Three matches in eight days is never easy, and three away matches can be even worse but for Indy that was the cure to their troubles as they sunk Jacksonvile Armada at home 3-0. This was the fifth game of the 2015 North American Soccer League campaign for Keith Cardona. Pretty clear since the crushing 7-1 defeat handed down by the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Interim Head Coach Tim Regan and his assistant Jose Kleberson see Keith Cardona as their best goal stopper and his first shutout as a member of the Boys in Blue confirmed that.
It’s Keith Cardona’s Time to Shine
Now, two games into another string of starts for the New York Redbull Academy product, Keith Cardona seems to be the best fit as goalie for the foreseeable future. While reviewing the 7-1 loss against Fort Lauderdale Strikers and realizing that the seven goals conceded weren’t as much Kristian Nicht’s fault as they were the risk versus reward scenario weighed out by Tim Regan and his staff, Nicht has been given the last few games off with Cardona being a stud between the posts in the interim.
When goalie Kristian Nicht was first signed by Indy Eleven before year one he quickly ascended the ladder of popularity for the team. As he performs goal kicks, the Brickyard Battalion chants aggressively “Das boot” as the German goalie winds up to surely sail the ball to the best spot for his team. When MLS’ Montreal Impact called and requested the services of the six foot five inch German, it was the team’s newest goalie signing Keith Cardona who stepped up to fill the role.
Keith Cardona should be the goalie for the rest of the year. Not many Indy Eleven fans would really disagree with that statement at this time. The only reason there would be disagreeing on Cardona replacing Nicht for the season would be the honeymoon period as a new club Indy still is in in terms of “big” moves. When Nicht was sold to Montreal Impact it was a new experience for fans because none of the players had really been sold to another team, just released.
While Nicht continues to be one of the more popular faces for Indy Eleven, Cardona has had two very confident as well as productive performances in Minnesota. The issues that faced Nicht’s poor performances really lie with the defence and the constant changes of the roster. It also just has to do with luck. Truthfully, that’s the reason he’s been on the bench for the last two games. Soccer is such a game of streaks and groves that with the bipolar quality of play that Indy Eleven has had change was clearly evident.
If Indy Eleven is to really try and get the playoffs as the constant “they are only so and so many points out of the last spot” arguments circle the team they will need to administer some consistency. Cardona in goal along with the “backstreet” backline of Marco Franco, Erick Norales, Cory Miller, and Kyle Hyland will provide stability for a turmoil defense that has come about since the middle of the fall season.
Cardona’s place between the posts should be clear. While Nicht has been a fan favorite Cardona is much more stable as a goalie. Nicht still has a ton of quality and hopefully both can stay with the club for a long period of time but for now, it’s Keith Cardona’s time to shine.