RECAP - LOU 2:2 IND
Preseason Recap – University of Louisville 2 : 2 Indy Eleven
NASL Squad Fights Back from Pair of Second Half Deficits to Earn Draw in First Road Contest
LOUISVILLE (Saturday, March 22, 2014) – Forward Ben Spencer’s goal with 75 seconds remaining gave Indy Eleven a 2-2 draw against the University of Louisville Cardinals in the NASL expansion side’s first true away contest of the 2014 preseason at Cardinal Park. Spencer’s tally marked a thrilling conclusion to a match that went into the halftime break at 0-0 and saw the visitors equalize twice in the last 18 minutes.
“It’s nice to see this type of fight from the guys,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Juergen Sommer. “I think Brad Ring was a real leader on that front tonight with the things he was doing in midfield, the way he continually closed guys down, being psychical, challenging for every ball. To be honest we need to see more guys stepping up and doing those sorts of things, but I think we saw more of it collectively as the game wound down. It was good to see guys not want to lose down the stretch and really step up and not just create opportunities to find goals, but to finish them off as well.”
Sommer’s focus out of the gate was clearly seeing who should occupy some of the team’s few available roster spots, as he inserted six trialists into the starting XI against Louisville. It was the Cardinals enjoying the bulk of the ball in the opening half, but both sides would have trouble finding quality chances on goal in the first 45 minutes. Indy Eleven’s best opportunity came in the 32 nd minute when a cutback pass to the top of the penalty area found midfielder Brendan King in stride, but his first-time shot skipped off the top of the crossbar and out of play.
Indy Eleven endured a scary moment in the 39 th minute when goalkeeper Kristian Nicht collided with center back Erick Norales while punching away a cross. The two stayed down for a few minutes, and while Nicht was able to continue the Honduran international Norales was replaced by Baba Omosegbon for precautionary reasons due to a suspected concussion.
A new trio of midfielders for Indy Eleven – Walter Ramirez, Pedro Mendes and Don Smart – could not tip the scales for the road team immediately at the start of the second half, as Louisville went up 1-0 in the 54 th minute when Nolan Moore’s low shot from the back corner of the area found paydirt inside the far left post.
The Indy Eleven midfield would finally click into gear and swing the possession battle in favor of the visitors, which paid off in the 70 th minute when Spencer was fouled right on top of the penalty arc. It was Smart who would step up and take the dead ball opportunity, and the Jamaican’s strike was quick and decisive, landing inside the left post to equalize at 1-1 in the 72 nd minute.
The tie was short-lived, however, as Louisville forward Will Vitalis would push the home side back in front six minutes later, corralling his own rebounded shot before finishing with authority to the far left post from 15 yards out. But Indy Eleven wasn’t finished either, as with just over a minute left Ramirez’s pass from the right flank found Spencer to the right of the penalty spot. The 18-year-old calmly took a touch, turned and fired, his shot beating Louisville ‘keeper Joachim Ball to the left post and giving Indy Eleven a share of the spoils late.
Indy Eleven Preseason Exhibition
University of Louisville (NCAA) 2 : 2 Indy Eleven
Cardinal Park – Louisville, KY
Saturday, March 22, 2014
LOU – Dylan Moore (Ricardo Velazco) 54’
IND – Don Smart (unassisted) 72’
LOU – Will Vitalis (unassisted) 78’
IND – Ben Spencer (Walter Ramirez) 89’
IND – Walter Ramirez (caution) 64’
IND – Brad Ring (caution) 71’
LOU – Michael DeGraffenreidt (caution) 71’
IND – Baba Omosegbon (caution) 74’
IND – Jaime Frias (caution) 84’
Indy Eleven Line-up (4-2-3-1): Kristian Nicht; *A.J. Corrado, Erick Norales (Baba Omosegbon 39’), *Jaime Frias, Chris Estridge; Brad Ring, *Paolo DelPiccolo; *Brendan King (Don Smart 46’), *Dylan Mares (Pedro Mendes 46’), *Bryan de la Fuente (Walter Ramirez 46’); Ben Spencer
- Smart’s goal was the second of the preseason for the Jamaican, who scored the squad’s second goal in their exhibition opener versus Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Casa Grande, Ariz., on Feb. 5 (2-3 L).
- Indy Eleven had 15 of its 16 signed players available tonight thanks to the arrival of Spencer earlier in the week. The towering target forward officially came to the Eleven on loan from Norwegian side Molde on March 11.
- The only absent player among Indy Eleven’s signed contingent was English midfielder Corby Moore, who also signed on the 11 th alongside Spencer. Moore is expected to arrive in the U.S. at some point within the next week.
- Two of Indy Eleven’s seven trialists on tonight’s roster were intimately familiar with the Cardinals. Midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo was a four-year standout for Louisville between 2009-12 before being drafted by the Montreal Impact of MLS and playing for German club Eintracht Frankfurt's U-23 team in 2013. Midfielder Dylan Mares - a native of Zionsville - spent three years at Louisville from 2010-12 before transferring to Indiana University for his redshirt-junior season last fall.
- Mares' Zionsville and IU running mate, A.J. Corrado, also supplemented the Eleven roster as a trailist this evening.
- Another trialist with Indy Eleven, former Chicago Fire midfielder Brendan King, knew the Cards quite well too, as the four-year starter for Notre Dame played against Louisville in BIG EAST Conference play while with the Irish from 2009-2012.
- Indy Eleven will have a little more than a week before it returns to match action on Tuesday, April 1, when the checkered-clad squad will host the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer in West Lafayette, IN. Kickoff from the Boilermaker Soccer Complex is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
- Tickets for the Eleven vs. Fire contest are on sale for $11 & $15 dollars online at IndyEleven.com . Portions of proceeds from the exhibition contest will be donated to the Indiana Soccer Foundation's Rachael Fiege Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide assistance for soccer outreach programs including TOPSocccer benefiting youth throughout Indiana.
Indy Eleven 2014 Preseason Schedule (scheduled matches subject to change)
Feb. 5 – Indy Eleven 2 : 3 Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS)
- Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Feb. 7 – Indy Eleven 1 : 3 Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
- Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.
Feb. 12 – Indy Eleven 0 : 2 Portland Timbers FC (MLS)
- Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.
Feb. 26 – Indy Eleven 2 : 4 Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
Mar 15 – Indy Eleven 2 : 0 Tourbeau Soccer Academy
- Westfield High School in Westfield, IN
Mar. 22 – University of Louisville (NCAA) 2 : 2 Indy Eleven
- Cardinal Park in Louisville, KY
Apr. 1 – Indy Eleven vs. Chicago Fire (MLS)
- 7:30 p.m. ET at Boilermaker Soccer Complex in West Lafayette, IN
Apr. 4 – Indy Eleven vs. Indiana University (NCAA)
- 7:30 p.m. ET at Michael A. Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis