Thursday, September 21, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Phoenix Rising - 10.30


- Opponent: Phoenix Rising FC
- Location: Phoenix Rising Stadium
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 1-1 D

- Starting XI: Trilk, Boudadi, Jerome, Diz Pe, Rebellon, Blake, Lindley, Asante, Robledo, Guenzatti (C), Pinho

- Substitution: Vazquez 61' (Rebellon); Martinez 66' (Robledo); Reveno 76' (Pinho)

- Unused: Crawford, Dambrot, Molina, Velasquez

- Scoring Summary:
PHX - Harvey 80' (assist Trejo)
IND - Diz Pe 90'+5' (assist Lindley)

- Bookings:
PHX - Uzochokwu 16’ (Yellow)
IND - Pinho 31' (Yellow)
PHX - Arteaga 40' (Yellow)
PHX - Fuenmayor 62' (Yellow)
IND - Blake 75' (Yellow)
PHX - Hernandez 90'+2' (Yellow)

- Referee: Abdou Ndiaye
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Each team in tonight's matchup had a player in the starting lineup that was recently wearing the other team's crest. Manuel Arteaga faced off against Indy for the first team since moving west to Phoenix and was given the captain's armband from former Indy player and now manager Juan Guerra, while Solomon Asante took the field against his former club after joining Indy last season. Arteaga came into the game in third place in the league with 15 goals on the season, just behind his teammate Trejo and Pittsburgh's Dikwa, who both have 17. Asante was a 2-time MVP award winner during his time in Phoenix, accounting for 150 points (54 goals + 42 assists) in his 113 games in the Valley of the Sun. Apparently the desert air is good for scoring goals. Throw in manager Juan Guerra into the mix, and the game pulled at Indy fans' #IndyForever heart strings.

Indy did manage to field a full 18 for tonight's game, giving Coach Lowry some more options, but they were still without the team's second leading goal scorer in Quinn, joining Chapman-Page and King on the injury list. Boudadi returned from his yellow card suspension, pushing Dambrot to the bench, and Robledo started in lieu of Velasquez. Otherwise, tonight's starting lineup was the same as the one Lowry fielded against New Mexico this past Friday.

No matter the result tonight, Indy was going to remain in 6th place in the standings, with no ability to leapfrog either Louisville or Memphis, despite Louisville losing to Miami tonight and Memphis drawing Birmingham. Thanks to the results over the weekend though, the magic number did go down, but Indy can't rely on other results to go their way to get into the playoffs. The Miami result against Louisville proved that. 

Halftime Heat Map
If you stayed up late on the East Coast hoping to see a high octane game against a team with two of the top three goal scorers, you were sadly disappointed. The first thirty minutes of this game, which is when the first shot on goal occurred (by PHX), was a tactical chess match full of defensive low block and two teams trying to hold possession. Indy managed their first shot on target a few minutes later and then a Guenzatti hit the crossbar a few minutes after that. Otherwise, Los Bandidos were making some noise, but it was a relatively quiet crowd as the game crowded around the center stripe with just some small bursts of activity around each goal. Indy nearly gave themselves a late first half hole to dig out of when Rebellon made the decision to try and pass the ball to a teammate while standing on the 18-yard line with two PHX players around him. Arteaga managed to get a shot off that went wide, but he was probably correct in asking for the foul from Diz Pe who had to scramble to cover the mistake from Rebellon. There's a time to play out of the back, but that was not it. Clear the danger and reset your lines. Indy was fortunate the shot went wide and the game remained scoreless going into the break.

After the break, PHX began to tilt the field in their favor, while Indy tried to take the air out of the game even more. Lindley had his second "injury" of the game. Trilk countered with his own "injury." Indy wasn't able to take enough air of the game and Juan Guerra's second half substitutions looked like they were going to be more effective than Lowry's substitutes as Phoenix found the apparent game winner in the 80th minute as the levee broke and Harvey found his head to a Trejo cross to give PHX a 1-nil lead. 

Indy managed just two shots in the 2nd half. They lost the possession battle. They looked like a team that were playing for a draw on the road in the Pacific time zone, and then found themselves staring at a loss with minimal time left on the clock. A late stoppage time corner kick allowed Lindley to give a driven ball to the six-yard box that Diz Pe solidly headed back across goal and past Rios Novo, salvaging a draw and helping reduce that magic number. If I was a Phoenix fan, I would call it a stolen draw; as an Indy fan, I call it a gritty point. I then get the hell on the plane and come back to Indy.

A rare Sunday game awaits the team as the face their third Western Conference team in a row, though this time at Carroll Stadium. If Indy can take protect home field in their final four games, they make the playoffs. Getting a home match to start the playoffs seems unlikely at this point, but who the hell knows with this team lately. I had started writing this game off as a loss and had to adjust. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball
This is easy. There was a moment in the game against New Mexico where the announcers were talking about the height of Diz Pe and they said he is listed as 6'-3". The response to that statement was, "yeah, if he's in a hole." Classic.

Diz used all 6'-3"-ish of his frame to get to the ball that he forcefully headed past Phoenix to salvage the draw. All that after defending Juan Guerra's kitchen sink attack adjustment for the entirety of the second half. I don't care what his stats show. I didn't even look. Diz gets tonight's GBGB for being clutch when the team needed it most. 

Lindley gets a nod too for that corner delivery. The ball was on a string, like it was directly connected to Diz's head and could have gone nowhere else.

No comments: