Sunday, September 24, 2023

Indy Eleven vs Rio Grande Valley FC - 10.31


- Opponent: Rio Grande Valley FC
- Location: Carroll Stadium
- Attendance: 10,316
- Final Score: 1-0 L

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

- Substitution: Dambrot 45’ (Rebellon); Martinez 45’ (Pinho); Velasquez 62’ (Robledo); Molina 76’ (Blake)

- Unused: Crawford, Reveno, Vazquez

- Scoring Summary:
RGV – Lopez 18’ (assist Davila)

- Bookings:
RGV – Knapp 8’ (Yellow)
IND – Blake 12’ (Yellow)
RGV – Benitez 18’ (Yellow)
RGV – Ricketts 22’ (Yellow)
RGV – Lopez 45’+ 3‘(Yellow)
IND – Dambrot 46’ (Yellow)
IND – Robledo 55’ (Yellow)

- Referee: Thomas Snyder
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

The magic number for Indy to make the playoffs keeps going down thanks to the other results in the conference even with Indy’s recent run-of-form in the last three games, but Indy knew coming into this game that if they can get six points out of their final two home games this week, then they will make the playoffs for the first time since 2019. With a little more help from Tulsa, and a win tonight Indy would have solidified their place in the playoffs. As a result, Indy came out of the gate on the front foot, hoping to put this game to bed before Rio Grande Valley could find their footing in the eastern time zone.

After the flurry of activity from Indy in the opening minutes all in RGV defensive half of the field, a defensive turnover in Indy’s half of the field led to a break for RGV that resulted in the first goal of the game in just the 18th minute. 

RGV found their footing. 

As has been a recurring theme for Indy through the early part of the season, Indy found themselves trailing and searching for an equalizer to make their early effort mean something. As the half progressed, Indy had some close chances, but the effort in the final third was just slightly off as shots went off the post or passes were unable to find their intended target. It felt like Indy lived in RGV’s half of the field, but were unable to break through.

The first half was a half of restarts as referee Thomas Snyder’s whistle was active. There were 27 fouls conceded in the half, with 5 yellow cards issued between the two teams (4 to RGV, 1 to IND), and another 5 offside calls. As a result, the flow of the first half was very disconnected and start-and-stop. Both teams each managed just a single shot on target, but Indy was the more dangerous side around goal and held a 60/40 possession advantage. 

Knowing the importance of getting points in this game, but more specifically three points, Coach Lowry made immediate substitutions coming out of the halftime locker room. Martinez replaced Pinho to give a different look up top. Rebellon came out in place of Dambrot, which allowed Boudadi to shift over to the right side, where he and Asante have developed a good partnership on that side in recent weeks. Dambrot then went full Drew Conner mode and picked up a yellow card within seconds of being on the field with his first effort in the game. The active whistle continued, causing the game to remain as a game of restarts instead of a smooth flowing game. In the end, there were 50 conceded fouls, 7 yellow cards, and 9 offside calls. There was just never a good rhythm to the game.

As the game continued, the play became more and more stretched with counter attacks being the primary method of offense. In the moments when Indy attempted their counter attacks, the RGV defense retreated in mass, creating moments where there were 7 to 9 guys behind the ball, mostly tucked into the middle of the field, making passes and crosses difficult. Indy could never find a way to get through the orange wall that RGV presented once they had their goal.

Indy will likely still make the playoffs, despite this loss, but it’s going to be as much a function of other team’s results as it is Indy’s. However, the loss makes the chances of hosting a playoff game nearly impossible. Indy return to Carroll Stadium on Saturday for their final home game of the season against Detroit City, who have scrapped their way back into the playoff race, and could, depending on the results of their game on Wednesday, leap frog Indy. 

Aodhan Quinn has missed the past three games, and Indy are a 90'+5' goal awayfrom losing all three games. That's just a coincidence, right?

The Game Beckons Game Ball
I think this is going to be another one of those awards for their play over the span of a few games instead of just tonight's game, but Jerome has been playing well recently. He looked absolutely shaky during the early part of the season, and not in the form that I saw from him during his time in El Paso. With more regular minutes due to the backline injury and suspension issues, he seems to have finally settled back into his pre-Indy form. So Jerome gets tonight's GBGB.

Additional Photos (Don Thompson Photography)

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