Sunday, August 27, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Loudoun United - 10.27


- Opponent: Loudoun United
- Location: Carroll Stadium
- Attendance: 10,137
- Final Score: 2-1 W

- Starting XI: Trilk, Boudadi, Jerome, Diz Pe, Reveno, Blake, Lindley (C), Quinn, Velasquez, Martinez, Asante

- Substitution: Dambrot 45’ (Reveno); Guenzatti 45’ (Blake); Molina 68’ (Velasquez); Pinho 68’ (Martinez); Rebellon 86’ (Asante)

- Unused: Crawford, Vazquez

- Scoring Summary:
LDN – Williamson 1’ (unassisted)
IND – Quinn 73’ (Penalty Kick)
IND – Guenzatti 81’ (assist Asante)

- Bookings:
IND - Blake 22’ (Yellow)
IND – Asante 42’ (Yellow)
LDN – Landry 45’ (Yellow)
IND – Pinho 90’+4’ (Yellow)

- Referee: Brandon Stevis
- Adage goals: One

Thoughts and Opinions

As I mentioned after the Memphis game, Indy need to get points, preferably all three points, from every game against teams below them in the table. They also need the teams above them to take points from the teams below them to give Indy the best chance to make the playoffs. Getting to a top 4 place on the table to be able to host a game suddenly, and surprisingly given the up-and-down nature of this season, looks possible with a lot of math and results going for Indy, but their main focus just needs to be staying in a playoff position. Once the playoffs get started, where teams finished in the table becomes less important in a one-off win-or-go-home scenario. 

Indy needed to start this game strong so they could play this game they way they want to play; with possession and then put a team behind them on the table into predictable situations. It took all of 38 seconds for that plan to go out of the window as Loudoun scored another gifted goal when Diz Pe misplayed a ball allowing Williamson behind him and onto goal, which he slotted to the far corner past Trilk. In under a minute, the old Indy playing from behind scenario reared its head again.

After the goal, Indy held possession and had the bulk of the chances, but couldn’t break through. In the 27th minute, Loudoun had another break opportunity that looked like Jerome was going to get put into the spin cycle to set up a second goal. Jerome found his footing and the right angle and managed to poke the ball away to keep the team within reach. As the ball started back towards the Indy offensive side of things, Martinez was put in 1v1 against Koanda, who had a heavy touch. The heavy touch forced Jacomen to make a decision to come out of his box to help. Koanda and Jacomen bungled the interaction putting the ball behind Jacomen. Martinez had enough time to walk the ball in, but instead one-timed the ball directly into the side netting. Indy’s best, and clearest chance at that point, went harmlessly out for a goal kick. Indy had a few more good forays into the Loudoun box, but they were unable to make good on their effort and the teams went into the halftime locker room with the regular refrain of being down a goal and needing to chase the game in earnest in the second half on tired legs and minds.

Needing the points, and needing to spread the tired legs around, Dambrot and Guenzatti came out of the locker room during halftime to start warming up, signaling an immediate change after the break. They replaced Blake and Reveno to create a more attack-minded lineup in an attempt to change the scoreboard into Indy’s favor. The move is right in line with a Mark Lowry tactical adjustment when he thinks Indy are the better team and wanting to put the pressure on the opposition as soon as possible after the break to make a multiple game second half more feasible.

As the game neared the 60th minute, it felt like a goal was coming for Indy. Indy had tilted the field firmly in their direction and just needed the final touch beyond Jacomen. Attempt after attempt went wayward or was stifled by Loudoun’s defense or Jacomen. 

That is until the 72nd minute when Boudadi was taken down in the box. Up stepped Quinn who calmly put the ball to the left side of the goal while Jacomen went the opposite direction. The penalty kick goal puts Quinn tied with Ayoze for the club lead in made penalty kicks in just the span of 27 games. For whatever reason, Indy has been really good at creating penalty kick opportunities this season and Quinn’s ability to finish them has been exceptional. Quinn's ability to connect from the spot is impressive at this point. It's not like there isn't film on him taking them, and yet, goalkeepers continually guess wrong, or he's just that good at disguising his direction, or he's just that good at reacting to wherever he thinks the goalkeeper is going to guess. Whatever it is in the penalty kick chess match, goalkeepers have proven this season that they can't keep up with him.

The goal was officially from the spot, but it was a well-deserved goal for Indy resulting from the constant pressure they were putting on Loudoun. Once the game became level again, the game became wide open for the remaining 20 minutes. It was fitting this game was played at the Michael Carroll Track and Soccer stadium because it became a track meet in the closing minutes as Indy attacked trying to get the game winner, and Loudoun looked to counter with Indy so stretched. 

Indy found that game winner in the 81st minute when another Indy attack allowed Solo to dribble straight down the middle of the pitch towards the Loudoun goal, which drew defenders towards him. Asante laid the ball off to his right to Guenzatti who had just enough space between him and the defender that had stepped towards Asante, and then rocketed a shot between Jakomen and the post that was so close to the post that it kissed off of it before going into the goal. The goal completed Indy's third comeback for a win in three games (2 at ELP & 1 vs LDN).

After going down a goal within the first minute, Indy had found their game winner to keep themselves undefeated in 5 games and keep themselves in a good position on the table. If not for a 90’+8’ winner by Louisville against Oakland Roots, Indy would have found themselves in a 3-way tie (on points) for fourth place in the Eastern Conference (would have still be in 6th due to the tiebreakers, but to be even on points with Louisville and Memphis would be a huge boost to everybody’s confidence about the playoff push). With the injuries, the suspensions (Robledo missed this game due to his red card and Chapman-Page missed due to yellow card accumulation), and the defensive mistakes that have lost to dropped points in the early part of the season, the fact that 4th place is even a possibility is a testament to how this team has fought through diversity and are finally getting healthy and in form.

The undefeated streak moves to 5 games and Indy return to The Mike next Saturday to face yet another team below them in the table, with a chance to further separate themselves from the team's below them. Another win over Miami would give Indy the season tiebreakers, further helping their playoff push. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball
Goal scoring is great so it would be easy to give the GBGB to Quinn or Guenzatti. Jerome has also played at a much closer level in recent games to what I saw from him when I watched El Paso's games the past couple of seasons, so he would be a good one to give the GBGB. However, my eyeball test kept coming back to Boudadi. He was an absolute pest up the right side of the pitch, making the Loudoun defenders look silly, blowing by them, and looking like he felt he could do anything in this game. It was his attack on the Loudoun goal that set up the penalty kick. Coach Lowry indicated postgame that they were considering Boudadi as one of the second half subs, but that his confidence and what he was able to do on the field just made it difficult to take him off. For a "doing the dirty work" performance, Boudadi gets tonight's GBGB.

Additional Photos (Don Thompson Photography)

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