Sunday, March 31, 2024

Indy Eleven vs Detroit City - 11.04


- Opponent: Detroit City FC
- Location: Carroll Stadium
- Attendance: 9,044
- Final Score: 1-2 L

- Starting XI: Oettl, Boudadi, Diz Pe, Barbir, Stanley, Gibson (C), Blake, Lindley, Williams, Ikoba, Guenzatti

- Substitution: Schneider 60' (Lindley); Martinez 60' (Ikoba); Collier ' (Gibson)

- Unused: Crawford, Ivetic, King, McCoy, O'Brien, J., O'Brien,E.

- Scoring Summary:
IND -  24' Guenzatti (assist Boudadi)
DET - 55' Coote (assist Rodriguez)
DET - 88' Rodriguez (assist Matthews)

- Bookings:
IND - Boudadi 15' (Yellow)
DET - Diop 42' (Yellow)
IND - Diz Pe 87' (Yellow)
DET - Carroll 90' (Yellow)

- Referee: Velimir Stefanovic
- Adage goals: One

Thoughts and Opinions

In the "early, doesn't mean much at this point of the season" table, both Indy and Detroit come into this game in playoff positions. Detroit second from the top, with Indy second from the bottom (of the playoff positions). Yeah, literally means nothing at this point in the season, other than to say that Detroit has started the season strongly, with 2-1 wins against both Colorado Switchbacks and Loudoun United. Detroit came into Carroll Stadium as Indy's first Eastern Conference opponent, having played three Western Conference teams to start the season, covering the full house results; 1W-1D-1L. 

In the early minutes of the game, it proceeded just as the previous three games. Detroit holding possession, while Indy attacked quickly every time they had the opportunity. The other consistent them in the early part of the game was the appearance of the Indy Eleven training staff as both Diz Pe and Williams needed attention because they were hit in the face with stray Detroit limbs. Despite all the limbs and running up and down the field, the first shot on target didn't happen until the 23rd minute. That shot was from Detroit. Less than a minute later, Boudadi tracked down a ball in the corner, proceeded to nutmeg his defender, before getting a ball to Guenzatti in the middle of the box that Seba proceeded to put in the opposite corner of the goal to start the scoring and open his account for the season. 

It's only Ikoba's second game for Indy after only being here for a short time, but he doesn't seem to have fully grasped what his role is supposed to be yet. Getting the start tonight to get him some minutes, but he didn't seem fully in sync with what his teammates wanted from him. A couple times in the first half, I noticed Guenzatti trying to tell Ikoba where he wanted him to be, but Ikoba didn't listen. I'm sure he'll get there, but he looked green tonight in the first half. 

Half Heatmap
The first half finished with Indy leading 1-nil, playing the way they want to play. Detroit held the advantage in possession, shots, and basically any of the stats that typically get reviewed to see how the two teams compare. Except for the score. The first half was, once again, played predominantly in the middle of the pitch, but was also played more on the wings than the game last week against Sacramento. Boudadi and Stanley are unafraid to make the runs up the sideline, and Boudadi was highly effective in doing so, with long field switches from the midfielders Blake and Lindley. 

The second half started well for Indy with a near goal by Diz Pe on a header from a set piece that he put perfectly down and away from the keeper, but Steinwascher got down low and fast to get a hand to it to parry the ball away from goal. Much like Indy's earlier goal in the first half that happened shortly after a Detroit attempt, DCFC went down the field and had an attempt of their own. Indy fans were happy to see that Detroit weren't able to convert on their chance. The next five minutes were a back-and-forth affair as both team had chances, but the score remained the same. With the way the opening 10 minutes of the second half proceeded, the game looked like it was going to have multiple goals left in it. At which point, DCFC pulled back level with a goal of their own by working through Indy's box. 

At which point, the game became wide open as both teams tried to find the winner. Possession became a premium despite there being plenty of time for both teams to play their game. Indy's tends to be direct anyway, but the goal spurred DCFC to also play a bit more direct trying to catch Indy disorganized defensively with players spread out so much. 

When Coach McAuley subbed out Gibson for Collier in the 75th minute, after already pulling Lindley in the Lindley in the 60th minute, it was clear that play through the midfield was going to be bypassed more and more as Indy chased the winner. "Just looking for a change of shape," was how McAuley explained it when asked. Taking Gibson out as the midfield backstop was a bold move, a clear indication of Coach's intentions for games at home, and one that I worried would come back to hurt Indy. While their absence wasn't the deciding factor, when Detroit knocked in a second goal in the 88th minute from a corner kick scramble, it felt like a game where Indy might have let a team hang around after not converting their own chances. Indy's early season struggles of not being as clinical around the goal as they can be with the talent up front turned a draw into a loss and a 0W-1D-1L early homestand for the team.

The Detroit contingent that made the trek from Michigan down to The Mike went home with smiling faces, as their team has now started the season on a 3-game win streak, and sit 2nd in the table tied with Louisville on points, but behind on the tiebreakers. Again, it's too early to really talk about it at all, but the draw would have kept Indy on the right side of the playoff line. The way the early part of this season is going in the Eastern Conference, not giving up points late could be a big deal as the season progresses. These are the kinds of games that Indy is going to want to get points from if they want to be in the hunt at the end of the season.

Indy travel to play an undefeated Louisville City on Saturday, in a stadium where it's never easy to win, and Louisville is coming off a 5-nil thumping of Birmingham. Indy will need to regroup quickly, because following Louisville is Charleston, the current 3rd place team in the table. Games aren't getting easier as Indy learns to play with each other in McAuley's system. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball
It was good to see Guenzatti open his account this season, but so much of Indy's offense seemed to have Boudadi stamped onto it as he made run after run up the right side. His nutmeg and pass to Guenzatti got the team started tonight. Even in the loss, I thought Boudadi deserved the game's GBGB.

Additional Photographs - Don Thompson Photography

1 comment:

Hal's Blog said...

The Indy Eleven will never compete with Louisville. Lou City has kept a core of players with few leaving the team each year. Quality players want to join the team because of the success. They have had the same coaching staff which is another constant that the Eleven has never seen.
Turnover will kill any team in any sport. The Eleven cannot see this and as a result will be mired in mediocracy for a long time.