Sunday, July 17, 2016

Anticlimactic End to Indy’s Unbeaten Run - Minnesota United V Indy Eleven REVIEW (7/16/2016)

Indy Eleven Forward Justin Braun against Minnesota at Carroll Stadium

By: Brandon Cockrum (@brew_wallace)

Saturday began with so much potential. The Indy Eleven were on the road in Minneapolis going for a league record 14th consecutive game without a loss. They also had a six-point margin over Minnesota in the combined-season standings and hopes of making it nine points.

Games rarely start as poorly as Indy’s did on Saturday, however, finding themselves down 2-0 six minutes into the match. Minnesota attacked from the wings, beating Indy’s fullbacks and twice finding center back Greg Janicki a step slow to the challenge.

First, Danny Cruz was able to turn the corner on the right wing and dribble the ball along the end line and into the penalty box where he was pulled down from behind by Janicki, at least in the referees eyes. Foul or not, Janicki gave the referee an opportunity to call a penalty when he put his hand on Cruz’s shoulder while chasing him.

The foul set up a penalty kick rematch between Minnesota striker Christian Ramirez and Eleven goalkeeper Jon Busch. Knowing that the goalkeeper knew his preferred shot location, as evidenced by last week’s penalty save by Busch, Ramirez went with power on this occasion. The league’s leading goalscorer blasted the ball to Busch’s right. Busch went low and left again, beaten for a quick 1-0 Minnesota lead. 

Janicki and Co’s evening got even worse as Ramirez slotted home his second goal just three minutes later. The captain was caught a step late to a Stefano Pinho cross from the left wing, while Ramirez moved decidedly to meet the ball. Just like that, the Boys In Blue trailed 2-0.

From the start it was evident that Minnesota set out to dominate the wide channels of the pitch, playing more determined than nearly anything they’d done a week earlier in Indianapolis. The Loons attacked from the wings and defended them resolutely. Duke Lacroix fell victim to a heavy tackle in the first 10 minutes, replaced by Omar Gordon five minutes later.

By the the 20th minute Indy had finally collected themselves from the initial shock and awe of the match and strung together a few attacks across the rest of the half. On both of Indy’s two best chances of the first half, Justin Braun missed getting a final, redirecting touch from just in front of the Minnesota goalkeeper.

Gerardo Torrado made his NASL debut.
The second half of the match saw the league debut for Indy’s Gerrardo Torrado and a full conversion by United to a much more conservative strategy. Indy controlled possession over the last forty-five minutes, finding most of its success through Torrado. But Minnesota was content to sit back, force Indy to attack them and absorb the pressure, while protecting their two goal lead and looking for the occasional opportunity to counter attack.

With Indy forced to chase the game, Torrado’s passing vision and accuracy was on display. The debutant sprayed balls to Braun, Gordon, and an advanced Nemanja Vukovic in attacking positions on the wing, and threaded a few pinpoint passes to forward Éamon Zayed. 

United goalkeeper Sammy N'Djock made the save of the game in the 49th minute, with a stop on a point-blank corner kick header from Justin Braun. 

Indy pressed on throughout the second half, pushing more players forward as the game wore on but never finding a goal to build a comeback upon. 

The game was every bit as chippy as most would have expected, featuring 34 fouls, with Minnesota conceding 21 to Indy’s 13. Somewhat amazingly there were only two yellow cards shown in the match, one to each team.

At the end of 90 minutes, Indy was left contemplating what might have been, while Minnesota were quite happy to get a decisive victory over a club that has beguiled them off and on since Fall 2014.

One large question looms for these recent rivals, will they meet again as NASL opponents before Minnesota moves on to Major League Soccer? It was the final regular season match of 2016 between the clubs and it’s likely that the Loons will be competing in their new league next season. Many NASL fans are hoping Saturday’s anticlimactic match wasn’t the last between the two clubs. Indy has secured it's playoff spot and Minnesota are in good position to quality as well. A playoff meeting in November between the two, hopefully at Carroll Stadium, would offer a much more significant parting match than Saturday's.


As always Bloody Shambles and Permanent Relegation are supporting Playworks Indiana children's charity with our #EamonZayedRule initiative. We are donating money for every goal Éamon Zayed scores this year and you can choose to play along or just make a one off donation to help us reach our target of $2000. Click Here for More Information.

If you love a good card game consider signing up for Permanent Relegation's annual Euchre tournament the Game of Kings II, which will help raise more money. If you are interested, you can find out more info and SIGN UP HERE. Signups have been extended through the weekend and the tournament include players, staff, members of the media and supporters and takes place this coming Wednesday at Chatham Tap in Fishers, it's fun that you just don't want to miss!

Thanks to kind donations at Saturday's BYB Tailgate we have now reached 25% of our goal, but we are still a long way off. Please donate and share amongst friends and help us reach our target by the end of the fall season.

No comments:

Post a Comment