As Indy Eleven drop another match, losing against to Minnesota United 1-0 it begins to beg the question of whether or not the change is going to come in terms of results. As of the combined standings last night Indy Eleven sits low on the table but just five points outside of qualifying for their first playoffs in just two years as a professional club.
While the goal of the playoffs is still in sight for most fans the thought of whether or not the team deserves the playoffs is entirely another. Breaking down the time between victories, Indy has dropped nine goals in the last three games (seven of which went to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers) and before that it was 12 goals in five games.
Indy Eleven: Still learning from their mistakes
What seems to be the issue? Obviously the glory and shining of a new coach in Tim Regan ran out. After going undefeated in the first five games of his professional head coaching debut Tim Regan and crew have only managed to pull together a draw against New York and a victory a few weeks ago that cost Thomas Rongen his job.
After the loss in Minnesota, Indy now has to take on a Jacksonville Armada team that all but shut them down the last time they were out on the field together. The question of what is causing the bipolar behavior for Indy Eleven may be a much bigger question than many would want to admit.
Here are the three things that should be looked at to help improve the play for Indy Eleven in their next few matches:
- Give Wojciech Wojcik more time. It’s unsure if the magic is gone but there was still never an explanation why he was sat after doing the double with two goals in two games. With Regan now bringing the diamond up to a flat four, having Ring and presumably Daniel Keller anchoring the ball in the middle the strength he would give can provide something the team hasn’t had. Woj stands at 6’4 and just over 200 pounds he has the speed and size to fight for the headers and set pieces that Indy so rarely wins. Coupling Woj with a Duke Lacroix or Brian Brown can speed up the attack even more.
- Embrace the wings. The most unappreciated point of most games for Indy Eleven seems to be the wing play. Indy Eleven has created a ton more chances with the help of Kyle Hyland and Dragon Stojkov pushing the ball up on the wings. The new formation that Regan has been easing in (with the two anchor central midfielders) should help support the wings and keep the ball forward.
- Give Cardona the fair shot. His start against Minnesota was his fourth of the NASL season, and his first since Nicht was sold to MLS’ Montreal Impact and outside of the obviously scoreline difference Cardona should an incredible amount of promise. He was able to quickly react and keep his cool as United applied constant pressure for 10-15 minute periods. Cardona should start against Jacksonville and be given a fair chance at least until Kristian Nicht erases the nightmares of the Strikers loss.
Indy Eleven has a lot of work to still do. With nine games left and being just five points outside of the last qualifying position every game needs to be treated as a must win. As Indy Eleven continue to fight for results and continue learning from their mistakes they will have to test and feel out what is the best fit going forward. Indy Eleven have to learn how to walk before they can run and the home match against Jacksonville Armada in front of the Brickyard Battalion will give them that chance.