Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before: SF Deltas V Indy Eleven REVIEW (6/4/2017)

Lovel Palmer going for the ball during the Indy Eleven home game

By Brian Cook

Have you ever rewatched a movie? Maybe you like the cast, the plot, or the writing of the movie? Whatever it may be this season's Indy Eleven has increasingly become a movie we are still watching. A movie that we know the ending and we know who stars in it but we still watch it. We still watch it because it's entertaining to us even if our favorite character dies at the end. 

Indy Eleven and the San Francisco Deltas finished a lot like they did in the beginning of the season. A draw at 2-2 thanks to a last minute goal by the Deltas This was a slightly different movie though. Let's call it a sequel. Instead of the structured and rigid form that both teams had at the beginning of the season Indy Eleven's defensive weaknesses shined through and the boys in blue had to contend with the Deltas 26 total shots taken during the game (for reference, the first game of the season saw the Deltas have five total shots) 

How the team played on this June 4th game was 100% different than the team that was played during the March 25th season opener but nevertheless the Boys in Blue gave every bit of a chance for the Deltas to be up 10-2 instead of the actual score of 2-2. 

Indy Eleven's Backline:

Indy Eleven's Backline Heatmap (Via Indy Eleven Dot Com)

One of the fascinating things to watch so far in 2017 has been the work the backline of Indy Eleven has put in. A key aspect of previous levels of success for the Indy Eleven defense has been a fluid backline which is typically reflected in the post game heatmaps.  

For the most part Indy corrected it's work and kept itself intact compared to other times (Miami) where they faced the 4-3-3. The goals by Portilla and Sandoval of the Deltas had little to do about positioning on the pitch.

Both goals show where the real defensive issues lie and where most teams look to exploit. While fluid, if you break open and spread out the backline for Indy you tend to get missed marks and quick attempts. 

Black circles indicate Sandoval's heatmap impact on Indy Eleven's back line 

The goal by Portilla isn't an indication of this but what was the game tying goal shows you how much players like Greg Janicki, who Hankinson had praised for his marking ability, were valuable to the 2016 efforts.

Lovel Palmer's Goal:

What can be said about that goal?

Palmer is a right fullback turned wingback turned central defender and now is a pseudo box to box midfielder beside Brad Ring. He tends to favor a holding midfield role that has him playing more stationary and defensive than attacking but this goal was simply beautiful to see. Palmer has become a huge vocal point of the starting eleven for Indy Eleven and it shows that there is still an attack in this team.  

If Lovel Palmer's goal was great, I think Brad 'Legend' Ring's might have been a word yet to be created: 

Legendary Brad Ring living up to his legendary name 

Main takeaway from the game:

The result against Indy Eleven isn't what the team wanted. Being up 2-0 with 10 minutes left in the game is something that should be textbook to wrap up. It shouldn't be something that has the same result as the previous matchups and previous times you have watched your favorite movie. It's a different story. It's a different plot, but in the end the story stays the same and Indy Eleven finally get another point on the board. 

The thing to take away form this game is the slow build. This team is still figuring itself out and it's still learning about it's strengths and weaknesses and still learning about who they are as a club. It's a balancing act that doesn't entirely sit on the shoulders of the players on the field. Expectations have been set based off of last year's performance that Tim Hankinson and his staff (even if they have changed) should be able to stop errors and spot issues and correct them while minimally creating new ones to deal with. 

It's a fair thing for fans to request. It's not difficult. Fix the fixable errors and learn how to minimize the ones you can't fix before the week. If the club ever gets back to a healthy starting eleven we will see what exactly they can do but for now we will want and hope for this team to get back on track. 

At least we can say that Indy Eleven didn't lay down at all during the game:

"Let's call this dance move "The Delta"

No comments:

Post a Comment