Sunday, August 7, 2016

Started Smart, Ended Smart - Indy Eleven V Ottawa Fury REVIEW (8/6/2016)

Don Smart capped several weeks of great performance with a game winning goal for Indy Eleven
By: James Cormack

As the title of our match preview said "Start Smart and Play Clever", we did exactly that. I am sure there were more than a few people in the last few minutes of this game thought it was going to end in a 0-0 draw but I knew somehow we would grind this out, and as predicted it would take time, Ottawa proved a tough nut to crack, not surprising coming off of three straight wins without conceding a goal. Then they met Indy Eleven.

Late in fall 2013 after Indy Eleven held several tryouts, Don Smart was invited as a trialist to come and play with the team. Luckily for us we saw enough in him that warranted a longer stay, and he is still here. At times Don has been called a super sub, a sixty minute player, a thirty minute player. The fact is though Don gives it everything, for as long as he can and as far as I am concerned he has now solidified himself as an automatic starter in this team. He is playing his best football in a blue shirt and doesn't look like slowing down.

Indy never gives up... neither does Don!
Ottawa started the game with a defensive formation that we expected with Eddie Edward and Maxim Tissot playing tight to the back three of Roberts, Rozeboom and Alves. It proved difficult to find a way through a very congested midfield and final third.

Indy Eleven made a few changes with Souleymane Youla coming in for Justin Braun who had a slight knee issue. Nicki Paterson took up position on the left wing for Mares allowing Ring and Torrado to fill the center and Marco Franco rotated for Lovel Palmer once again.

Chances for either side were few and far between for most of the game, Ottawa almost opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Eddie Edward went in one on one with Busch but his effort could only pass in front of the Indy goal.

Éamon Zayed had the best chance of the game in the 23rd minute when Don Smart sent Nicki Paterson deep into the right corner of Ottawa's 18, Paterson slid a neat pass straight through in front of goal to the feet of Zayed for a tap in but the turf monster struck and Éamons shot went over the bar from a couple of yards out.

The second half of the game was as tight as the first but Don Smart almost got on the scoresheet early in the 50th minute. A great play started by Torrado on the halfway line sent in a great through ball to Zayed who was advancing from the right, he held it up looking for a target and picked out Don Smart beautifully at the far side of the box, Don went in a little too fast and got ahead of the ball failing to get a shot off.

Five minutes later Marco Franco sent in Youla who only had Peiser to beat, Souleymane had beat the offside but his shot was a little too direct and the Ottawa goalkeeper made a fine save to stop Fury from going behind in the game.

Indy Eleven injected fresh pace into the game bringing in Omar Gordon and Dylan Mares at the same time for Souleymane Youla and Nicki Paterson in an attempt to snap a tiring Fury side with around 25 minutes remaining. Gordon almost sent in the game winning assist after gathering a pass from Torrado in the left of the 18 his pass across the box went behind everyone.

Right before the end of the regular 90 minutes, Indy's third substitution Lovel Palmer who had replaced Marco Franco after a knock, snapped a shot from the right side about 23 yards out but the low shot fizzed agonizingly wide of the left upright.

Indy had gained the upper hand through most of the half and as it wore on the pressure intensified around Ottawa's defense. Just as it looked like Indy would run out of time to find the elusive winner, they found it in the second minute of added time, and the goal involved all three of Indy Eleven's remaining players from their first NASL game in 2014.

Ottawa gave away a free kick on Indy's left. Dylan Mares gave a short pass to Ring who gave it straight back, Mares jogged forward with the ball before lofting in a pass to the far post and found Don Smart who tapped in the game winner for Indy Eleven before taking off like Usain Bolt up the running track.

It was a good performance by Indy in what was a very difficult game, kudos to Ottawa for setting themselves up to make it a hard night for Indy, they had their chances as well but couldn't finish one, if they had they may have taken three points, it was one of those games.

Indy didn't panic at any time during the game, they didn't make wild adjustments aside from just adding fresh legs when needed. The passing and control was good and it was all about being patient, and they had to be very patient, I hope we don't have to many 92nd minute wins, but this one was thoroughly deserved and further evidence that this team does not stop playing until the referee says it's over. It was the type of win you would expect from a championship winning side, and the type of performance fitting enough to win a final.

"No-one has ever won the double, the goal and challenge is to win the fall championship and be the first to do that, so it means that we have to stay ambitious." - Tim Hankinson

Indy have now won two of series of three home games and will face Rayo OKC next Saturday. It will be interesting to see how much the managerial shake up will affect the new franchise, Alen Marcina resigned as coach and was replaced by Rayo Vallecano's assistant technical director Gerard Nus amidst much confusion. Regardless of the oppositions current situation, Indy will be looking to make it 9pts from three games and set up an 8th straight home win.

Indy Eleven remain top of the fall standings (NASL.COM)


As ever we are continuing to raise money for Playworks Indiana along with Permanent Relegation and the goal scoring exploits of Éamon Zayed. So far we have been pledged $33.50 for every goal Éamon scores in 2016, so far he has notched 12 across the NASL and Open Cup for a total of $402. Thanks to generous donations at tailgates and watch parties we raised a further $554Permanent Relegation's Game of Kings tournament also raised a whopping $912 bring us to a total of $1868 so far, but we have not met our target yet and we want to smash it, if you would like to help us with this great cause CLICK HERE for more information on how you can donate!!! Please share our effort and use the hashtag #EamonZayedRule on social media.

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