Friday, July 5, 2024

Indy Eleven vs Rhode Island - 11.17


- Opponent: Rhode Island FC
- Location: Beirne Stadium
- Attendance: 4,728
- Final Score: 3-3 D

- Starting XI: Sulte, Ofeimu, O'Brien, J., Musa, Stanley, Mines, Wootton, Lindley (C), Guenzatti, Collier, Williams, R.

- Substitution: Chapman-Page 45' (Musa); Martinez 61' (Guenzatti); Williams, A. 61' (Collier); Gibson 71' (Williams, R.); Scheider 83' (Lindley)

- Unused: Oettl, Neidlinger

- Scoring Summary:
IND - Wootton 20' (assist Lindley)
IND - Collier 28' (assist Williams, R.)
RI - Nodarse 52' (assist Ybarra)
RI - Nodarse 69' (assist Ybarra)
IND - Gibson 79' (assist Martinez)
RI - Angking 90'+5' (assist Kwizera)

- Bookings:
RI - Nodarse 19' (Yellow)
IND - Mines 35' (Yellow)
IND - Sulte 54' (Yellow)
IND - O'Brien, J. 59' (Yellow)
RI - Williams 80' (Yellow)
RI - Kwizera 84' (Yellow)

- Referee: Ricardo Montero Araya
- Adage goals: One (but boy was it a big one)

Thoughts and Opinions

The Stadium at Tidewater Landing
One of these teams is in season 11 of their existence. The other is in their first season. One of these teams has plans for their own stadium. The other has their stadium in active construction. If you thought that the longer existence team is the one with a stadium in construction, you would be wrong. Rhode Island, despite a decade less history is currently constructing their own stadium, while Indy's stadium plans have been mired in starts, stops, and a mayoral MLS debacle. The good news for Indy is that they came into the game with an 11 point advantage over Rhode Island and a 6 position lead in the table. Rhode Island came into this game with a 3-game undefeated streak including a 5-2 win AT Louisville, while Indy are trying to bounce back after a 12-game undefeated streak across all competitions came to a screeching halt in a 1-nil loss to Orange County.

Despite Indy's 10-day hiatus from game minutes and the bad taste in their mouths from the Orange County defeat, the Eleven had two immediate chances at goal from corner kicks, but were unable to get the scoring started. After the second attempt, the game become wide open with end-to-end action with Rhode Island putting two of their own shots on target. Once the two teams both found their chances, the game settled down until just before the 20th minute. Mines tracked down a ball before it went over the end line and turned back towards the center of the pitch. Nodarse was late with his challenge, giving Indy a free kick just outside the box, and receiving a yellow card for good measure. Instead of Indy putting the ball into the mixer in the box, Lindley put a perfectly weighted ball to Wootton who was standing at the top of the box. Wootton first timed the ball and with the help of a slight deflection found the back of the goal.

Indy then doubled their lead with a quick counter and a deft chip from Romario Williams over the back line that put Collier in on goal alone against Lee. Collier calmly put the ball to Lee's right to give them 2 shots on target and 2 goals despite a significant disadvantage in possession. Through the first 30-minutes, Indy utilized the counterattack perfectly to give themselves a two-goal advantage. Rhode Island had a couple of good forays into Indy's defensive third, including an effort from Dikwa that required some last-ditch defending from Musa and O'Brien. As the half neared the halftime whistle, Rhode Island was forced to defend three consecutive corner kicks, all of which Lindley would tell you he should have done better with as none of them made it past the first or second defender. The corner kicks just didn't give the rest of the Indy players a chance to make a play. However, Indy had done enough to get to the halftime break with the 2-nil advantage.

All those missed opportunities at the end of the half were exacerbated when Rhode Island pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute turning the game on its head with a corner kick headed goal by Nodarse. Then Rhode Island pulled the game level in the 69th minute with a nearly exact corner kick head goal by Nodarse. Rhode Island's dominance in the second half were rewarded with goals that forced the final 20-minutes of the game to be an unnecessarily nerve-wrecking affair from the Indy fans' perspective. As the game began to look like it was getting out of hand for Indy, Coach McAuley brought in Gibson to try and regain control over the midfield. It was the late game substitute that found what looked to be the game-winning goal in the 79th minute. However, a 90'+5' stoppage time goal from Angking solidified a win that went to a draw that went to a win that went to a draw. Indy begins another undefeated streak, but conceding such a late goal definitely has the "draw that feels like a loss" vibe to it. 

As Indy reaches the halfway point of the season, it's definitely better to conclude the first half with a positive result on the road. When the team is still sitting in 3rd place in the table and reached the 30-point mark 7 games faster than they did last year, it's difficult to complain about this result. Yet, Indy let this one slip away from them. 

Indy return to action on Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup in Atlanta before returning back to The Mike to take on Loudoun United.  

The Game Beckons Game Ball

I thought about giving this to Romario Williams again this week due to his clear ability on the ball that facilitates getting others into the attack or not lose the ball, but I want to reward a different player this game. Tyler Gibson is a player that has not had the kind of minutes that Indy fans are accustomed to seeing from him during his previous time with Indy. Gibson has made due with a substitution role, often as the team is trying to see out a game and they need his defensive abilities. I honestly thought that was why he was brought on tonight, to help stabilize a midfield that was getting torched in the second half. While I do think that he did that, he also showed a concerted effort to break the Rhode Island defense and get into the attack. He nearly had one goal just a minute before he scored if Lee hadn't kept his body large and closed down the angle to prevent Gibson from getting a good shot through Lee's legs. Gibson was dynamic in his substitution role and I'm going to reward him with tonight's GBGB.

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