into their offensive half, and not much longer to get the scoring started as Williams put a header on the board in the 3rd minute (2:27). At that point, already down a goal and down two players, St. Charles tried to take the pace out of the game by not being overly quick about their restarts. However, trying to slow Indy tonight was an impossible task as there wasn’t much time between shots as Indy kept firing frequently. At halftime, Indy had taken a 7-nil lead thanks to a 24-nil shot advantage. That would balloon to a 16-nil win on a 47-2 shot difference.

Once STC came out with 9 players giving Indy a full ninety minutes with a two-player advantage, the objectives for Indy changed. After Williams opened the scoring early, things changed for what Indy needed to do after taking the first step to solidifying their playoff spot against a team that wasn't going to be able to keep up. With Williams' scored, Indy only wanted/needed to keep a clean sheet, to keep everybody healthy, to work on possession, and to work on how to beat a very compact, very low block. St. Charles were as compact as they could be, but there was nothing they could do tonight against Indy's talent and personnel advantage.

All that being said, I have nothing but respect for Miller, Thorpe, Adams, Imming, White, Osvath, Lande, Rutherford, & Barcom for making the trip and competing as best they could under an adverse situation. They were outmatched and outnumbered, but they played as best they could given the circumstances. It’s a tough night for them, and one that they will likely not want to remember, but they competed and I respect them for that.

Tonight's game was the final regular season game for the Valley Division, so the final stats are in. Thanks to Indy's onslaught of goals tonight, they finish with an 8W-1D-1L record, and 40 goals on the year versus 3 goals against for a final goal differential of +37. Despite having the same win/loss record, Racing Louisville finished in 2nd place thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker, having scored 42 goals versus 4 against for a final goal differential of +38. Everyone thought it might come down to goal differential, and even that ended up being close. Lexington, Kings Hammer, and St. Charles finish the season in that order, with St. Charles taking an absolute beating this year to the tune of a -48 goal differential, largely as a result of the 32 goals they gave up this week to Racing Louisville and Indy. 

Indy will now head to Flint, Michigan to play their, hopefully, first playoff game this season next Thursday. They don’t yet know who they will be playing at this point, but they do know that they can put the ball in the goal. Admittedly, whoever they play on Thursday will likely have more than 9 players on the field, but being able to watch the ball hit the net 16 times right before starting the playoffs is never a bad thing. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Where do you start when the team puts a Sweet Sixteen on their opponent? Rogers for her two assists? Chester for a brace within a 7-minute timeframe plus two assists? Kugler for her brace within 2-minutes? Dewey for a first-half hat trick? Williams for a second-half hat trick to go with her first half goal for a total of 4? With so much offensive prowess on display tonight, nearly everybody is deserving of the GBGB. However, I want to give it to the Soderstrom sisters. Katie finished with 2 goals and an assist, while Susie finished with 1 goal and 2 assists, with all of that (with the exception of Katie's assist) happening within a 5 minute stretch. Oh yeah, and Susie's assists were for Katie's goals. Katie has had issues lately keeping her shots on target, but seeing the joy on her face as the two of them destroyed St. Charles in that five minute stretch might be the thing that she needs moving into the playoffs. On a night when everybody was deserving, the Soderstrom Sisters edge our their teammates for the GBGB.

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