Saturday, October 14, 2023

Indy Eleven vs San Antonio - 10.34


- Opponent: San Antonio FC
- Location: Toyota Field
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 3-3 D

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

- Substitution: Robledo 59' (Velasquez); King 59' (Lindley); Pinho 77' (Martinez); Reveno 77' (Boudadi); Chapman-Page 85' (Diz Pe)

- Unused: Crawford, Molina 

- Scoring Summary:
IND – Blake 9’ (assist Lindley)
IND - Guenzatti 37' (unassisted)
SA - Patino 45'+4' (penalty kick)
IND - Diz Pe 54' (assist Lindley)
SA - Oluwaseyi 58' (unassisted)
SA - Taintor 88' (unassisted)

- Bookings:
SA - Taintor 8’ (Yellow)
IND - Lindley 24' (Yellow)
IND - Martinez 36' (Yellow)
IND - Boudadi 45'+2' (Yellow)
IND - Asante 45'+3'; 61' (Yellow, Yellow, RED)
IND - Diz Pe 67' (Yellow)
SA – Lamar Batista 74' (Yellow)
IND - King 90'+8' (Yellow)

- Referee: Elijio Arreguin
- Adage goals: Two

Thoughts and Opinions

The USL Championship is going to USL Championship. By that, I mean that things never really seem to go as expected. Coming into the weekend, the top of the table was set. Pittsburgh couldn't be caught for first. Tampa Bay couldn't be caught for second. Charleston couldn't be caught for third. However, spots 3 through 8 were unsettled. 

A Memphis draw would have given them 53 points and they would hold the tiebreaker over Louisville even if LOU won, giving MEM 4th place. A LOU draw would give them 51 points and would hold the tiebreaker over Indy if Indy were to win and get themselves to 51 points. If Indy drew and BHM won, they would be even on points, but Indy would take 6th due to the second tiebreaker. BHM would get 7th, and Detroit and Miami were battling it out for the 8th spot against Pittsburgh and Sacramento, respectively. So MEM, LOU, and IND just needed to draw their games and playoff positions would have been more or less set, with the exception of the Detroit and Miami battle.


MEM started the weekend's proceedings on Friday by floundering to a 4-1 defeat against New Mexico United in Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. That meant that the draw that LOU likely would have been working towards at home against TBR flipped on its head because a LOU win meant that they would leapfrog MEM and finish fourth to be able to host a playoff game. Knowing that LOU were going to be going all out against TBR meant that they would make themselves susceptible to a loss against a TBR team who didn't have anything to gain from the game, but also wouldn't want to roll over and let LOU win. So Indy went from considering a draw against San Antonio as fine to thinking that a win in Texas and a TBR win in Kentucky would mean that Indy would finish in 5th. Finishing there doesn't help Indy host a playoff game, but it does feel nice to finish ahead of the consistent winners of Louisville.

With the exception of the psychological advantage of finishing higher up the table than your rival, I kind of preferred Indy finishing in 6th. A 5th place finish would mean a return trip to the potentially atrocious field in Memphis that they saw last time Indy played against MEM. A 6th place finish means a trip to CHS, a team that Indy had success against this season. Admittedly, the first win (a 4-nil victory in CHS) was helped out by the 1st minute red card showed to Archer, but Indy found ways to score in that game. Indy has a 4W-2D-2L record against CHS since entering the USL, and a 3W-1D-0L record since the pandemic. Coming into the game, I was okay with a 6th place finish. 

So what could have been a ho-hum weekend at the top of the table turned into an absolute dog fight after Memphis' loss. As Indy were getting started, they would have already known that BHM had lost to CHS so there wasn't anybody behind them that could supplant their position in 6th even with a loss. So a move up the table was definitely possible if they wanted to go all out. They would have also been able to see that LOU v TBR was at halftime with a 3-1 score in TBR's favor after TBR scored in about 30 seconds after the starting whistle, and LOU was throwing the kitchen sink at TBR to get the win after going down early, getting gifted an Own Goal, giving up a penalty kick that was missed, and then conceding two goals from Jennings in rapid succession. Indy would have known that a move up the table was possible.

Whatever they knew coming into the game or whatever team they would have preferred to play, Indy came out against San Antonio and found an early goal in the 9th minute on a long cross from Lindley that ran through most of the 18-yard box before finding Blake who put the ball passed Marsman. Indy looked like a team that was wanting to win this game, results in the table be damned. San Antonio had their own chances early, finishing the half with 7 corners and 6 shots (3 on frame) to Indy's 1 and 9 (4 on frame), respectively. Yet Indy is setup perfectly to play on a a field like Toyota Field which has a natural turf surface, and Indy consistently, and easily, moved their possession style through the San Antonio midfield in the first half. San Antonio nicked a stoppage time penalty kick goal when Boudadi was charged with bringing down Bailone, who looked to me like he did as much of the pulling down as Boudadi did. Either way, the teams went into the halftime locker with Indy still up a goal to find that Louisville had lost to Tampa Bay. 

Then, as the USL Championship is want to do, the game descended into Crazy Town. Diz Pe scored a goal to give Indy their third goal on the night. Five minutes later, San Antonio found another goal on a scramble situation when Trilk had one of his rare mistakes on the night and was unable to collect the initial shot cleanly. A few minutes after that, Asante picked up a second yellow card on a fairly light call after getting his first yellow in stoppage time of the first half due to arguing the penalty kick call, forcing Indy to finish the game down a man. Now up a man and down a goal, it was a frenetic finish to the final 30 minutes as San Antonio fought for an equalizer, which they managed to do in the 88th minute. Indy closed out the remaining 2 minutes + TEN MINUTES of stoppage time (originally shown as 5 minutes) to see the game, somehow, finish in a 3-3 draw.

It's the kind of draw that feels like a loss that feels like a win. Let me explain. Indy should have won this game. Until Asante's untimely dismissal from the game, Indy controlled the midfield and looked like the team that we all expected them to be when the roster was announced so many months ago. So when San Antonio found their equalizer, it felt like a loss. Yet, by not picking up all three points, Indy drop back down to the position on the table where they have spent 8 of the last 9 weeks of the season, 6th place. That means they head to Charleston and not Memphis. Again, I don't know the team's preferred location, but I think going to Charleston is a better situation for Indy than Memphis.

Indy will be on the road to start the playoffs. With this season, just about anything can happen and likely will, but Indy are playing good soccer right now and will be doing so on another grass field in Charleston, where their style of play works well. Tonight's game followed much of this season's frustration of results that didn't match performance, but I don't think the result was necessarily a bad thing for Indy. With the obvious exception of losing Asante, who has been playing really well in recent weeks. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball
I don't normally like to give the GBGB to the same player in back-to-back games, but Trilk deserves it again tonight. San Antonio put 8 shots on target, many of them from close range, and Trilk made 5 saves. Down a man and trying to maintain the slim lead, there were moments where it felt like Trilk was on the wrong side of a firing squad and he made some spectacular reaction saves to keep Indy in the game. Feels strange to give the GBGB to a goalkeeper when the opposition scores three goals, but if it hadn't been for Trilk, it would have been worse.

1 comment:

dltphotog said...

Trilk played his ass off!! Great effort!