Thursday, May 3, 2018

Pleasure And Pain Aplenty, Parting Shots From A Rough Ride - Indy Eleven V FC Cincinnati REVIEW

Ayoze from the spot gets his first goal for Indy Eleven (Photo: Clyde Townsend)

By: Rebecca Townsend

Minute 5, Cincy’s Corben Bone is not shut down as he streamed into Indy’s left defensive channel and launches a cross into the box where his striker Emery Welshman escaped a brief interaction with Brad Ring, somewhat akin to a do-si-do, before what looked from the press box to be rather incidental, off-balance contact with Carlyle Mitchell. To the ref it looked like a PK. Cincy midfielder Kenney Walker nails his shot. 1-0.

The hosts redoubled their efforts to regain the upper hand. It did not take them long.

Hungry Indy striker Jack McInerney worked for his meat, feasting on his interception of a Cincy pass in the 24th minute, Cool Jack Mack drives a shot toward Spencer Richey that sent the visiting goalie into full panic mode. In diving to block McInerney’s first effort, Richey set his rival up for a rebound shot. McInerney, a veteran of MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team, embodied cool, calm, collected focus and, with ease, guided the ball into the net. 1-1.

The loins of Indy’s collective fan base grew moist because in that moment Cool Jack embodied such a lovely balance of hard and smooth, a truly delicious combination for a striker. Yummy!

McInerney’s example can serve as inspiration as the team reflects on moments when more patience is warranted once control and possession are established.

Soony Saad awarded the penalty that would put Indy Eleven a goal in front (Photo: Clyde Townsend)

Salivating hunger for goals and the willingness to work for them is a trait shared by Indy’s entire strike force. Justin Braun looked hungry Wednesday, as did Soony Saad, who managed to draw a PK in one of his drives into the Cincy box.

Indy defender Ayoze took the shot and launched Indy ahead 2-1.

The host’s euphoria did not make it to halftime.

Welshman (the same one who headed in a goal for FC Cincy the last time they were in town) set up Corben Bone’s sweet chip to a speedy, wily Jimmy McLaughlin who opened Indy’s defense with an arching run across the 18 from left to right, only to demonstrate artful control by receiving the chip and executing a decisive, one-touch strike from back across the face of goal, past all of Indy’s defense and into the far, left net. Plenty of material for the team to review in terms of marking strategies on this one. 2-2.

Around minute 55, Mike Lahoud’s dish to Corben Bone yields an undeniable cannon of a shot into Indy’s lower left corner for the game-winning strike. The Bitch congratulates Cincinnati, as abhorrent as it may feel. Indeed, Indy deserved it. When all the video review is said and done, it’s likely Indy will find that it has the potential to stop goals like Cincy’s. 3-2.

Marking strategy is something worth considering in greater detail. Several examples could be seen Wednesday of the team communicating about marking needs, which, in short order upgrade from low to high priority. Perhaps the “bitch” of the night could involve the dissatisfaction felt when one witnesses - on at least two occasions - the communication becomes a distraction, meaning players are pointing fingers about who should be where while, meanwhile, those very opponents slide by.

Here’s coach Townsend’s golden rule: the pecking order starts with the goalie, whose word trumps everyone else’s on the field. The defensive line has the second most power: when a defender points to a player and tells a midfielder or striker to get there, the recipients of that message need to shut up, listen and move to shut down the identified opponent.

Soony Saad and Jack McInerney now both have 2 goals for Indy Eleven (Photo: Clyde Townsend)

Wait: one more bitch. This one for the refs. If I were to choose one goof, perhaps it would be that time around minute 75 when you called a foul against Jack McInerney. From the press box, it’s a bet that McInerney was the victim of that altercation.

Notes from the game’s final minutes: “Saad could be concussed from the whiplash he's probably getting from being pushed in the back so hard. Justin was taken down from behind…”

To counter the bitchiness, some positive notes:

High five to Carlyle Mitchell for a nice, hard committed tackle to prevent a Cincy one-on-one against Fon Williams in the 74th minute. Also to Matt Watson for great presence in stopping a threatening counter-attack as the game was winding down.

The Pitch Bitch once soaked up some wisdom from a dear friend with a lifetime of professional soccer playing experience that pertains to the next few days for Indy. It’s about holding your head up and moving forward.

“What do you do to help keep your head up in hard times?” she asked, as they commiserated about the heartlessness of the business of soccer — of deals made and broken — of salary dreams and salary realities.

“Win,” he said. “It always helps to win.” Indy lost this battle, but the war is not over. To win, when we are knocked down, we get up and keep fighting harder. Even though the Pitch Bitch has confessed an irrational expectation that her teams win all games, she accepts reality — for the most part. So, if games must be lost, let one (or two) be lost early on — and let the victories come later. We have one more regular season match against Cincinnati — and they will host it at 7:30 on Sept. 29. (Road trip anyone?)

Indy Eleven has 28 games remaining in 2018, 14 at home. We've got what has to be one of the greatest stadiums in the league. We've got 70,000 seats. Let's party like soccer players and win a damn championship! Then maybe the powers that be will deem it feasible to give Hoosiers the world-class grass they deserve for the world-class players performing for our entertainment and education.

Thanks to the Indy Eleven communication team for the following information:

It's always disappointing to lose,” said Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie. “I think it's a little bit frustrating that we lost goals at the start of each half. It was certainly an exciting game for the fans. From a coaching perspective, I would expect that it'll be an improved performance when we come back to it on Saturday.”

Indy Eleven will finish their three-game stretch this Saturday at 12:00 p.m as defending USL champions Louisville City FC travel to Indianapolis. Fans cans grab tickets to the early afternoon match for as low as $15 at Indy Eleven Tix or by calling (317)685-1100.

If you would like to stand in the supporters section and support the BYB you can buy General Admission tickets with no service charges at BYBTIX and $1 from each ticket helps the supporters group with game day and tailgate finances.
USL Regular Season
Indy Eleven 2:3 FC Cincinnati
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN 
Scoring Summary:
CIN – Kenney Walker (PK) – 7'
IND – Jack McInerney – 24'
IND – Ayoze (PK) – 30'
CIN – Jimmy McLaughlin (Corben Bone) – 41'
CIN – Corben Bone (Michael Lahoud) – 54'
Discipline Summary:
CIN – Forrest Lasso – 60'
CIN – Emery Welshman – 72'
CIN – Kenney Walker – 75'
IND – Ayoze - 88' 
Indy Eleven lineup (4-2-3-1): Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Brad Ring, Ayoze Garcia. Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette; Tyler Pasher, Ben Speas (Matthew Watson 60'), Juan Guerra (Justin Braun 78'), Zach Steinberger (Nathan Lewis 60'); Soony Saad, Jack McInerney
Indy Eleven bench: Jordan Farr (GK); Brad Rusin, Kevin Venegas; Nico Matern, Matt Watson; Justin Braun, Nathan Lewis
FC Cincinnati lineup (4-4-2): Spencer Richey (GK); Matt Bahner, Paddy Barrett, Forrest Lasso, Blake Smith; Michael Lahoud, Kenney Walker, Corben Bone (Will Seymore 81'); Jimmy McLaughlin, Daniel Haber (Manu Ledesma 67'), Emery Welshman (Tomi Ameobi 86')

FC Cincinnati bench: MarkVillage (GK); Sam De Wit, Lance Laing; Will Seymore, Russell Cicerone, Manu Ledesma; Tomi Ameobi

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