Sunday, July 7, 2024

Indy Eleven vs Detroit City FC - 03.12 (Playoffs)


- Opponent: Detroit City FC
- Location: Keyworth Stadium (Detroit FC hosting)
- Attendance: -
- Final Score: 3 - 1 L

- Starting XI: Phillips, Soderstrom, S., Cherry, Bahr, Snyder, Unkraut, Mitchell, Rogers (C), Chester, Soderstrom, K., Whitsett

- Substitution: Sexton 45' (Soderstrom, S.); Chatterton 45' (Snyder); Darey 63' (Unkraut); Katembo 71' (Whitsett); Jacomen 80' (Soderstrom, K.)

- Unused: Blair, Tobin

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Whitsett 7' (assist Unkraut)
DET - Pagett 20' (unassisted)
DET - Romine 45'+1' (assist Offer)
DET - Addison 75' (unassisted)

- Bookings: 
DET - Childers 58' (Yellow)

- Referee: - 
- Adage goals: One

Thoughts and Opinions

Much like Minnesota Aurora, Detroit City came into the playoffs as the dominant team in their division. Minnesota was 7 points clear of River Light in the Heartland division, while DCFC was 9 points clear of Kalamazoo in the Great Lakes division (keep in mind those two divisions play 2 more games than Indy in the Valley division). Much like last year, Indy had to go through Minnesota and the team hosting the Central Conference playoffs (Flint City last year, Detroit this year), which means that Indy was the road team in a non-neutral site. It didn't matter last year, but it mattered this year as Detroit defeated Indy by a 3-1score to advance to the W League semifinals this coming weekend.

In the opening minutes, both teams looked to get the early advantage. Detroit wanted to possess the ball and play out of the back, while Indy were trying to attack with pace by pressing the Detroit defenders. That press paid off within the first 10 minutes when Unkraut picked the pocket of a Detroit defender before getting a ball to Whitsett. Whitsett proceeded to turn her defender, made a few steps towards the center of the field, and then unleashed a shot to the far right corner that was beyond the reach of Schriver to give Indy the early lead.

The lead would be short-lived though as a clearance from Indy didn't clear the lines and Emily Pagett put her laces through a screamer that was impossible for Phillips to reach. The goal brought the game back to level, but also seemed to settle the DCFC players as they found some good opportunities going forward after their goal, including a 25th minute attempt that had the Indy defenders struggling to keep track of the DCFC attackers.

Both teams seemed to struggle with their final touches in the offensive third. DCFC's struggles were related to effective defending from Indy and just having some errant passes. Indy's struggles seemed to be related to their inability to judge the speed of the turf, regularly putting touches just out of reach of their teammates. The heat of a 1:00 start time, and their inexperience on the Keyworth Stadium field likely played into those passes.

Those forays into the DCFC defensive third that went unrewarded were punished just into stoppage time when a counterattack led to a goal by Romine. Romine had sprayed the ball wide and a lunging Susie Soderstrom was unable to intercept the ball. Before she could recover defensively, Offer put a ball through the middle of the box that found an open and on-rushing Romine, who one-timed it through a tight window of Indy defenders and Phillips, who might have been pushed off her line by a DCFC defender. It was DCFC's best worked run-of-play and they were rewarded with the lead going into halftime. Despite not having many shots on target, they were effective with those shots. 

A 1-1 draw at halftime would have felt like a fair result, but DCFC had one more moment of brilliance than Indy forcing interim coach Kim to make an immediate substitution after the break, bringing on Chatterton and Sexton in place of Snyder and Soderstrom, S., respectively. Kim was looking to get Sexton's and Chatterton's pace and overlapping runs to put further pressure on the Detroit defense now that Indy was truly chasing the game. Indy put a ton of pressure on the DCFC defense in the opening minutes, but were struggling to get the final touch and shot.
Every missed opportunity to get the equalizer and make DCFC nervous went for naught, and an eventual poor clearance from Phillips resulted in a third, game-winning goal by Addison. Indy continued to pepper the DCFC defense, but were unable to break through and Indy watched the home side celebrate their advancement into the league's semifinal game. 

I'm not sure that I would say the better team won today, but the team that made the most of their chances won today. Indy probably had three mistakes on defense all day, and each one of those mistakes resulted in a goal for DCFC, while Indy's attack just couldn't find their rhythm once they got into the DCFC defensive third, and left a number of goals on the table. 

It's nearly impossible to repeat as champions, but that doesn't mean Indy isn't a championship team. This was an enjoyable team to watch, and it will be an enjoyable team to watch next year. There are players on this roster that deserve to find spots on NWSL and USL Super League teams, and it's just a matter of time before we see them on those professional teams. 

When it gets to playoff time, every mistake is magnified, every team is good, and as the defending champions, you're going to get every team's best effort. It wasn't the result the Indy team wanted, but they can be proud of their effort. 

The Game Beckons Game Ball

She transferred from Xavier to play her senior season as Arkansas, but Ella Rogers is going to be one of those players that gets a look from multiple professional teams. Her work rate is unmatched, her skill is high level, & she showed this year that she is capable to scoring if that's the role given to her. At some point, she won't be in an Indy Eleven jersey (unless Indy's Super League team signs her...), but there is no doubt in my mind that she will be playing professionally somewhere after graduation. For her effort today, and for what she has meant to this club, Rogers gets the season's final GBGB.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all team who members and salute to Ella!!