Thursday, May 9, 2024

Indy Eleven vs San Antonio - 2024 U.S. Open Cup


- Opponent: San Antonio FC
- Location: Sellick Bowl at Butler University
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 2-0 W

- Starting XI: Sulte, O'Brien, J., Ofeimu, Diz Pe, Stanley, Lindley (C), Blake, Guenzatti, Mines, Martinez, Williams

- Substitution: Boudadi 57' (Mines); Gibson 57' (Lindley); Ikoba 72' (Martinez); Collier 72' (Williams); Schneider 73' (Boudadi - seemed to be due to an issue with his contacts)

- Unused: Oettl, Wootton

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Williams 2' (unassisted)
IND - Blake 10' (assist Stanley)

- Bookings:
SA - Hernandez 20' (Yellow)
SA - Chol 41' (Yellow)
IND - Guenzatti 58' (Yellow)
SA - Burks 66' (Yellow)
SA - Lacey 69' (Yellow)

- Referee: Kyle Johnston
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

While I love the US Open Cup, it was either head to Butler University and the Sellick Bowl or go to my daughter's track meet. Sorry boys, my daughter's more important. She set a personal record so I'm glad I didn't miss that. Plus, this is my side gig, so I have the freedom and flexibility of discussing, roughly, at my leisure. So you're getting my thoughts a day later.

I might be a bit late discussing it, but Indy didn't show up late for this game. They stepped onto the field last night like they had been drinking Red Bull, while San Antonio looked like they were running in wet concrete. Indy was in a different gear to start the game, and if I'm honest, looked like the team that I think McAuley was saying he wanted them to be when he talked in preseason. They pressed San Antonio to the point where it was nearly impossible for San Antonio to get out of their own half. That effort resulted in a 2nd minute (1 minute 12 seconds) goal by Williams that McIntosh couldn't corral.  

Just like that, Indy had the game winner. They obviously didn't know that was going to be the case, but the goal stood as the winner for the next 88 minutes and 48 seconds. There was an 8th minute handball in the San Antonio box that wasn't called, somehow called Indy offside instead, which could have made it 2-nil within 10 minutes. Then minutes later, Indy did make it 2-nil with a 10th minute "ball don't lie" moment to make up for the non-called handball. Another clear chance late in the half would have made it 4, while San Antonio had maybe a couple of half chances in the first half that forced saves from Sulte, but were mostly from distance giving him time to react. Going into the locker room, Indy had and deserved their lead. Indy felt good about the way they dominated the half, and had a two-goal lead to show for it. 

Indy are now undefeated in Open Cup games at the Sellick/Butler Bowl. The field looks like it is difficult to play on, but Indy have found a way to come out victorious each time they have played there. 

Indy will now continue their Open Cup run in the Round of 16 on May 22nd when they host fellow USL Championship team Detroit City at Carroll Stadium. The team have already played each other this season, at Carroll, with Detroit coming from behind to get a 2-1 win thanks to an 88th minute goal from Rodriguez. Detroit has played well to start the season, but Indy seems to be playing better recently. Knowing that a quarterfinal game could be waiting for them, I'm guessing both teams are going to take the game seriously. Unfortunately, Indy will play the previous Saturday against Hartford, and the following Saturday against Phoenix, while Detroit, on the other hand, will have 18 days between league matches. They play this Saturday (the 11th) and then don't have another league game until the 29th (a full week after the Open Cup game). They are going to be rested going into a match on the 22nd, and won't be worried about roster rotation nor saving energy. They'll probably also have a good traveling contingent with them, so that will be a tough game for Indy, despite having the home-field advantage.

This was a good win for Indy, and now they shift their focus back to the league as the travel to Miami for a game on Mother's Day Sunday. Miami has also struggled out of the gate this season so Indy will look to expand upon their current 5-game undefeated streak across all competitions that started with the US Open Cup win against the Chicago Fire II.

The Game Beckons Game Ball
Sulte. Yeah, I know Indy scored two goals within 10 minutes, and could have scored more. Hunter Sulte had 6 saves to hold onto the clean sheet as San Antonio tried to get back into the game in the second half. A clean sheet win in the US Open Cup to get to the Round of 16 gives Sulte the edge for the game's GBGB.

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