Friday, May 24, 2024

Indy Eleven vs St. Charles FC - 03.03


- Opponent: St. Charles FC
- Location: Grand Park
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 10-0 W

- Starting XI: Blair, Martin, Darey, Bahr, Sexton, Chatterton, Rogers (C), Chester, Dewey, S., Williams, Soderstron, K.

- Substitution: Adam 45' (Sexton), Otto 45' (Chatterton), Smith 45' (Rogers); Mitchell 63' (Williams); Johnson 63' (Dewey); Thompson 63' (Chester); Weiger 63' (Blair)

- Unused: No unused

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Dewey 16' (unassisted)
IND - Chester 20' (penalty kick)
IND - Rogers 25' (assist Martin)
IND - Soderstom 28' (unassisted)
IND - Soderstrom 35' (assist Sexton)
IND - Williams 40' (assist Bahr)
IND - Williams 54' (assist Soderstrom, K.)
IND - Chester 62' (unassisted)
IND - Mitchell 70' (assist Darey)
IND - Soderstrom 84' (assist Otto)

- Bookings: 
STC - Watson 19' (Yellow)

- Referee: Adam Saleh
- Adage goals: None

Thoughts and Opinions

Indy and St. Charles have had an interesting short history. Indy holds a +22 goal differential between the two teams in their first three games. Indy beat St. Charles 8-nil in the first meeting at St. Charles' home, and defeated an outnumbered St. Charles 16-nil when they arrived to Grand Park late in the season with just 9 players. However, in the middle game, St. Charles handed Indy their first and only defeat in division play. The loss stung deeply for the Indy players and may have been what fueled their fire through the rest of the season and through the playoffs. It might not be a surprise that Coach Dolinsky pulled all the veterans into tonight's starting lineup instead of the upcoming young players that fans have seen the first two games. These players may still have a grudge that they are holding against the St. Charles team and want to beat them when they are at full strength and not a depleted team with less than a full starting lineup.

The game started entrenched in Indy's offensive side of the field, but a couple of offside calls slowed down some promising attacks. Indy switched side-to-side to try and break down the St. Charles defense. STC's rare forays forward were fairly easily dealt with by Martin, Bahr, and Darey. The early effort from STC made it look like they might rely on counterattacks and potential set pieces.

Indy's persistent pressure eventually resulted in a goal in the 16th minute when Williams found Rogers who attacked the center of the pitch running along the 18-yard box. Griffith spilled the shot and Dewey was on hand to tap in the ball that Griffith couldn't handle. 

A penalty kick was awarded to Indy in the 20th minute when Chester made her way around her defender in the box who then took Chester down from behind. She tried to hand the ball to Dewey to take the penalty kick, and Dewey promptly gave it right back to Chester. She stepped up and put the ball to the keeper's left out of Griffith's reach to double the scoring.

Martin to Rogers in the 26th minute with an in-perfect ball over the top that Rogers took off her chest to her feet and put it past Griffith to further extend the lead.

Things then started to get out of hand when Soderstrom put in an individual effort in the 28th minute against her defender and put her finish near post between Griffith and the post in a tight window. 

After the fourth goal, STC raised their line of pressure when they realized that the low block they had been doing wasn't being effective against, but they just couldn't handle the effort from the Indy defenders and midfielders. The game remained one-way traffic towards STC's goal until Soderstrom scored once again in the 35th minute. As she did last game, Sexton made a run up the right side, put her foot on the ball, and picked up her head to find a teammate. That teammate was Soderstrom, who once again put a ball in a location where Griffith had no chance at it.

Williams looked a tad rusty with her shots, but her timing and vision looked just as high level as last season. As the half was drawing to a close, Indy's fifth corner of the game finally put Williams on the board when she was able to get her head to Bahr's delivery. The 6-nil lead at halftime could have been more, but it's hard to nit-pick a game where every single statistical category was heavily weighted in Indy's favor. If Indy's starters were wanting to prove something to themselves and St. Charles, they emphatically did that in the first 45-minutes of action.

Indy made a few subs at halftime taking off the captain in Rogers, as well as the two pacy wingbacks in Sexton and Chatterton. Coach Dolinsky didn't fully call off the players, but the play slowed down just a little. Just under 10 minutes into the second half and Soderstrom took the ball deep into the corner before putting a ball across the six-yard line that Williams redirected into the goal for her second on the night.

After the goal, Coach Dolinsky finished off the substitutions taking off some of the vets and bringing on younger players. He continued to not tell them to stop scoring and Indy continued to do just that with Mitchell bringing the goal total to 9. Thompson and Johnson looked extremely dangerous after their arrival into the game and it looked like just a mater of time before they found one. They were unable to cash in on any of their chances, but their lone remaining vet up top, Soderstrom, rounded out the scoring in the 84th minute to bring the victory margin to double digits. 

It's a bit crazy to say with a +10 goal differential and a clean sheet, but this is one of those games where the final score doesn't reflect how dominant Indy was throughout the entirety of the game. STC put a couple shots on target, but nothing that could have been considered truly threatening. With the exception of last year's loss where Indy wasn't clinical around goal and STC was efficient in their limited shots, this series has been very one-sided. Indy now has a +32 goal differential with an average margin of victory of +11.3. 

"There was a little bit of redemption in the back of their minds, and to make amends for last year's performance. Not performance, the result. They came out and they got their goals tonight." - Coach Dolinsky

Indy head to St. Louis next week to face this same St. Charles team. Gotta love the USL W League scheduling. With tonight's starters predominantly being the players that are now working day jobs, fans  will likely see a return to the younger lineup that played the first two games. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball

Seriously, how can you possibly narrow it down to one player to receive the GBGB? There isn't a single player that I can think didn't play exceptionally well tonight. Goals came from everywhere and everybody. Martin and Bahr looked like the same players we saw in the Final last year against North Carolina FC. The goalkeeper pair had minimal work to do, but were effective when called upon to do their job. There was still a little struggle on one of STC's corner kicks that looked threateningly like it was going to spoil the clean sheet, but it was eventually cleared. Since it was a true team effort tonight, I guess I have to just give the GBGB to the stat-sheet-stuffer in Katie Soderstrom. She nabbed the season's first hat trick, while also providing the assist to Williams. 

Photos (Don Thompson Photography)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought the game was very physical as seen in the next to last photo