Monday, May 25, 2015

Indy Eleven win the race to the bottom! (Ottawa Fury V Indy Eleven 5/23/15 Review)

Ottawa's less than stellar TV coverage
included a score box that engulfed about
10% of the viewing area.
I knew this game was going to be tight before it even started, my gut instinct was telling me 0-0 but I picked a 1-0 win for Indy because I figured some of the team will be turning up with a point to prove, but alas we saw the same old show for four weeks in a row now. Indy Eleven as I have said before are a squad with some reasonable talent in it, but also are a team bereft of any ideas or tactics. We turn up, we play, we try things that never work and more often than not offer absolutely no killer instinct up front, opening situations where eventually the other team will score and we will lose, or as we saw against Carolina we manage to score then spend the rest of the game doing our best to give up a lead. I'd like to say to everyone things will get better, but unfortunately they are not. With FC Edmonton's win yesterday Indy now find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with three very tricky games coming up.

This match was a tale of two sides who to be honest do not play attractive football at the moment. Indy looked disjointed and lacking confidence once again, it didn't take long at all for them to fall into a long ball game again and they probably played more long ball in the first 30 minutes than they did in the whole of the match against Minnesota. Passes were sloppy, possession never lasted further than three or four passes. The first half was typical of what you could expect from both teams as they matched each other in unremarkable soccer, the quality of play was only slight better than Ottawa's terrible coverage which included commentators that couldn't even name their own keeper, cameras that filmed the empty side of a stadium and a score box that players and the ball seemed to keep disappearing into. The second half... see opinion on first half and repeat.

I'll argue against anyone who says we didn't play too badly in this game, we were sloppy, devoid of any creative spark and our only real chance at a goal came from a midfielder when Pineda made a good turn in the box in the second half but could only curl the ball wide of a goal with only one defender on the line. I think if you go to 27.08 mark in the game and watch Charlie Rugg's pitiful attempt at playing in Wojcik by passing it straight to the defense, that totally sums up where we are as a team right now. Up until Pena's unfortunate exit from the game after 30 minutes, he had one good pass in the game which was a back heel and almost every time he got the ball in space he tried to lob it over everyone instead of using the space in front of him and retaining possession. We offered nothing against a team that is arguably the weakest in the NASL Division. Neither team were worthy of a goal in this game, and only a stroke of fortune helped Ottawa score. An attempted defensive clearance by Ring deflected off an Ottawa player and it landed in good position for them to have a drive at goal and it went in, everyone was caught off guard. Stuff like that happens, but the problem is if you play the way we play and have no cutting edge to score or put teams away, things like that are going to defeat you. There is literally nothing to highlight in this game other than the goal. I think it is fair to say that very few players in this Indy Eleven team are on the same page at all.

I am not sure which is the most concerning thing for us right now, the fact that we have three games left in Spring against very tough opposition or that we are in such poor form going into out first US Open Cup game of 2015 on Wednesday. Tampa for sure are very dangerous right now and I think it is going to be a long and painful night for the supporters, but I really hope that I am wrong. Away to Ft Lauderdale may throw up a chance for us, Strikers have been stop start this season but they always will be dangerous, and for sure more dangerous than Ottawa. Our final home game of spring I really worry about, don't be fooled by Edmonton being below us before the weekend, they are a team who has had to play twice a week for the last three to four weeks because of the AmWay Cup, they defeated Ottawa Fury twice by three goals to one and were very unlucky not to knock out Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS, a team who is in fine form in that league this season.

Will the Open Cup game against Louisville City FC be a welcome distraction for the team, or the nail in the coffin for our current coaching setup? A defeat on Wednesday would certainly call for many to question whether we really have a clue what we are doing at all. Louisville knocked out Lansing United by a solitary own goal. This was a little surprising to me because the NPLS team have only just begun preparation for their current NPSL season, Louisville have been playing USL Pro games for a couple of months now, I expected them to do better but I have watched Lansing play twice last year and they are a good club. Indiana Fire opened their NPSL season in Lansing on the Friday after their cup exit and drew the game 0-0. This tells me that Indy Eleven should have enough to overcome Louisville and make that tie against Chicago Fire in June. If they don't, then god help them, there will be a lot of questions asked.

So the big question on every supporter's lips right now, what is the real problem with our team? Is our squad really just this bad, or have our coaches totally lost the dressing room. As much as I hate to say it, I have to go with the latter. Of all the teams I have watched in the NASL this year, and I have watched them all, only Indy Eleven seems to have no real game plan at all, we have already slipped into a mode of just trying any lineup we can to make things work and nothing is working. Even in the game where we got lucky and took a win there was a lot to be concerned about, and to be fair, anyone who has really spent any time dissecting our games, this is not something that just started in 2015, we look as bereft of ideas this year as we did last and we can't continue like this. As supporters we may have to just suck it up until summer, I believe unless things change dramatically then there pretty much has to be personnel changes at the coaching level, it's as unfortunate as it is inevitable. The body language, the lack of effort and to be honest fitness compared to other teams says to me that things are not okay behind the scenes. Despite that fact, there are many players getting time on the field who are not giving it their all, I can understand unhappiness in the ranks, but in the upcoming games I really hope they will consider the supporters who are behind them, they really deserve a little better!

Bloody Shambles MVP: No comment!

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