Sunday, August 6, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Memphis 901 FC - 10.22


- Opponent: Memphis 901 FC
- Location: Carroll Stadium
- Attendance: 13,248
- Final Score: 2-1 L

- Starting XI: Trilk, Boudadi, Diz Pe, Chapman-Page, Lindley (C), Blake, Quinn, Asante, Velasquez, Martinez, Pinho

- Substitution: King 58; (Blake); Dambrot 59' (Boudadi); Pinho 59' (Guenzatti); Robledo 74' (Velasquez); Molina 88' (Chapman-Page)

- Unused: Crawford, Jerome

- Scoring Summary:
MEM - Turci 38' (assist Molloy)
IND - Quinn 57' (assist Asante)
MEM - Ward 81' (assist Kissiedou)

- Bookings:
IND - Boudadi 49' (Yellow)
MEM - Vom Steeg 90' (Yellow)

- Referee: Eric Tattersall
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

I hung out near the BYB tonight and only wrote some basic notes along the way instead of writing a good portion of my article from the press box. Between that and not feeling like writing, this might be brief again. As I stood in the area, the general consensus from everybody around me was a bit of a "blah" feeling. Nobody, and I mean nobody, had a good feeling about this game. Not a single person predicted a win from this game for Indy. Results ranged from a 1-nil loss to a 1-1 draw, to a 2-1 loss (which was correctly predicted as a MEM goal followed by an IND goal followed by a MEM goal - well done Robbie "Nostradamus" Mehling...). 

As the game commenced and the early glimpses of how this game was going to end began to show themselves, glances around me all said the same thing; "who's surprised it's going this way?" 

Twenty-second verse, same as the first!

Indy controls possession. Indy can't score (despite a nearly walk-in chance for Blake that went wide of the post). Indy give up the first goal, forcing them to play from behind. Indy plays well and doesn't get a good result from the game.

How many times have I written some version of that scenario playing out this year?

It has become frustratingly predictable to watch. Which means it's probably also become enjoyably predictable to scout against. Indy will want to hold possession at any point in the field (including deep within their own box with attackers making passes around them difficult), will get the ball into the final third, and will have difficulty shooting the ball. So the opposition's game plan is easy. Let Indy relatively leisurely pass around in their own half or near the half line as much as they want, shift sides as the ball shifts maintaining the defensive shape, and get someone close to a shooting lane because Indy don't like to shoot without a clear opening. Adjust to the new personnel who are going to happen around the 60th minute mark, a couple more in the 75th minute, and a final one/two after the 85th minute. Rinse and repeat until the Indy defense makes a mistake. Then hold on to the win. 

I continue to get asked the question of whether Lowry is on the hot seat. I continue to say no, particularly at this point in the season. If the team misses the playoffs again, then I don't know. My question is, "what then?" Lowry is a proven winner in this league; albeit in a different conference, which I'm going to come back to in a minute. If Indy gets a new coach, they are going to want to rebuild the team with the players that they think can fit their system. Not sure what this year's roster contracts look like, but there have been a lot of 1 and 2-year deals with options for a 2nd or 3rd year, respectively. Assuming the former, much of this roster could be gone and we'll be back to the old "we need time to gel excuse." I believe that this team was hand-picked by Lowry as guys that he wanted to play in his system, and had been watching for awhile. He has said some version of that a number of times on Soccer Saturday, including about Chapman-Page. There is young talent, experienced veterans, and guys with proven track records at other places. Injuries and suspensions have forced a ton of adjustments this year, but this team should be getting better results.

I watched a lot of El Paso's games the past few years when Mares and Lowry were there, as I would work on these game articles. El Paso was possession based, which Lowry has attempted to continue here. El Paso's players were attack-minded, which Lowry wanted to do. As Indy began to leak early goals, Lowry changed his preferred tactics to a back 5 to try and solidify the back so that Indy wasn't always playing from behind. When Lowry was in El Paso, he would like to have attack-minded players coming off the bench to be able to chase a result or put the foot on an opponent's neck. The leaked goals early in the season has led to a defense-minded Lowry, with a bunch of guys who seem hesitant to try and score goals through half-windows. None of it makes sense based on what I saw of Lowry in ELP or with the players that are on this roster.

As I said a couple of games ago, at this point in the season, and they way they are playing, Indy need to be less concerned with the teams above them and more concerned with the results of the teams around and below them. Miami, for example, is on a 4-game undefeated streak (3 wins in a row), and have leap-frogged Indy for the final playoff spot. Indy play Miami next weekend in Miami and a positive RESULT, not just a good performance. 

Before that though, Indy return to The Mike on Wednesday to play Birmingham who are on their own two-game losing streak after beating Tampa Bay and Louisville before their recent skid. Both teams are going to want to get all three points out of the game. At this point, unless Quinn scores, I don't know where Indy gets the goals to do that though, and that's assuming the defense doesn't leak a goal on a mistake.

The Game Beckons Game Ball
I have to give it to somebody, right? The surprising team leader in goals scored again, right? How about if I just give Quinn the GBGB and move on with the night?

Quinn, maybe by default, but that's who gets tonight's GBGB

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