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Three Things - #INDvJAX

Goals, saves, and the fall season - our takeaways from the Spring Season finale
Published Jul 17, 2017

After every game in 2017, IndyEleven.com’s Trey Higdon will give his three takeaways from the performance of the “Boys in Blue.” This week's edition comes after Indiana's Team down Jacksonville Armada FC 2-0 in the club’s Spring finale.

TALLY ONE FOR VUKOVIC AND HENDERSON

“Indiana’s Team” finished the 2017 Spring season strong with a 2-0 shutout against Jacksonville Armada FC in front of a crowd of 8,735 fans. Goals from “Boys in Blue” defender Nemanja Vukovic and midfielder Craig Henderson secured Indy’s 4th victory out of the last five matches. In addition, Indy has collected 13 points in their last five matches; more than any other NASL side in the last five contests.

After several back-and-forth chances in the first 45 minutes, Vukovic opened the scoring for Indy early into the start of the second half. In the 48th minute, Eleven midfielder Brad Ring sent the ball soaring from the left side of the field to a patiently waiting Vukovic at the right edge of the Jacksonville 18-yard box. From there, the Montenegrin defender danced the ball around Armada midfielder Jemal Johnson before beaming the ball at distance beyond Armada ‘keeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell into the upper left corner of the goal.

 

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The goal was the first time Vukovic had scored for Indy XI in 2017 and his fourth overall goal for his team. Vukovic last scored on August 3, 2016, in Indy’s 5-2 stunner against Jacksonville at “The Mike”.

Indy’s next goal and the nail in Jacksonville’s coffin came in the 68th minute by the way of New Zealand national Henderson. “Boys in Blue” midfielder Don Smart made an attempt at goal from just inside the right edge of Armada’s 18-yard box, but the run ended wide of his target. However, XI striker Eamon Zayed kept the attack alive when he met Smart’s cross with a quick pass to Henderson in the center of Patterson-Sewell's box. With a quick stop and turn, Henderson chipped the ball around Armada defender Aaron Pitchkolan into the top corner of Armada’s goal.

 

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Henderson’s goal was his first for “Indiana’s Team” after joining the Circle City side in February this year. Henderson joined Indy after stints in various top-flight sides in Sweden and Norway.

 

SUPERHERO-LIKE SAVES

Indy Eleven goalkeeper Jon Busch chalked up another spectacular performance after keeping a hotly contested clean sheet to close out the Spring season. After collecting 5 saves on the evening, “Buschy” walked away with another brick in his hands and three points for “Indiana’s Team”. 

The first of Busch’s five saves came in the 44th minute when Armada forward Derek Gebhard charged past Indy’s defense into the 18-yard box before making his shot just outside the right corner of the goal. However, Gebhard’s shot met Busch’s legs, deflecting back out to Eleven midfielder Don Smart to restart Indy’s attack. Following halftime, in the 46th minute, Armada midfielder Jack Blake looked to make his mark on the match. Fortunately, Blake’s shot from the right of the box found Busch’s hands in the center of the goal. Minutes later, in the 53rd minute, Armada midfielder Jemal Johnson rocketed the ball towards Indy’s goal from outside the 18-yard box, but a quick dive to the left corner saw Busch collect his third save. Immediately following his third save, Busch collected his fourth in the 55th minute when Jacksonville’s Blake sent a ball from the outside of the box to the top left corner. But once again, the ball met with Busch’s glove and the match continued. Fast forward to the dying minutes of the match, a bouncing cross met with Armada midfielder J.C. Banks’ head in front of the goal. Yet, Banks’ header was no match for Busch’s cat-like reflexes as he deflected the ball out of danger for the final time.

 

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Busch brought an end to the Spring season with a 4th his shutout for 2017 and a total of 52 saves to his name, 28 of which came from the last five matches. Additionally, the 40-year-old goaltender ends the Spring season with the second most saves across the NASL, falling just behind North Carolina FC’s ‘keeper Bryan Sylvestre’s 66 saves.

 

ONWARD TO FALL                                                                                                                                                                                                

Despite an impressive 5-game undefeated streak going into the two-week break, Indy Eleven ended the Spring season in 6th place. Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom in the overall standings. With 20-points, Indy remains just four points off from a potential 3rd place position on the table and six points off of 2nd place. Moreover, Indy remains seven points clear of falling to 7th place. Regaining fitness and finding form have been crucial to returning to winning ways once again. Now, it’s become a matter of retaining that momentum after the two-week break.

Position aside, it’s still very much a battle for a playoff spot with 16 matches awaiting the “Boys in Blue” in the fall. Don’t miss your chance to see all the action firsthand when the “Boys in Blue” return home August 5th.

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