Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Indy Eleven vs Racing Louisville - 03.01


- Opponent: Racing Louisville
- Location: Lynn Family Sports Vision & Training Center
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 3-1 W

- Starting XI: Blair, Sexton, Cherry, Cuneio, Snyder, Darey, Rogers (C), Pelkowski, Mitchell, White, Chester

- Substitution: Jacomen 45' (Mitchell); Unkraut 59' (Cherry); Adam 59' (Darey); Thompson 68' (Chester); Smith 68' (White); Johnson 68' (Pelkowski); Weiger 73' (Blair)

- Unused: 

- Scoring Summary:
IND - White 7' (unassisted)
IND - Cuneio 47' (unassisted)
IND - Jacomen 59' (unassisted)
LOU - Coffield 89' (assist Schupansky)

- Bookings:

- Referee: Shelby Breeze
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

With new players, probably for each team, the early minutes of the game had a definite feeling out look to it. Indy's leading scorers in Williams, Soderstrom, & Dewey, while on the roster, didn't even make the trip much less be in the starting eleven. Neither did Bahr. So while the team has some familiar names from previous seasons, today's lineup was predominantly a new set of faces for fans to learn, and a different group of players of which to start creating defensive and offensive stats. 

One name that I noticed on the roster and immediately wondered why I knew the name was Abby Unkraut. It was only after thinking about it for a minute did I realize it was because I complimented her play in my article about Indy's very first USL W-League game in 2022 against Kings Hammer. Unkraut was a player on that team. The now sophomore at the University of Georgia has come to Indy to play her summer soccer instead of returning to Kings Hammer

There was an early shot for Indy from Rogers, proving that the old guard was still making an impact. About a minute later, Rogers forced a corner kick by attacking her defender, who blocked Rogers' cross attempt. Nothing seemed to came from the team's first corner of the season, however, the ball stayed wedged deep in Louisville's half of the field. When a ball was played back to Brandon, White pressed the keeper hard and Brandon lost the ball to White, who calmly slotted it into goal to start the season's goal scoring. 

After the early goal, the game settled into a fairly even affair with both teams getting good looks at goal. Louisville probably held a small advantage in possession, but just barely. Indy, however, had the more threatening chances, and definitely lead in offside calls. It's difficult to see from the camera angle, but at least one or two of those seemed close. It's early in the season, so Indy will figure out that timing as the players get more used to each other, their tendencies, and their speed. 

While there wasn't any commentary for the game (it's Racing, so we're lucky there was a stream at all), but it was clear from the on-field audio that Racing's coach, Callie McKinney, wants her team to be a high-pressing team. She constantly yelled for her players to push whenever Blair had the ball. Having watched her team concede a goal by doing that very thing must have been frustrating. "[insert name of player] Higher!" was yelled so many times it was like a laugh track on a 90s sitcom.

Indy started the second half the same way they started the first half, in Louisville's box from a corner kick, and getting another early goal to double their lead, just minutes into the half. Suspecting that these two teams could be the ones vying for the Valley Division's lone spot in the playoffs, getting the second goal was an important confidence booster. Though taking their foot off the gas has never been in this team's DNA, and they nearly scored a third just five minutes later.

When they did score their third right before the 60-minute mark, the goal became getting game minutes for other players and keeping a clean sheet for the goalkeepers. Before the referee whistled for play to resume, Coach Dolinsky already had two subs ready to come in. Minutes later, he made three additional substitutions to use every single field player on the game day roster. Minutes later, Dolinsky had cleared the bench of all subs when Weiger came on for Blair in goal. Indy fans don't need me to tell you, but Indy's club leader in minutes played, Rogers was NOT any of those subs.

Unfortunately for Indy, the clean sheet wouldn't come to pass. A late corner kick by Louisville ran across the goal face before Coffield from Louisville finally found a foot to it and redirected it into the goal. The goal prevented a very solid effort from the Indy goalkeepers, but the win remained intact. As we've seen in the past, goal differential can be an important part of who moves on and who doesn't, so Louisville fighting for the goal could come back into player later in the season. For the night though, Indy and their fans will take the win, knowing that they played a good team and came out winners.

Indy have their home opener next Monday night at Grand Park as the second game in the club's packed week of 5 games in 8 days. The aforementioned Kings Hammer come to Indy to experience once again, the volume of noise created by the Indy fans and the BYB inside the Grand Park Event Center.

The Game Beckons Game Ball

There was the little glitch at the end giving up the late goal, but I thought the combined efforts of Blair and Weiger were really good. They controlled their box and made good saves. Even the last minute goal from Louisville, a few different Indy players had a chance to clear the ball, so I don't think you can completely put that one on Weiger. Regardless, on a night where multiple players played well, I want to reward the goalkeepers for their effort tonight against a good Louisville team. So Blair and Weiger combine for the GBGB.

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