Three Lessons: Fixing Indy Eleven’s quality drought

After an embarrassing loss 4-1 to the visiting Ottawa Fury FC, Indy Eleven must now wait eleven days before their next match at home again the visiting Tampa Bay Rowdies. After Saturday night’s thumping Indy are now winless in five games, with only a 1-1 tie with the New York Cosmos on July 20th. In the time since the last win Indy Eleven earned, the team has given up 12 goals (8 of which came from Ottawa Fury), and have only scored four goals in response.

To say that Indy Eleven have underachieved is a vast understatement.

Three Lessons: Fixing Indy Eleven’s quality drought

So what are the issues in Indianapolis? While flashes of greatness provide hope for a team struggling to consistently put the ball in the net, nothing can really fix the fact the team isn’t performing well. After Saturday’s match it’s obvious that changes are needed. Here are three things (or lessons) that the string of results have given Indy Eleven ahead of their extended break:

  1. Players being played in unnatural positions. Indy Eleven normally uses a variation of a 4-4-2 where the two central midfielders move into defensive and attacking roles respectively. With Dane Richards playing up top at times that formation drops down to a 4-5-1 leaving a lone forward to fend for chances. The best formation Indy Eleven had was with Wojciech Wojcik being a support target man for some revolving door of Brian Brown or Duke Lacroix. For whatever reason that was abandoned with no answer to the question of why with two goals in a row, except for an injury why Woj wasn’t moved back into the starting lineup.
  2. Signings in the wrong places. No one could (nor should) argue that people like Marvin Ceballos, Dane Richards, or Daniel Keller were poor signings. The other issue seems to be the “new kid” fever Indy Eleven uses putting their newest signings on the field the week they join the team with little time to blend into the scheme of the time. We have seen this with Steinberger who jumped into the starting lineup 5 days after joining Indy Eleven on loan from MLS’ Houston Dynamo and players like Marvin Ceballos and Dane Richards getting places in the starting lineup shortly after joining the team.
  3. One word that has echoed during the match on Saturday was consistency. With a relatively young or inexperienced team consistency with lineups, training, and other aspects of the game is key. Obviously injuries and mid week games are unavoidable but there should be a certain level of consistency to allow for stabilized playing. This was the issue with Juergen Sommer who experimented with formations before being fired and now seems to be happening under Tim Regan in regards to the seemingly never ending change of who is playing in attacking roles for the team.

The only two positives from the match were the debut of Marvin Ceballos and a tweet from Kristian Nicht. Ceballos played well for the first half, filling a Dylan Mares sized hole that Zach Steinberger struggled to fill as he had little time to adjust to that role. Ceballos made runs, went after the ball, and basically was the attack for Indy Eleven for the first 45. His play provided great hope for a team looking for a shining star and with more time looks to be a valuable asset as Mares recovers from knee surgery.

Never the less,  the devastating result against Ottawa Fury should be a sign to everyone. From the front office to the coaches to the players. The quality, lack of goals, and poor defense isn’t acceptable. The bright point? The message doesn’t seem to be falling on deaf ears:


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