|Vukovic grabbed the winner!|
By: James Cormack
I think I am ready to concede to the fact that I just don't know what Tim Hankinson is going to do next. I am okay with that as long as Indy Eleven keeps racking up points and winning games!
Jair Reinoso and new signing Omar Gordon both made their first starts for the Boys in Blue while Justin Braun and Duke Lacroix warmed the bench. Ubiparipović returned to the side in an unfamiliar role while Dylan Mares was left at home due to illness.
Jair Reinoso repaid his Hankinson's faith by slamming home a beautiful volley to open the scoring for Indy. It stunned Rayo more than it did those watching on BeIN Sports because not even the camera crew could keep up with the play.
One minute we're watching a replay from the other end of the field the next we see the ball in Rayo's net and everyone watching back home in Union Jack Pub thought we were looking at an offside call.
The replay revealed a beautiful over the top pass from Ubiparipović and a stunning strike from the Colombian forward to put Indy in front. Siniša appeared to be a yard short of pace for most of his time on the field, but his contribution was not lacking. Reinoso's goal was worthy of a World Cup final, the ball only took one bounce inside the Rayo area before it was lashed into the net.
|Ubi's pass and Jair Reinoso's wonder strike! 1-0|
Indy Eleven never seemed entirely settled or comfortable in this game. This definitely became more evident after an unfortunate and early exit from the field by midfielder Brad Ring. Gorka Larrea was on the bench but possibly not fit enough for the 70 minutes required.
With only 18 minutes played in the match Duke Lacroix was brought in. Ubiparipović dropped into a more central role in the absence of Ring. It was untimely, with Indy just starting to find their way in a changed lineup, they had to step back and start again.
As Indy continued to try and regroup Rayo struck and tied the game up and blessed the game with another very fine goal. Rayo OKC's Michel was both the victim and punisher as he was brought down around 30 yards from the Indy goal. His resulting free kicked fizzed low and took a spinning bounce right before Jon Busch and found the net.
For Indy Eleven it was all about getting to half time now without losing another goal. It was very difficult to discern Indy's shape at times and you felt we needed a half time talk to settle things down and formulate a plan for the second 45.
The second half pressed on and for the first 20 to 25 minutes it did so at break neck speed, it was only a matter of time before one or both of the teams would tire and it appeared as if Rayo OKC would be the first to run out of steam. After 70 minutes the game started to slow noticeably.
Justin Braun had replaced Reinoso in the 56th minute, Jair noticeably gasping for air when he left the field. Maybe not quite 90 minute fit yet but it matters not if you score goals. Ubiparipović also bowed out in the 75th minute, he had been struggling for most of the game and did well to make it this far. He was replaced by the returning Gorka Larrea to add some late steel to the defensive midfield.
Then Indy struck again. The timing was perfect, Rayo's flame was burning out and with 76 minutes on the clock Nemanja struck the killer blow and notched his second goal of spring. Vukovic won a free kick on the left side. Nicki Paterson floated the kick into Rayo's far post and it was knocked back down by the head of a defender into the path of Nemanja and he calmly slotted the ball home.
|Nemanja's clincher brings home three|
Indy had other chances, Éamon Zayed missed a good chance with only the keeper to beat and even Rayo tried to score on in their own net for us, but their defender missed at close range. The game was won and Indy Eleven never really had to come out of second gear to do it. In the end I am sure many could not wait for that final whistle, we held out, we worked hard and we took home three!
We got our first look at Omar Gordon. He was pacy an aggressive and definitely enthusiastic. Even though most of his time on the ball found him dribbling himself into a hole, he was eager to impress and confident. He has time on his side and now he has a glimpse of playing in the NASL and coach will let him know what is expected. he has the potential to be much more dangerous.
Indy Eleven's defense must be commended again. In four games so far the back line has only allowed one goal from open play. Despite a few scares during the game we reduced Rayo OKC to one free kick goal and of course one of our own defenders supplied the match winning goal.
Wins can be pretty, wins can be ugly, some games can send you to sleep. When there is three points at the end of it and your team remains undefeated, none of that matters. Indy Eleven players are working hard for each other, even if the performance is not always dazzling they are all about the team effort and it shows. It's an exciting time to support this team and god knows we deserve it!
Look forward to a home game next week against FC Edmonton, be sure you have a ticket because this team is turning heads and it most likely will be a sell out, don't be left watching from the roof of the parking garage
Even though Éamon Zayed did not score, you can still get on board with Bloody Shambles and Permanent Relegation to raise money for children's charity Playworks Indiana. CLICK HERE to find out how you can donate, play along and have fun. You can use the provided form to pledge any $ amount per goal for the whole year, make a donation any time Éamon scores, or just make a one time donation directly to Playworks and help us reach our goal of $2000 for 2016. This is a season long effort and we need your help. You can also donate at the BYB Tailgate, look for the red bucket at our tent in Lot B every home game! Spread the word about this cause on social media and use the hashtag #EamonZayedRule