Existence is futile and the Eleven make me sad. Let’s dig in…
- As anyone who follows the Eleven could have predicted, Tim Regan chose to go with a 4-1-3-2. Here’s an approximation of Indy’s setup.
- Ottawa went with their trademark 4-3-3, with only three players rotated from the last matchup between the Eleven and the Fury. A visualization of Ottawa’s lineup can be found here.
As has become a pattern, the Indy Eleven were massively outplayed. Yet again, they struggled to create chances in possession and, disappointingly, they defended poorly as well. Looking at the starting lineups, I expected Indy to try to push men into the midfield in an attempt to take advantage of Ottawa’s 4-3-3. Similarly, I expected the Fury to push their forwards inside on the counterattack to draw Indy’s fullbacks in and create overlaps out wide. I honestly couldn’t tell what the hell Indy was trying to do out there, but Ottawa had a clear plan of attack. On most of Ottawa’s chances, their frontline interchanged freely, and their forwards would collect the ball out wide. From there, Indy’s defense tended to focus on the wide player, allowing effective late runs into the box. Of course, this led to numerous chances and four goals.
Nine minutes into the match, center half Greg Janicki pushed forward into the midfield looking with the ball at his feet. When he attempted a pass, it was intercepted and Janikci was forced to rush back to defend. After playing a quick one-two, Ottawa forward Tom Heinemann sped by Janicki out wide before cutting the ball back to an unmarked Sinisa Ubiparipovic, who would fire the ball into Indy’s net. Defensive midfielder Daniel Keller failed to pick Ubiparipovic’s run out of the midfield, and central defender Erick Norales failed to meet him in the box. Ultimately, it was a poor play all around. A similar scenario unfolded just after the sixtieth minute. Right back Marco Franco had pushed up the wing to assist offensively, and, after a turnover, Heinemann moved into the vacated gap on the wing. Greg Janicki shifted out to press him, leaving a gap to be exploited by midfielder Mauro Eustaquio. Indy midfielder Duke LaCroix had been tracking Eustaqiuo, but foolishly stopped as the Ottawa player ran into the wide open space in the box. Since Erick Norales had tracked forward Andrew Weideman into the midfield, Eustaqiuo had a relatively calm finish past keeper Kristian Nicht.
Ottawa’s fifty-fourth minute goal came from a similar scenario to the other two that have already been discussed. Fury forward Weideman dribbled into the center of the pitch, drawing Eleven fullback Kyle Hyland in and creating a gap out wide. Ottawa fullback Ryan Richter exploited the space, receiving a pass and firing the ball back to Weideman in the box. Again, Erick Norales and Daniel Keller failed to pick him up, leading to a goal. The fourth goal for the Fury came after Norales was bowled over on the ball by Andrew Weideman, who raced towards goal and scored with ease. Ottawa had two other big chances, one where Greg Janicki failed to mark Tom Heinemann in the box and another where Heinemann played a long diagonal to a free Ryan Richter after Weideman made an intelligent run to occupy Kyle Hyland. Ultimately, Indy performed very poorly on defense, but was ironically fortunate not to have given up more than four goals.
The Eleven struggled to create in possession once again (surprise, surprise), but did find a tad bit of success offensively relative to their last few matches. Around the sixtieth minute, Duke LaCroix received a pass about thirty yards from goal. Positioned in between the back line and midfield, LaCroix wove his way into the box and fired a shot by Fury goalkeeper Romuald Peiser. Brian Brown made an excellent run to enable the goal, sliding by Ottawa’s left sided central defender to create a gap for LaCroix. Around the seventeenth minute, Indy worked the ball quickly through the midfield, culminating in a through ball to Dane Richards. The Jamaican did not finish, but did well to find a shot. Indy still lacked incision and vertical runs to get behind the defense when in possession, but their offensive performance was slightly improved.
- Indy’s set pieces were fairly lethargic against Ottawa. Oftentimes, there would be little movement by the Eleven in the box, leading to easy clearances for the Fury. It seemed like the Boys in Blue were content to simply let Erick Norales attack the ball on corners and free kicks.
- Duke LaCroix was explosive off the bench, and should start over Victor Pineda next match. Zach Steinberger was solid coming in for Dragan Stojkov, and I didn’t understand the substitution of Wojciech Wojcik in for a decently-performing Brian Brown.
- Dane Richards played like more of a wide-forward than a striker, forcing Dragan Stojkov into the middle of the pitch. It ended up clogging the pitch offensively and didn’t really stop Ottawa’s midfield defensively.
- Marvin Ceballos was electric on the dribble as Indy’s number ten. He clearly wasn’t familiar with his teammates yet, but he’ll come good sooner rather than later.
- Indy has the next weekend off, but plays Freddy Adu and Tampa Bay on the nineteenth of August.