Friday, August 25, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Memphis 901 FC - 10.26


- Opponent: Memphis 901 FC
- Location: AutoZone Park
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 0-0 D

- Starting XI: Trilk, Boudadi, Jerome, Chapman-Page, Dambrot, Blake, Lindley, Quinn, Robledo, Martinez, Guenzatti (C)

- Substitution: Pinho 71' (Guenzatti); Reveno 72' (Dambrot); Rebellon 86' (Blake); Vazquez 90'+4' (Martinez)

- Unused: Crawford, Asante, Velasquez

- Scoring Summary:

- Bookings:
MEM - McFadden 44' (Yellow)
IND - Robledo 44' (RED)
MEM - Vom Steeg 54' (Yellow)
IND - Martinez 67' (Yellow)
IND - Chapman-Page 67' (Yellow)
MEM - Pickering 80' (Yellow)

- Referee: Elvis Osmanovic
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

A midweek game on a week where my day job included my industry's yearly conference means that I didn't watch the game against Memphis until Friday. That doesn't mean, however, that I didn't see all of the discussion on social media about the garbage field conditions or Robledo's red card or that Indy managed, despite being down a man for 50 minutes (plus the 8 minutes of 2nd half stoppage time), to leave Memphis with a draw.

Memphis should be ashamed of the field conditions. Every single player risked injury to play in this game and Memphis should be fined for thinking that the field was acceptable. I played on some horrible fields in my playing days, but I wasn't a professional thinking that I should be playing on professional pitches. As I watched this game and the regular occurrence of players falling as the turf gave way underneath them or having to take time to do some landscaping work mid game (and by the operation's crew during the hydration break and halftime and...), the thought occurred to me that if I was playing on that surface, I would rather play on the bare baseball infield than the turf that they put down. At least I would know that my footing was solid, even if it meant I had to adjust the way I passed or tackled. 

Turf Monster rising...

Just doing some landscaping work mid game...

What could get lost in mess of a field was that Indy played about as well as they could under the circumstances. After a game last weekend in a hot El Paso, Indy had transportation issues on their way back, then had to jump on a bus just a few days later to make their way to a hot AND humid Memphis. Then they found themselves playing on a grass covered slip-n-slide. Robledo added to the difficulties by making a mistake that young, easily frustrated, players make by kicking out at an opposing player mere yards away from a linesman, making it an easy straight red card. 

Robledo's red card, Indy's fifth on the season but the first for a player not lined up as a defender, allowed Lowry to make tactical adjustments at halftime without having to use any of his substitutions. Martinez's frequent play at right winger this season allowed him to noticeably drop further back on the field to help defend. If Indy was going to have a player get a red card, Robledo's might have been the least detrimental to the team. Rebellon was able to rest through most of the game. Asante didn't have to play at all, and Vazquez saw his first minutes in ten games in mop-up minutes of stoppage time, but was able to break a sweat even if he didn't touch the ball.

This game was one of the proverbial "draw feels like a win" kind of games. Forced to defend for much of the second half due to the man disadvantage, on the turf-covered infield side of the field, Indy's first half possession advantage vanished in a "bend but don't break fight for each other" effort from all the players. The Memphis crowd and commentators were not happy about Indy's end-of-game tactics to take the air out of the game, but Memphis forced Indy to play on one of the worst fields I've ever seen. So let's call it a wash and move on.

Indy return home to play Loudoun in the midst of an actual undefeated streak. Indy need to continue their good run of results, and if I'm being honest, probably want the teams above them to continue to win as many games against the teams below Indy as possible. With what remains of the season, Indy need to create their own successes, but their appearance in the playoffs may depend on the top teams in the league beating the teams in the bottom of the league so as to not catch Indy. Saturday's game against Loudoun checks both those boxes.

The Game Beckons Game Ball
When you have sat the entire season, it's not easy to be thrust into a starting role due to an injury. Trilk has started six of the last seven games in goal. In that span, Indy have gone 4W-1D-2L with Trilk and the team getting a clean sheet in 3 of those games and a 0.83 goals against average. Tim made some key saves in this game despite being mired in the turf monster all around him. That kind of effort deserves the GBGB.

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