In this addition of Lady Victory and Her Quest for Glory I will recap the Eleven’s trip to the Canadian capital as they faced the Fury, Eleven’s upcoming US Open Cup game against Louisville FC, and what to expect this week for the ‘Boy’s in Blue’ with a NASL game on the horizon this Saturday against one of the best in the league, the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Both teams headed into this contest desperate for three points with Ottawa in last on 5 points and Eleven two spots ahead by just one more point. However, neither team were desperate to score a goal in the first half. The best chances for the Eleven came from Dylan Mares who had three shots and a deadly cross that should have resulted in a goal in the first half. Sergio Peña was deadly in the first half. He was able to distribute the ball at will because Ottawa refused to pressure the defensive midfielder. However, his day was cut short 34 minutes in as he was subbed off for Brian Brown, due to an injury. Dylan Mares took Peña’s place as a defensive midfielder and did fantastic job with organization and distribution. While Pineda did well in the number ten role to integrate Brown, Rugg, and Wojcik in the attack. The Eleven looked more comfortable playing on the road this game compared to their last road trip to Jacksonville. This had to do with the familiarity of playing on turf and having success last year at the TD Place.
I agree with Ottawa Fury’s color commentator about the first five minutes of the second half being more entertaining than the entire first half. Ottawa made changes at half time bringing on veteran striker, Tom Heinemann which helped Ottawa’s attacking options. Indy’s best chance came in the 47th as Victor Pineda made a smooth L move with his right foot but his left footed shot missed the inside of the far post by inches. The Fury scored the game winning goal in the 88th minute as Brad Ring’s clearance deflected off a Fury player and fell perfectly to Niki Paterson who’s first touch strike was on target from the top of the 18 yard box. However, this result does not reflect how Indy Eleven played. It was an unlucky deflection and bounce for the Eleven and should not replicate how Brad Ring played either. This was by far the best game for the Eleven concerning the final third. Indy showed more creative ideas and options with one to two touch give and goes, rather than relying solely on 1v1 penetrations. If the Eleven continue with this type of attacking prowess, it is only a matter of time before the goals start flooding into the back of the net. I am not trying to take away anything from Keith Cardona who played well in the absence of Kristian Nicht but, the Eleven looked more comfortable, confident and organized with Nicht back in goal.
PREVIEW: INDY ELEVEN V. LOUISVILLE CITY FC
Indianapolis and Louisville have had a rivalry for some time now, especially in baseball. With professional soccer entering the mix, this rivalry only intensifies. Indy Eleven will be able to forget about their recent woes in the NASL and focus on the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The US Open Cup crowned its first champion in 1914 and is the second oldest soccer tournament in the world (according to thecup.us). The US Open Cup is a single elimination tournament played by amateur, semi-professional, and professional teams (my favorite soccer tournament is the FA Cup). Tomorrow, Indy Eleven will host Louisville City FC of the United Soccer League (USL) in the third round of the US Open Cup. Louisville City reached the third round after their 1-0 victory over Lansing United of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The winner of the Eleven-Louisville game will have a date with Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire on June 16th. All NASL teams will participating in the third round with the MLS set to join in the next round.
Do not underestimate the teams and players who play in the USL. The league is highly competitive and several USL teams are affiliated with Major League Soccer teams. Louisville FC affiliation is with Orlando City SC. Former Indy Eleven players, Mike Ambersley (St. Louis FC), Fejiro Okiomah (Pittsburgh Riverhounds), and Ben Spencer (Toronto FC II) currently play in the USL.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams in any competition. However, this past preseason Louisville City FC beat Indy Eleven, 2-1, in a friendly on March 21st. However, Louisville has only won on the road once this year. That win came against Lansing United in US Open Cup/ If Louisville is to score, it will most likely be in the first half. As 11 of their 17 goals have been scored early in each match.
Head Coach: James O’Connor
Captain: Matt Fondy
USL record: 4-1-4 (W,D,L)
Position in the USL: 3rd in the Eastern Conference with 16 points.
Last game: D, 3-3 at St. Louis FC
Formation: (4-5-1) GK, Scott Goodwin; D, Bryan Burke; D, Rivera Shanosky; D, Morad Tarek; D, Enrique Montano; M, Charlie Adams; M, Niall McCabe; M, Juan Guzman; M, Dacres Kadeen; M, Aohdan Quinn; F, Matt Fondy.
NASL record: 1-3-3 (W,L,D)
Position in NASL: 11th on 6 points
Last game: L, 0-1 at Ottawa.
Formation: (4-2-3-1) GK, Nicht; CB, Janicki; CB, Norales; LB, Hyland; RB, Franco; DM, Ring; DM, Peña; AM, Mares; AM, Pineda; AM, Rugg; F, Wojcik.
Goals: Sergio Peña 2. Brian Brown, Erick Norales, and Don Smart with one goal each.
Assists: Dylan Mares, 2; Wojcik Wojciech, 1.
Goalkeepers: Kristian Nicht is averaging 1 goal per game and allowing 5 goals on saves. Keith Cardona has allowed 4 goals on 6 saves in 2 games.
Goals: Matt Fondy, 5; Kadeem Dacres, Magnus Rasmussen, and Rivera Shanosky have 2 goals each. Charlie Adams, Juan Guzman, Austen King, Aodham Quinn, and Nate Polak with one goal a piece. Assists: Juan Guzman, 4; Bryan Burke, 3; Kadeem Dacres, 2; Matt Fondy, 2; Magnus Rasmussen and Guy Abend with 1 assist.
Goalkeepers: Scott Goodwin is averaging .78 goals per game. Goodwin has allowed 7 goals with 26 saves on 3 shutouts.
Eleven: Kleberson, Achilles. Dragan Stojkov, lower leg. Pena was subbed out in the 34th minute due to injury. It will be interesting to see if he plays this game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Eleven: Dylan Mares, midfielder. When looking at the box score, his name and stats may not come up. But the work Mares puts in every game should not go unnoticed in the center of the field. It will only be a matter of time before he gets on the scoring sheet (thank you to the person who recommended to mention Mares. He knows who he is).
Louisville FC: Matt Fondy, striker. Was just named to team and player of the week in the USL after scoring two goals in Louisville City’s come back draw against St. Louis FC. Also named to team of the week was former Indiana University stand out and Indy Eleven player, Mike Ambersley for his goal against Louisville City FC.
QUESTIONS HEADING INTO THE US OPEN CUP GAME:
Will Louisville City FC and Indy Eleven be focused and “all in” on the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup or will they have one eye on their league match on Saturday? Louisville plays St. Louis again while the Eleven hosts Tampa Bay on May 30th.
Quality over Quantity. With Louisville playing four games in eleven days and the Eleven playing three games in eight days, how deep is each team’s roster? Louisville has nineteen on their roster with Indy having twenty-three.
Louisville FC was formed after Orlando City SC left the USL for Major League Soccer. However, Orlando City kept their USL membership and relocated the team to Louisville. This is Louisville City FC inaugural season and is an affiliate of Orlando City. They play their home games at Louisville Slugger Field, home of Cincinnati Reds Triple A affiliate, Louisville Bats.
The 1997 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final was played at Michael A. Carroll Stadium (current home of Indy Eleven). Dallas Burn (now Dallas FC) beat D.C. United 5-3 on PKs.