|Don Smart's work rate in this game was top notch!|
By: James Cormack
The timing for a turnaround in form could not have been more critical for Indy Eleven. Facing a team so much on fire at the moment the Sun was moving further away from North America, Indy turned the tables. A team that has not won a game in their last six matches put a beating on one who have not lost in the same amount.
I am not claiming to have a sixth sense, nor do I see dead people, but I did say it would not surprise me if Siniša Ubiparipović would start this game, and he did. Indy Eleven went to a similar 4-4-2 diamond that worked so well in the Spring with Ring and Paterson, but this time with Ubiparipović and Torrado.
Dylan Mares came back into the lineup to compliment Don Smart in the width of midfield while Indy also returned Cory Miller alongside Falvey, Palmer and Vukovic in the back line with Justin Braun and Éamon Zayed up front.
Hankinson needed answers from his team, not sure what has been done in training to breathe life back into this team but it certainly worked. Our players were snapping and chasing at Miami when not in possession, and it was relentless making it difficult for Miami to find chances in the final third.
Miami were a competent and comfortable team, great touches, great passing and methodical in their build up play, but they just could not find that killer touch in front of Indy Eleven's goal. It was not the Miami FC I was expecting, and I think Indy Eleven were not the opponent Miami FC were expecting.
|Dylan Mares opened the scoring for Indy with his third goal of 2016|
Our back line played a more conservative role in this game rather than playing too far up the field, we effectively choked the Miami attack making it very difficult to create anything in front of goal in the first half. Darío Cvitanich missed the trip completely after scoring on Wednesday with a hamstring. Enzo Rennella, Poku, Martinez and Palacios made good in roads to goal but couldn't find the finishing touch or figure out how to stay onside at times.
Dylan Mares won a free kick outside of the Miami eighteen in the tenth minute giving Vukovic and Indy their best chance of the game up to that point. Nemanja got the ball over the Miami wall and rattled the crossbar with the keeper Vega beaten.
In the 25th minute Dylan Mares made his mark in the game again this time with a goal. Miami goalkeeper Daniel Vega mad a terrible mistake in attempt to passing a ball to wide midfield he fluffed at the ball and only sent it as far as Justin Braun who chested the ball in the direction of Mares who had time and space to settle the ball and slammed home a low right footed shot that bounced in front of the goal line and went into the net past the helpless Vega.
Indy Eleven having not won a game in their last five had took the lead against arguably the most in form and strongest team in fall season. It was important to move forward in the game and maintain the control over our opposition.
Indy Eleven had another opportunity to test Vegan in the 35th minute with another Nemanja Vukovic free kick. This time Ubiparipović drew the foul in a similar position. Vukovic put better placement on the ball aiming for the top right corner but the ball was slower and Vega easily gathered. The best Miami could offer for the rest of the half was one shot into the side netting of Indy's goal.
Miami had a chance early in the second half to pull the game level, Poku brought the ball deep to Indy's byline and managed to cut back into the box for Johnny Steele in the 54th minute but his shot managed to come off the post and Jon Busch and another Miami attacker.
A few minutes later after some great work on the left from Nemanja Vukovic getting past Poku, his cross ball was flicked on from the head of Zayed into the path of Don Smart and Don did something I always want to see more of, he had a crack at goal. His shot from a tight angle went in with a nick of a Miami defender and Indy Eleven went two goals up.
Within a minute Indy alsmost went 3-0 up after some great control and a turning volley from Justin Braun, it was just off target. Miami answered almost immediately at the other end when a shot from the edge of the 18 by Enzo was on target but tipped over the bar by Jon Busch.
Indy Eleven brought a little freshness to the field after the second goal by bringing Duke Lacroix and Brad Ring on consecutively for Dylan Mares and Siniša Ubiparipović.
Miami FC gave themselves a lifeline eventually in the game, in the 69th minute a Miami FC
|Miami FC's Enzo Rennella|
Indy weathered quite a few attacks in the last twenty minutes but thanks to some great goalkeeping from Jon Busch and stout defending all over the field from Indy Eleven the home side managed to hold on and secure a very important win.
The result came at an ideal moment, on the back of five games without a win this will provide a huge lift to the team. The match against Miami FC is the first of three again the top of the fall table and we have started with three points.
As mentioned in the match preview Indy could face any one of our next opponents in the playoffs, it was important for us not to allow Miami to have any psychological edge over us by winning on our own turf. Indy can now go forth into the next match with a little more confidence.
Elsewhere FC Edmonton held NY Cosmos to a draw in New York, which is a good result for both Indy and Miami. Minnesota also lost 2-3 at home to Ottawa. In the space of one round the whole complexion of things can change. Indy Eleven remain in fourth place, but only one point behind Miami, two behind FC Edmonton and six behind New York who they face next Saturday.
Despite changes to the starting lineup again, it was a solid and confident performance and a transformation from the way we have struggled in recent matches. The next two games for Indy against NYC and Edmonton will go a long way to determining whether Indy are part of the race for fall or not. There are seven more game remaining for Indy Eleven to play before the first playoff on November 5th.
Don't forget 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.