Pressure Cooker

Last week’s loss on the road to Miami was pretty disappointing. Perhaps it was a low point for the team. But what they did with it Wednesday night was inspiring and worthy of the championship moniker they pursue.

Determined and angry, they set a high-pressure tempo against Jacksonville that paid dividends almost immediately when they netted goals in the 13th and 16th minute. Justin Braun and Eamon Zayed opened accounts, respectively, with the latter finishing the game on his second hat trick of the year. With Vukovic also getting in on the scoring spree, redeeming himself after a few uncharacteristically poor defensive mistakes, the team cruised to an easy trouncing of the Armada. Colin Falvey’s own goal in the 80th minute was the first moment they began to look unsettled, as a team, and this vibe carried through the next ten minutes culminating in an ejection for both Janicki and the Armada’s Keita following a scuffle.

Regardless. 5-2 victory.

Definitive statement: made.

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Striking Back

Eamon and Justin desperately needed the goals they made this game. The two strikers had been in a rut. Whether because of poor service, occasional isolation, or a combination of factors Eamon had not had a big game in quite some time and Braun had been suffering an absolute drought.

But both got back in form this time around, working hard both on and off the ball. The duo were at the heart of play time and again, repeatedly coming back to win possession in the defensive half then turn and begin pressing play forward again. Their energy and workhorse mentality combined to drive the relentless attack all the way to the end.

A Lack of Druthers

Captain Falvey is back but now Janicki will be missing from the next game. Greg Janicki’s suspension for Saturday’s match will be another in a string of recent woes for Indy’s back line, a condition that has left them with very few choices of late. Corey Miller is an able substitute (and a fan favorite) but this has to put a crimp in Hankinson’s plans. Working Falvey back from injury, you have to wonder if Hankinson would have even started him on Saturday had Janicki remained available. Now there can be little question.

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Even So…

Indy is top of the combined and fall tables again. The offense is firing. Defense is a known quantity, and a good one. There is only one more facet to hammer out. Eamon Zayed broached the subject in his post-game interview last night–Indy just has to learn how to win on the road.

Struggling away from home is the last thing I expected from this veteran team, but for whatever reason (I swear it’s not the Floridian heat) that’s precisely what they’ve done. Drawing on the road will only get them so far. A time will come when New York, Edmonton or some dark horse will go on a run and just winning at home won’t be good enough anymore. The Eleven must garner a few road wins down the stretch or hopes of dual Spring and Fall titles will eventually perish.

With home games against Ottawa and OKC up next, the Eleven will have the opportunity to pad their league lead before trying the road again on August 20th against a struggling Carolina RailHawks club.

Here’s hoping they take advantage of the opportunity.

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