Sunday, September 3, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Miami FC - 10.28


- Opponent: Miami FC
- Location: Carroll Stadium
- Attendance: 10,175
- Final Score: 1-0 W

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

- Substitution: Rebellon (Dambrot 76'); Pinho (Velasquez 76'); Vazquez (Diz Pe 77'); Robledo (Blake 85'); Reveno (Asante 90'+6')

- Unused: Walker, Molina

- Scoring Summary:
IND – Guenzatti 72’ (assist Boudadi)

- Bookings:
MIA - Segbers 20’ (Yellow)
IND - Boudadi 27' (Yellow)
MIA - Salazar 33' (Yellow)
MIA - Akinyode 36' (Yellow)
MIA - Stanley 88' (Yellow)
MIA - Neal 89' (Yellow)
IND - Robledo 90'+2' (Yellow)
MIA - Craig 90'+3' (RED)
IND - Quinn 90'+9' (Yellow)

- Referee: Elijio Arreguin
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Photo Credit: Matt Schlotzhauer
In a week where the temperatures were relatively reasonable for late August, temperatures increased again for gameday to the point where first and second half hydration breaks were required. The heat slowed the game at times as players tried to make it through the game. Players, particularly towards the end of the game, routinely took every chance they could to stretch out calves trying to stave off the impending cramps and grabbed water whenever they could. One of those that that couldn't make it through the night due to an apparent, and hopefully minor, injury was Diz Pe. However, before he made way for Vazquez in the 77th minute, Diz topped the 10,000 minute mark in regular season USL Championship games. Joining him in that category was Lindley, who also broke the 10k minute mark, as he went the full ninety minutes. The two are now separated by just 20 minutes in league history.

Diz has time to recuperate before the next game, which won't be until Friday the 15th at New Mexico, but not having guys available for selection is rearing its head again. Boudadi received a 27th minute yellow card, putting him out for the NM game. Callum-Page picked up a hip injury before the Miami game that might leave him out for a few weeks according to team sources. Martinez picked up a knock that kept him out. King is out indefinitely. If Diz is unable to go in two weeks, the backline is once again going to be light. Though getting Vazquez back helps, but he's only played 14 minutes since returning and probably still isn't fully match fit. 

Photo Credit: Matt Schlotzhauer
Hopefully, Diz and the guys can stay healthy for this stretch run because they are playing some of their best soccer of the season, and within the league. Right now, they have the longest undefeated streak in the Eastern Conference (at 6 games) with Tampa Bay's 4-game win streak being the best behind them. Only San Antonio's 7-game undefeated streak, and Orange County's 8-game win streak are better than the run-of-form that Indy is currently experiencing. With the win against Miami, Indy move, at least temporarily, up to 5th place in the standings. As Indy rests the for the next 13 days, the table will change since the teams around Indy have games in hand on them. Indy's recent success means that only Memphis can bypass them in the standings as those teams catch up to be even in games. Indy currently have a 12-point cushion on the team sitting outside the playoff line with 6 games to go. What seemed like an improbable destination just a few weeks ago as the team hovered around or below the playoff line, now seems more likely. If Indy can get 10 points out of 18 in their remaining games, including a win against Tulsa, I think Indy make the playoffs. They would rather be higher up the standings when the dust settles, but as I've said before, making the playoffs is the first step. Ten points seems doable at this point.

More to the point of this game though...

Purely looking at the stats tells you that this was a close game. Same shots on target, 4. Basically 50/50 possession. The eye test tells basically the same thing. This was a close game, separated by a single goal that resulted from beautiful interplay between the Indy Eleven players. Guenzatti gets credit for the goal and Boudadi gets credit for the assist, but this goal started at half field with Jerome. 

Photo Credit: Matt Schlotzhauer
Jerome sent a routine pass to Boudadi on the wing. Boudadi went forward a little before sending a pass to Lindley who was coming towards him. Lindley one-touched it back and continued his run to the touch line, leaving his defender and Boudadi's defender with Boudadi. Boudadi passed the ball to Velasquez, who sent the ball through a channel to Lindley that was created when the defenders stayed with Boudadi. Boudadi began running towards goal with Velasquez's pass, leaving the defenders behind him. Lindley, once again, one touched it just out of the reach of Boudadi, but the ball went directly to Asante, who one-touched it to Boudadi who had continued his run towards the end-line. Boudadi one-touch crossed the ball towards the opposite side of the six yard box on a string, preventing Zendajas from being able to leave his line, and Guenzatti beat his man to the spot where the ball was going to be and stretched out to get just enough to the ball to redirect it into the goal.

The goal is everything fans expected to see from a team with this much talent. Crisp, one-touch passing. Quick, defined movements that forced defenders into bad positions. Effort. John Keats originated it, but Junior in White Men Can't Jump is how I hear it said, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." That goal was a thing of beauty. That goal may also be what gets Indy into the playoffs by solidifying their tiebreaker status over Miami. 

Indy now have 13 days to get guys back healthy and prepared for a trip to the Land of Enchantment (and my birthplace). Indy only play two more games against Eastern Conference foes in their remaining six games, both against teams below them near the playoff cut line. So Indy are going to need to get points against teams from the Western Conference, something that's been hit-and-mostly miss during the first part of this season with a 2W-2D-4L record against those teams. Indy is in a different place, mentality and physically, than they were in the majority of those games, so I'm feeling more confident they can get points. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball
The official stats say that Indy lost the Aerial Duel battle by a wide 85 to 15% margin. With Diz Pe on the field, I don't know how that is even possible. His stats indicate that he had 0 aerial duels won and 0 aerial duels lost. I'm not going to watch the entire game to prove either of those stats wrong, but I'm going to not accept that manufactured reality. I watched the game, and I've watched enough of Diz Pe this season to know that those stats are wrong. Diz took a hit from Trilk in the 28th minute and Trilk doesn't do anything half-assed, so I know Diz felt the brunt of that collision. It was also Diz's leg that seemed to be his issue when he left the game, which means he was probably fighting through a couple things before he exited the game. His effort remained throughout, and his effort was enough for me to give him the nudge for the GBGB.

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