|Éamon Zayed sends home his first of three goals against Armada.|
The Brickyard Battalion celebrated their fifth anniversary since the initial conception of the supporters group by singing the national anthem from the West End, and the players gave the fans the perfect birthday gift by notching a goal in the game for each of those years.
Éamon Zayed scored his second hat-trick for Indy Eleven with three goals bringing his total goal tally for the club in competitive play to 12 goals, 11 of those scored in the NASL and now sits one goal behind Cristian Ramirez in the race for the golden boot.
It did not take long for Indy to further increase the managerial headache currently being suffered by Tony Meola. Just Braun ended his goal scoring drought by opening the scoring for Indy Eleven in the 13th minute with his first league goal since the 4-2 win over Minnesota United earlier in Spring.
It took Indy Eleven on three more minutes to double their lead, Éamon Zayed gathered a perfectly weighted cross from Don Smart on Indy's right, controlled and drilled the ball home from about 16 yards out from goal. It was a well made goal, notable for the fact that Zayed actually started the move himself by robbing Jackonville's Jérôme on the half way line allowing Smart to pick up the ball.
|Nemanja Vukovic nets his third goal of 2016.|
Armada pulled one goal back through Alhassane Keita to give Jacksonville some hope in the 33rd minute, but those hopes faded fast as Nemanja Vukovic stepped up to score his third goal in an Indy Eleven shirt. An attack started by Don Smart on the right found the head of Zayed in the box who nodded down but Armada cleared but only to Nemanja some 25yrds out, Vukovic brought the ball down and drove a low curling shot into the right side of the Armada goal. Indy went into the break with a 3-1 lead.
Jacksonville can consider themselves a little fortunate that Indy did not break any records last night. The scoring in both halves could have been much higher. The second half saw two more goals from Indy and a consolation for Jacksonville unfortunately scored by returning captain Colin Falvey.
Zayed scored his second and third goals in the 58th and 65th minute. A ripping shot from Dylan Mares that cannoned off the post then deflected off of Justin Braun fell neatly to Zayed who poked home from close range to put Indy 4-1 up. Éamon has a knack of being in the right place at the right time, he also pounced on his third goal from close range after a ripping shot from Justin Braun was parried by Armada keeper Sean Lewis.
Indy finished up the game 5-2, a late own goal from Colin Falvey was small consolation for what was a very bad night for them. Indy don't let in too many goals and arguably the two we conceded were just unfortunate. Falvey did the right thing staying in front of the attacker in an attempt to clear the cross whipped in from Armada he just caught the ball late and it went in off his toe, outside of this Falvey was a rock at the back and as good as ever after returning from injury. Jacksonville's first goal had a little luck in it to, an attempt to press the attacker from Don Smart led to the ball deflecting off of him and into the path of Keita.
An unfortunate event late in the game saw the sending off of Greg Janicki and Alhassane Keita. Greg had been tracking Keita going towards our goal and had gained possession of the ball but Keita was pushing and pulling at Janicki's back and was promptly dumped out of the playing area by Janicki, he pretty much deserved it. Keita spent some time rolling around on the turf pretending his face was hurt for some reason, just blatant acting and a lack of professionalism. The end result was both players being red carded. The timing of the return of Colin Falvey is fortunate and we will likely see him partner Cory Miller on Saturday against Ottawa.
It was a great performance and one that we should see more often, we can play like this against any team, the fact that Jacksonville are struggling this year does not detract from how well we played.
Don Smart was a big difference maker, I have been calling for him to start for two weeks now. He gives so much to our game from the wing that we don't normally have, he had some kind of involvement in almost every attack of the game, whether making an early touch in a buildup or supplying the final pass in front of goal. Smart connected with 26 of 33 passes, had a 100% success rate on crosses and on tackles and duels. AND he got to play for 90 minutes.
Don proved against Edmonton and Miami that he can be more influential than most in a short space of time, it was fitting he was rewarded with a start and proved without doubt he can provide the same vision, intelligence and creativity across 90 minutes. His head is always up, he is always looking for the killer pass and if he has one weakness at times it might be unselfishness, there are always those one or two times you just want to see him crack a shot at goal when the opportunity presents itself.
|Don Smart - Adds the quality of service Indy needs.|
As well as the return of Colin Falvey who led the back line well, Jon Busch also returned and made several critical saves during the game to deny Jacksonville any further goals, not least his stop in the 2nd minute of the game to prevent Armada from opening the scoring. Jérôme unleashed a blistering shot from a free kick some 40 yards from goal which Busch parried out for a throw in. (see video below).
The overall team performance and work ethic was outstanding, our forward line was hungry and clinical, our creativity from the width was ample enough to create more than enough goal scoring chances, hopefully Indy can bring this momentum forward into the next two home games and secure another six points. The three goal deficit from this game was enough to lift Indy Eleven back into the number one spot in the fall standings.
Éamon's 12 goals this year have now raised $402 from pledges alone. Well done Éamon!