Pinho Braces Powers Eleven to First Win of 2022, Mark Lowry Era in Indy
EDINBURG, Texas (Saturday, April 9, 2022) – Indy Eleven capped a gritty away performance with a late game brace by forward Stefano Pinho before holding on to capture its first win of the 2022 season – and the first victory for head coach Mark Lowry on the Eleven sideline – via a 2-1 triumph at Rio Grande Valley FC. The win at H-E-B Park allows Indy Eleven to carry a three-game undefeated streak back to the Circle City, where it will play five of its next six contests through the end of May.
The first half was an overly physical affair marked mostly by fouls and stingy play in the middle third. The best early chance for either side came in the 17th minute when Eleven goalkeeper Elliot Panicco came up with an impressive low save on Isidro Martinez’s 20-yard blast. Indy managed to get into the game via some dangerous crosses over the final 15 minutes of the half, but good looks by Alex McQueen and Jared Timmer were handled by RGV before they could find a teammate. Martinez and Eleven midfielder Justin Ingram both wound up from distance during the lone minute of stoppage time, but neither found frame and the match went to halftime as it started at 0-0.
While Rio Grande Valley again held the bulk of the possession out of the locker rooms, all it really had to show for it was Frank Lopez’s effort from the top of the arc in the 56th minute that Panicco did well to parry over his crossbar. Indiana’s Team continued to find more of the ball as the half progressed, and the chances were soon to come, starting with Pinho’s opener in the 69th minute. The Brazilian did well to place defender Mechack Jerome’s ball from near the midfield stripe into the top of the area with his first touch before calmly finishing from near the penalty spot with his second to give Indy the advantage heading into the final 20 minutes.
But Pinho wasn’t done, as he’d bag his third in as many games in the 78th minute on another play started by Jerome, this time with a timely tackle at midfield. Ingram collected and played quickly to substitute striker Aris Briggs, whose inch perfect through ball split two defenders and found Pinho at the top of the area, where he rounded onrushing RGV netminder Colin Miller and finished into the vacated goal to push the Eleven lead to 2-0.
The FC Toros pressure on the final third mounted in the following minutes, and Indy could only hold the fort for so long. Lopez adjusted well to first-time Robert Coronado’s cross to the top of the six, his finish cutting the deficit in half in the 83rd minute to set up a nervy finish. A last gasp attempt at an RGV equalizer came in the final of four minutes of stoppage time via a free kick just outside the Indy penalty area, but the leaping four-man wall did it just, allowing the Eleven to secure its first victory of the Mark Lowry Era.
Indiana’s Team returns home next Saturday, April 16, when it welcomes Atlanta United 2 for a 7:00 p.m. ET kick that can be followed on MyINDY-TV 23, Exitos Radio 94.3 FM/943exitos.com, and ESPN+. Tickets for all Indy Eleven regular season contests at IUPUI Carroll Stadium are available starting at just $15 and can be purchased online at indyeleven.com/tickets.
- Indy Eleven has now gone 21 consecutive league matches without a loss when scoring the game’s first goal, a stretch that dates back to July 2020.
- Defender/midfielder Noah Powder made his 100th appearance in USL Championship action at the opening whistle. The New Jersey native and Trinidad & Tobago international has appeared in four of Indy Eleven’s first five league matches, which combined with his 47 matches with Real Monarchs SLC and 49 with NY Red Bulls II add him to the USLC’s “Century Club”.
- Speaking of the Century Club, midfielder Ayoze made his 102nd appearance in an Eleven uniform – and first of 2022 – when he entered in the 86th minute. The Spaniard had been nursing a lower leg injury since the back half of preseason in February.
- Another member of Indiana’s Team, 2021 leading scorer Manuel Arteaga, also made his first appearance in 2022, coming on as a late-game cameo in the final minute of stoppage time. The Venezuelan forward bagged 10 goals to pace the squad in his first season in Indy last year but had been sidelined after suffering a knee injury in a preseason game in February.
USL Championship Regular Season
Rio Grande Valley FC 1 : 2 Indy Eleven
Saturday, April 9, 2022 | 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff
H-E-B Park | Edinburg, Texas
IND – Stefano Pinho (Mechack Jerome) 69’
IND – Stefano Pinho (Aris Briggs) 78’
RGV – Frank Lopez (Robert Coronado) 83’
RGV – Frank Nodarse (caution) 26’
IND – Bryam Rebellon (caution) 35’
IND – Stefano Pinho (caution) 40’
IND – Alex McQueen (caution) 58’
RGV – Ricky Ruiz (caution) 73’
RGV – Frank Lopez (caution) 76’
IND – Raul Aguilera (caution) 90’
Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2): Ellipt Panicco; Jared Timmer, A.J. Cochran (captain), Mechack Jerome, Bryam Rebellon; Noah Powder (Nicky Law 68’), Sam Brown, Justin Ingram (Rodney Michael 86’), Alex McQueen (Aris Briggs 68’); Raul Aguilera (Manuel Arteaga 94+’), Stefano Pinho (Ayoze 86’)
IND Substitutes: Tim Trilk (GK), Karl Ouimette
Rio Grande Valley FC lineup (4-3-3): Colin Miller; Robert Coronado, Wahab Ackwei, Jesus Vasquez (captain) (Juan Cabezas 72’), Jonathan Ricketts (Luka Malesevic 77’); Emilio Ycaza, Frank Nodarse (Daniel Luis 87’), Isidro Martinez (Juan Pablo Torres 45’); Dylan Borczak (Duilio Herrera 77’), Frank Lopez, Ricky Ruiz
RGV Substitutes: Tyler Deric (GK), Stefan Mueller