Sunday, May 27, 2018

Indy Wrecks Hard During 500 - NYRB II V Indy Eleven REVIEW

Indy Eleven crashes 4-1 to vastly superior MLS Academy side NYRBII

By: James Cormack

New York Red Bulls II kicked off the first half of this game and Indy Eleven quickly pressed to win possession. Having done so the ball was played back to left defense and passed across to Brad Rusin. With time enough to make oneself a sandwich, within 25 seconds after kick off we played a long high ball into the middle of the park. Why? You have to really ask yourself now is this what our team is being encouraged or asked to do?

Color commentator and former Red Bull defender Heath Pearce made a comment within the first five minutes of the match that stood out to me above all the commentary during the game relating to Indy Eleven's style of play...

"I don't think Indy is a team that is focused on being possession-oriented,  they can be very direct, they are not looking to outplay or play through you, even though they have the quality of players to do so."

Worth repeating... "They have the quality of players to do so."

Thank you Mr. Pearce. 

So why is Indy Eleven playing like this? You can't blame it on needing a rest this week, and you can't blame it on the roster as we know we have quality. So after ten games, it has to be said that our coaching staff is setting our team up and asking them to play in a way that is simply not working in this league, it doesn't even work against D4 teams. If they believe it should then maybe they are not communicating their intentions clearly enough to the squad.

Do the basic things correctly, and don't concede possession right after gaining it, not in the first 30 seconds or at any time during a game.

If we have no plan B and are unable to change direction in the way we play or are too stubborn to do so, then it's going to be a long hard season.

Soony Saad scored his third for the season and Indy's only goal of the day.

NYRBII is an Academy team, and from what I could see they play the game the way it should be played. They kept the ball down, played a great passing game, looked for the channels, slotted the passes and used the corners as well as the middle of the park and were very dangerous in front of goal even before they scored their first goal. They were able to use every inch of the field and engage their whole team in attacking build-ups.

A great pass from McInerney into the box that came off the heel of Nathan Lewis was swept home convincingly by Soony Saad to give us the lead in the 21st minute, it was against the run of play really, but you take those. Red Bulls overall play in the half and especially the last 10 minutes would have made a scoreline of 2 or 3-1 to the home side at halftime unsurprising.

To be fair, the mistake that cost us the lead was a mistake any player can make in any league in the world at any given time. The backpass header to Owain from Venegas was badly weighted and it allowed our opponents to seize the moment and pull level. How you react to a mistake like this as a team can define you, we did the same thing again within a few short minutes and it resulted in a penalty decision and we're 2-1 down.

As in the previous match against Bethlehem Steel players are by this time becoming visibly frustrated. Brad Ring was taken out of the game on a yellow for Juan Guerra which is a reasonable decision, I had hoped this would give us a little bit of creativity in midfield, but before long frustration caught up with us and Nico Matern had to leave the field by way of a red card for a second yellow. Indy Eleven's defensive quality thus far has not been just because of a steadfast back line and a great keeper, it has also been because of our great work in defensive midfield, and now our both of our DM's were gone.

We have missed Matern's defensive influence, due to a red we will miss him again midweek.

Eleven down to ten.

Red Bulls continued to play the way they had the whole game, patiently and technically and it was only a matter of time before the scoreline increased. And it did. By the end of the game and into stoppage time, an academy team was able to showboat and tease us. The home team could have easily scored eight goals if it were not for some great stops by Owain Fôn Williams. We fell by a scoreline of 4-1, the most crippling defeat we have suffered in 2018 and for the first time by more than one goal.

We completely folded and crashed like a poorly constructed paper dart into concrete! I hate to have to keep making analogies to our 2016 team, but that team played every minute of every game and they had the courage and the character to come back from behind and eke out results. This team does not, and I am being perfectly honest when I say I do not blame the players (not all of them at least). Martin Rennie has to take this on the chin and face his demons, what you think might have worked in this league, is not working at all.

The only shining light we have up to this point is our away record, unbeaten and having not conceded a goal away from home we were wrecked, shamed, teased and embarrassed on the field of play. It is simply unacceptable and I don't think I am being unkind in saying so. If for some strange reason a coach or a player actually reads this, prove to me I am wrong. I want that to happen more than anything in the world right now!

I will end on a note from last week, there were no excuses for the result at home against Bethlehem, and I for one was not buying any of the reasons given for that loss after the match, we saw no difference in the way we approached a game a week later, same style, same setup and same antiquated form of route one football. We got some much-needed rest and did the exact same thing again. If a color commentator and former player can read us and like an open book and describe us perfectly in such a simple manner, then so can every coach in this league.

It's simply not good enough.


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