Raul Aguilera’s Opener Not Enough to Stem the Tide of Tampa Bay
INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, July 30, 2022) – Indy Eleven started strong, but eventually fell 3-1 to a streaking Tampa Bay Rowdies side in front of a season-high announced crowd of 10,074 at IUPUI Carroll Stadium. Raul Aguilera’s third goal of the season midway through the first half put the Boys in Blue on top, but a pair of penalty kick conversions for the visitors bookended a late first half finish to extend Tampa Bay’s undefeated streak to 12 games.
In his first start since being traded by Indy just nine days ago, Tampa Bay midfielder Nicky Law was at the heart of the attacking action early against his former side, creating a trio of chances inside the Eleven area that were ultimately repelled. The Englishman was also issued the first caution of the match in the 16th minute after a late challenge on his former midfield mate Neveal Hackshaw. Just a minute later Tampa Bay was forced to make an early substitution after midfielder Jake Areman had his ankle rolled up on as bodies flew inside the Rowdies’ six-yard box, with another Eleven alumnus, Conner Antley, taking his place.
That play marked Indy’s first true dangerous look of the match, and its second movement with numbers produced the opening tally in the 24th minute. Defender Jared Timmer advanced up the right channel and curled in a pinpoint cross to the six for Aguilera to nod home past stranded Rowdies ‘keeper CJ Cochran, pushing the Eleven ahead – but only momentarily. In the 30th minute, Tampa Bay forward Steevan Dos Santos went to ground after he drew contact from Eleven goalkeeper Sean Lewis as they chased a loose ball inside the Indy penalty area, setting up a spot kick that Dos Santos took himself, slotting low and left to even the affair in the 32nd minute.
In the dying moments of first half regulation time, Dos Santos went looking for his second only to see his header saved by Lewis. However, Rowdies defender Jordan Scarlett hung around inside the area after the recycled dead ball opportunity and was on the spot to clean up the rebound, putting Tampa Bay in front. Eleven midfielder Alex McQueen tested Cochran three minutes deep into stoppage time, but a sure, two-handed parry allowed the visitors to carry their 2-1 lead into the locker rooms.
After a ragged start to the second stanza, the Rowdies began to put their foot on the gas around the hour mark, a header by Dos Santos and two chances by Sebastian Guenzatti nearly drawing paydirt. Five minutes later substitute Kyle Grieg nearly scored shortly after his insertion, but he ended a 3-v-2 break with a shot from 12 yards that soared over the bar due to a slight deflection by Lewis.
The final half hour saw both sides struggle to generate chances, and it took the benefit of another disputed point to the penalty spot for Tampa Bay to find its insurance tally six minutes deep into stoppage time. Rowdies forward Leo Fernandes stepped up to finish the chance low and with pace, his Eastern Conference best 12th goal of the season putting the match out of reach for Indiana’s Team. The result moved Indy’s winless streak to nine games, and also snapped Indy Eleven’s 25-game unbeaten streak when scoring the game’s opening goal, a stretch that dated back over two years to July 2020.
Indy Eleven will close out its three-match homestand at “The Mike” next Saturday, August 6, against a third consecutive opponent holding a top-four position in the Eastern Conference in Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. Tickets for next Saturday’s match – and all future contests at Carroll Stadium – can be purchased online at indyeleven.com/tickets, and a special discount will be provided to Gen Con attendees who show their convention ticket/badge at the Carroll Stadium Box Office; more details can be found at indyeleven.com/promotions.
2022 USL Championship Regular Season – Matchday 21
Indy Eleven 1 : 3 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saturday, July 30, 2022
IUPUI Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, Ind.
Indy Eleven: 4W-11L-6D, 22 pts. (9th in Eastern Conference)
Tampa Bay Rowdies: 13W-3L-6D, 45 pts. (1st in Eastern Conference)
IND – Raul Aguilera (Jared Timmer) 24’
TBR – Steevan Dos Santos (penalty kick) 32’
TBR – Jordan Scarlett (unassisted) 45’
TBR – Leo Fernandes (penalty kick) 90+6’
TBR – Nicky Law (yellow card) 16’
IND – Raul Aguilera (yellow card) 34’
TBR – Steevan Dos Santos (yellow card) 50’
IND – Juan Tejada (yellow card) 54’
IND – Ayoze (yellow card) 80’
IND – Bryam Rebellon (yellow card) 82’
Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2): Sean Lewis; Ayoze (captain), Jesus Vazquez, Mechack Jerome, Jared Timmer (Sam Brown 76’); Neveal Hackshaw, Justin Ingram (A.J. Cochran 76’), Raul Aguilera (Wilfredo Rivera 64’), Alex McQueen (Bryam Rebellon 52’); Juan Tejada, Solomon Asante
IND substitutes: Tim Trilk, Diego Sanchez, Rodney Michael
Tampa Bay Rowdies (3-4-3): CJ Cochran; Aaron Guillen, Jordan Scarlett, Nicky Law (Yann Ekra 77’); Jake Areman (Conner Antley 21’), Laurence Wyke, Lewis Hilton, Sebastian Dalgaard (Dayonn Harris 77’); Jake LaCava, Steevan Dos Santos (Kyle Grieg 60’), Sebastian Guenzatti (Leo Fernandes 60’)
TBR Substitutes: Phil Breno, Lucky Mkosana