|No explanation necessary!|
Little compensation for the absolute mauling our team were given n Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday night. In the short time I have been watching NASL, a little over two years, I have only ever seen one other result worse than this when San Antonio destroyed Tampa 7-0 in fall of 2014.
The team that started was pretty close to what I had picked for this game, only one difference, Brad Ring starting instead of being on the bench and Duke Lacroix making way. I was very happy to see brad Ring back in the squad, but honestly a little surprised to see him start. Match fitness is important, and normally you would expect a player to eased back in, felt he looked a little rusty from the start, but settled later, by that time the game was over.
Nobody could have envisaged just how quickly Indy would lose a goal in this game, with a little over a minute of play on the clock, an initial strike at goal was parried away by Kristian Nicht and Stefano scored what can only be described as an amazing and acrobatic goal, an almost full bicycle kick rocketed into the net at close range.
If that wasn't bad enough Indy gave away a penalty five minutes later. Brad Ring manhandling PC (at least he is not called ocho cinco or something?) inside the box was enough for the referee to blow the whistle. PC converted the spot kick and within only 7 minutes Indy were two goals down!
Dane Richards capitalized on a defensive error in the 16th minute and puled one back for Indy but Ft Lauderdale restored their lead on the 20th minute with a pretty outstanding shot by Marlon Freitas from distance. Even though we had two defenders trying to close, we were all around too slow to deal with this Strikers attack, Nicht could only watch the ball go in, with two players between him and the ball I doubt he even saw the shot go off.
At this point in the game I still thought we had a chance to bring it back. Ft Lauderdale stepped off and allowed Indy to gain some possession, but what we did with it most of the time was clown like. We turnover the ball too much and too often make the least sensible pass. From here on in all the Strikers had to do was relax and toy with us, they could dictate the game, speed it up or slow it down at will. I still thought we had a chance though.
Indy went in at the half two goals down and had a chance to collect themselves. I won't go into the details of the second half too much, we all know what happened. If you are two goals down with 45 minutes to go, you know you have to score next but unfortunately for us with only five minutes of the second half played we went down to ten men after a frustrated and retaliatory tackle from Marco Franco which drew him a red card. It was all downhill from there, the Strikers proceeded to score four more goals in the game to inflict the heaviest defeat on Indy in their short history.
Add to that for two games in a row, not just in my opinion but in the opinions of many people I have listened to, our substitutions during the game and the order in which they happened made no logical sense to anyone?
Why did this happen and how do we deal with it...?
I think it is more important for our team and our coaches to seriously watch this game together with a focus on Ft. Lauderdale, pay attention on what is required to be a successful team in the NASL. They totally had our number and ripped us apart by playing the game the way it should be played.
Yes we need to look at our mistakes, of course we do. But we also need to look at what we are not doing. We don't retain possession of the ball well, we don't make the most sensible passes, we turnover the ball too easily, we lack fitness and conditioning. As a result we always end up chasing the other team and get very tired very quickly in games.
Ft. Lauderdale's attacking midfield and forwards double teamed our full backs, making it easy for them to get balls in front of and behind our defensive line to strikers, when they were not doing that they were tearing us up in the middle in front of our defense. Midfield was not coming back enough to help our defense and way too many holes were exposed.
Referring back to the title of this blog, if Indy Eleven was a train, then it is a train with two few drivers and engineers and way too many passengers. If all your interest in this team is being a passenger then please get off at the next stop, some guys are just not turning up in games.
At the beginning of the season I was impressed that we were trying to bring depth by putting two players in for every position on the field, at least two, but as we can see now our depth is not much more than people making up numbers. If we can't play our best starting back four we have serious problems, and if any one of those players is suspended or injured there is no player of the same quality to step in. That is an issue to start looking at now for 2016.
If tomorrow was the end of the season and I had the job of retaining players for 2016 and cutting players, I can honestly say from the 24 players under contract outside of Kleberson, there is only 10 that I would retain and 14 would be seeing the door, I'd consider signing one of our current loaners if the price was suitable for our budget.
Moving forward, Indy Eleven are by no means out of the play off race, but the only way they can stay in it will rely on the ability to shrug off this defeat and for every player in the squad who is not pulling their weight to have somehow find an extra 10% in their socks and be willing to pull it out.
However in the event that this might not happen the powers that be need to start looking forward to 2016 and start putting pieces in place so that in our third year we don't need to make up an excuse for how badly we have done. We admitted after 2014 we underestimated this league, we can't use that one again. We can blame coaching personnel changes and having to go through upheavals, but it's not going to cut it. Remember we got Ft. Lauderdale's coach fired, and they are now quickly back on a great streak and pushing towards the playoffs.
We need to be a presence in this league but we continually are a laughing stock. We have the highest average attendance and probably the lowest average effort on the playing surface. That needs to change and change quickly. We need to dig this out in 2015 and have the best finish we can possibly have and make drastic but sensible changes for 2016.
Bloody Shambles MVP......
Um..... yeah :) Not happening this week.