What was expected heading into the clash in Canada between the two members of the “class of 2014” in the North American Soccer League Sunday wasn’t the eventual outcome as Indy Eleven were educated to a 4-2 loss against Ottawa Fury. Neither Ottawa Fury nor the visiting Indy Eleven saw this match as anything but another extremely tough game. Both clubs shared undefeated streaks, surging attacks and with Ottawa, one of the toughest defenses in the league.
While the result was painful to watch for many members of the Brickyard Battalion at home and many including myself needed a good night sleep to erase irrational thoughts of the quality of play, the result provides a learning experience for the still interim tagged head coach, Tim Regan.
Indy Eleven suffer defeat; but earn three lessons
There were plenty of factors that are easy to hide behind as a reason for the poor showing in Ottawa. Indy Eleven dressed only 16 of the allowed 18 players as midfielder general Brad Ring and Dragan Stoijkov both were out with injuries. Sergio Pena is still dealing with injury as well. Daniel Keller dressed but was dealing with an injury and Indy Eleven were without speedy forward Duke Lacroix. As a result, Indy Eleven were stuck with limited formations they could use.
Regardless of a poor showing, Indy and Tim Regan should place this tape in the front row of tapes to watch when they need an ego hit. After the game, there was little that you could take away that was positive and most would want to look beyond that match but three lessons emerged as a result of the match:
- Don’t stray away from what you know. Indy Eleven had been employing a strong 4-4-2 and while the numbers were short, a midfield restricted a surging momentum Wojciech Wojcik. Woj could easily have gone up with Rugg and kept the 4-4-2 formation that had earned positive results for consecutive matches before Ottawa.
- Dane Richards provided a stable beginning. This was the first match Dane Richards, the winger Indy Eleven just secured on loan from MLS’ New York Redbulls and without any goals to his name, on plenty of occasions he was able to breeze past the wings of Ottawa and get up towards the goal. The issue then became getting more people up with him, but this was a great indication of what he can bring to the attack for Indy Eleven that has grown over the last few weeks.
- Finally, while the injuries obviously provided an issue when it came to selection there was no reason that Charlie Rugg of all forwards should have been left up top by himself. The midfielder played overcrowded and as a result Rugg struggled to get much in terms of service, nor did he have much success servicing others.
Indy Eleven host a New York Cosmos club that dropped their first league match since the beginning of 2015 last week in Jacksonville. Both clubs will have strong desires of erasing the previous weeks results. Regardless, Indy Eleven will have a lot to work through in order to get back on track and secure their first playoff appearance in club history.