Saturday, October 7, 2023

Indy Eleven vs FC Tulsa - 10.33


- Opponent: FC Tulsa
- Location: ONEOK Field
- Attendance: 6,444
- Final Score: 2-1 W

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

- Substitution: King 73' (Lindley); Robledo 73' (Velasquez); Pinho 85' (Pinho); Vazquez 90'+7' (Martinez)

- Unused: Crawford, Molina, Reveno

- Scoring Summary:
TUL – Goodrum 34’ (penalty kick)
IND - Velasquez 62' (assist Lindley)
IND - Asante 82' (unassisted)

- Bookings:
IND - Velasquez 49’ (Yellow)
TUL - Goodrum 78' (Yellow)
IND - Robledo 84' (Yellow) 
IND - Trilk 90'+1' (Yellow)
TUL - Seagrist 90'+2' (Yellow)

- Referee: Sergii Demianchuk
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

By the time this game started, it was known that a draw did nothing for Tulsa. They needed to win the game to keep any chance of making the playoffs. Indy secured their spot last week. I wondered if Indy might rest some guys, maybe even play some of their Academy guys. However, knowing that there was at least a slim chance that Indy could finish in 4th place in the table to host a playoff game, Coach Lowry started the same lineup as was used last week against Detroit. Some might argue that "the integrity of the game" required Indy to play their best team given the fight that Tulsa, Detroit, and Miami are in for the final playoff spots, but that isn't me. We all saw what happened when Quinn dropped out of the lineup due to his injury. Keeping Indy's guys healthy is more important to me. If Coach Lowry had decided to play the Academy guys, I would have been okay with that. 

I hate soccer played on baseball fields. Coach Lowry has said that he can have a different opinion of those fields, depending on the field. The Memphis fiasco earlier this season was a field where we both agreed it was garbage. To be fair, everybody agreed that field was garbage. However, Lowry spent all his games in El Paso on a baseball field, so he knows how to coach a team under those conditions and circumstances. He has also said to me that he doesn't believe the phrase, "both teams have to play on the field," in reference to poor fields. A team that wants to hold possession, like Indy, is much more affected by a poor turf than a team that bunkers and counters. If the temporary infield turf is acceptable and the outfield turf is good, then Coach Lowry doesn't have a significant issue with a soccer pitch on a baseball field. Tulsa's field looked reasonable, and Indy played well on it. I still hate watching soccer on a baseball field.

At halftime, Indy would have been able to see that Hartford, yes bottom of the table Hartford, went into Lynn Family Stadium and took points away from Louisville, further cracking that door for Indy to finish ahead of Louisville in the table. However, Memphis took care of their business, and Indy would have also seen that the chance to host a playoff game no longer remained. 

I don't know if that knowledge had anything to do with it, but Tulsa looked like the better team in the early minutes of the second half with more possession and dangerous shots. It took a breakaway goal where Asante carried the ball 50 yards up the field before laying the ball off to his right to Lindley who had made a parallel run with Asante. Lindley one-touched the ball across goal across the six-yard box directly to Velasquez. Velasquez's first touch wasn't perfect, but he had enough space around him to get himself composed after his poor touch and promptly fired it past Nelson to bring the game level. 

With their playoff lives in the balance, Tulsa took the game up a notch as the game became wide open as the two teams combined for 35 shots, 9 on target (4 for Indy, 5 for Tulsa). Indy defended as a unit while Tulsa attacked. Tulsa defended as a unit while Indy attacked. Rinse and repeat for the next 20 minutes until Asante was able to poke Indy's second goal past Nelson in the 82nd minute. After that, it was Indy defending for everything they had to solidify the win, and Tulsa throwing caution to the wind and attacking, knowing that they needed goals.

Indy held on, stayed in 6th place in the table. The win means that depending on the results tomorrow (BHM plays on Sunday) next weekend, Indy could finish as high as 5th place and as low as 7th place. A 5th place finish could mean facing Memphis or Louisville. A 7th place finish means heading to Tampa Bay. Memphis plays in New Mexico, who are still fighting for their chance to make the postseason. Louisville plays Tampa Bay. Birmingham plays Monterey tomorrow and Charleston next week. 

It's impossible to guess how these games might go. I can see a scenario where Indy wins, MEM wins, LOU loses, and BHM get points out of both games but not two wins. That puts Indy in 5th. I can also see a scenario where Indy loses, MEM wins, LOU wins, and BHM win both, putting Indy in 7th. There's also the results that leave Indy in 6th place where they would face Charleston. 

Given the way the season has gone, and the teams that are making the playoffs, any team can win at home or away on any given day. I mean, at this point, two playoff-making teams in the Eastern Conference are going to do so with negative goal differentials (LOU at -2, BHM at -10), while CHS (sitting in 3rd) has a mere +3 GD and MIA (sitting in 8th) has a 0 GD. 

Indy did what they could to make the playoffs and are playing some of their best soccer going into the playoffs. As a fan, that's really all you can hope to see from them. Indy head to San Antonio knowing that no matter the results, they are playing the following weekend, and that no matter the results, they might not change your place in the standings.

The Game Beckons Game Ball
This is another game where I think a few players deserve the GBGB. Velasquez was lively all night. Diz and Jerome were solid in defense. Lindley's cross was perfect on Velasquez's goal. As I've said before, sometimes this just goes to the player who keeps standing out to me based on the eyeball test, regardless of stats. Tonight that was Trilk. I thought he made a couple of great saves on shots that were from close range. Edging out his teammates, Trilk gets tonight's GBGB. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with Trilk receiving GBGB. The saves he made at close range were amazing. In addition to being from close range they were rockets.