Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Cream Always Rises - Indy Eleven V Minnesota United REVIEW (7/9/16)

Jon Busch reaches and saves the PK from Christian Ramirez

By: James Cormack

It never ceases to amaze me just how much this team raises itself against the toughest opponents. Indy Eleven loves the big game and they have proved it once again. Minnesota United are a force to be reckoned with in NASL but they just can't seem to get a handle on Indy Eleven at Carroll Stadium.

I had a feeling it was going to be a very tight affair, as said in our preview goals are usually aplenty in encounters between these two teams as was evident in the six goal thriller in Spring. But it is a different time and a different game and it definitely could be described as a bit of a chess match throughout.

As we expected there was not too much change from the starting lineup that labored against Puerto Rico last weekend, Lovel Palmer came in for Marco Franco, a sensible piece of rotation to maintain a key players game time. Missing from the roster was new signing Gerardo Torrado who is clearing up his Visa, otherwise it was business as usual.

The first half for both teams was a tale of missed opportunities and of Jon Busch, we mentioned in our match preview that Busch would be a key player in this game and he certainly was. Had Indy gone in a goal down at the half it could have been a much more difficult game for us. Indy and Minnesota were finding it difficult to find good chances in the final third thanks to good defensive work on either side.

Busch showed his fearlessness in the 33rd minute when a cross from Justin Davis was floated in to the back post and the incoming Christian Ramirez. Jon Busch rose above everyone including his own defense to punch the ball away for a throw in.


A few minutes later Busch would get in Ramirez's way again, this time from the penalty spot. Stefano Pinho drew the penalty in what I think is fair to say was some pretty nifty simulation, in attempt to weave between Lovel Palmer and Dylan Mares, Pinho used any kind if minimal contact he could to make a dive and claim the penalty.

The leagues leading scorer Christian Ramirez placed a great shot to the goalkeepers far left but Jon Busch had already decided which way the ball was going and pulled off a fantastic save low preventing the ball from hitting the far side of his net. It was a great reply for a penalty that never should have been given and it kept the score level going into half time. Buschy even took his hat off for the occasion.

Goal scorer Dylan Mares works around Minnesota's Stefano Pinho

The second half continued to be very tight, neither side giving up many opportunities. The game in it's entirety only threw up about 8 or 9 shots on target from either side, one could be forgiven for thinking we may not see a goal in this game at all. That was the way it was playing out until a great piece of awareness from Dylan Mares in the 78th minute.

After an Indy Eleven attack was broken down in the Minnesota box they had an oportunity to counter with Lance Laing but his touch was poor and gave the ball away. Dylan Mares picked it from Laing about 30yrds from goal, turned around Laing and looked up to see N'Djock off his line. Mares placed the ball beautifully over the keeper and into the back of the net to put Indy Eleven into the lead. It was a great piece of opportunism in a game that looked destined to be goalless.


Coach Tim Hankinson had made some tactical changes prior to this point bringing on Duke Lacroix for Gordon to add fresh pace to the attack and brought on forward Souleymane Youla for midfielder Nicki Paterson in an attempt to push for the opening goal. After Indy took the lead Marco Franco was brought in for Justin Braun, sacrificing attack for a strengthened defense. Indy Eleven knuckled down and held off Minnesota for the remaining fifteen minutes to claim another win over tough opposition.

As usual games between these teams are tetchy and in this encounter it got worse as the game wore down. A melee involving all players and coaches spilled into the center of the field after the final whistle. Unfortunately in the aftermath after everything had been calmed down, Indy's Lovel Palmer was issued a red card by the referee and will now miss the Wednesday game against Fort Lauderdale.

It was a great team effort and a critical win with the fall championship in mind, expect to see Jon Busch and Dylan Mares in the team of the week and in the running for the play of the week.

The Silverware has arrived.....

Peter Wilt and Indy Eleven players with the Spring Championship Trophy.

Prior to the start of the game Indy fans celebrated the much anticipated arrival of Indy Eleven's first every trophy. NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson was in town to present to the trophy to captain Colin Falvey and the team along with owner Ersal Ozdemir and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hoggset.

A win and three points added the final touch to a great night of celebration. Indy Eleven made sure that nothing was going to dampen the spirits of the day. The team made sure of their success by being the team nobody can beat, and they continue to let the rest of the league know this is still the case.




Winning Spring ensures us of post season play but winning fall also can bring the NASL Soccer Bowl final to Indianapolis, the players and coaches want that and are not going to let up in pursuit of that goal, if there is a chance to win it all then go for it! The importance of winning six points against a team who likely will join us post season can't be understated.


Post match reactions with Jon Busch, Tim Hankinson and Dylan Mares...



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