Captain Ayoze Scores in Club Record 116th Appearances for Indiana’s Team
HARTFORD, Conn. (Saturday, August 13, 2022) – Despite controlling the second half on the road, Indy Eleven’s comeback bid at Hartford Athletic fell short in a 2-1 defeat at Trinity Health Stadium in the Connecticut capital. Eleven captain Ayoze marked a record-breaking night with a penalty kick conversion that halved the Hartford advantage just before halftime, but it wasn’t enough to end Indy’s winless stretch that hit 11 games (0-9-2) with the loss.
With kickoff came a milestone for Ayoze, who took sole possession of the club’s career appearances record at 116, his 100th start in an Eleven unform breaking a deadlock in the category with former teammate from the 2018 season and “Eleven Original” Brad Ring. The Spanish midfield maestro is on the cusp of another career mark for the club, as he now sits one start behind all-time leader Karl Ouimette’s 101 in that category.
It didn’t take long after kickoff for the Eleven to get a look, as Solomon Asante’s shot from the corner of the penalty area forced Hartford goalkeeper Yannik Oettl into a save 10 seconds in, giving an Indy side struggling to score a promising start in the final third. Hartford began to put its stamp on the match as it approached the 10th minute with a pair of quality attacks, but Indy netminder Sean Lewis was up to the task with a parry of Prince Saydee’s dipping shot and a 1-v-1 stoning of Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. via a kick save at the top of his area.
Hartford grabbed control of the contest with Danny Barrera’s opener in the 19th minute, when he had ample time and space to fire a dipping shot from 22 yards that just beat a diving Lewis at his left post. Athletic doubled their pleasure just seven minutes later by finishing off a 3-v-2 counter attack that saw Ariel Martinez accept Saydee’s final pass and finish inside the far right post to put Indiana’s Team in a sudden 0-2 hole midway through the opening stanza.
In a summer of hard luck, a rare – and deserved – break went Indy’s way just before halftime, when defender Robby Dambrot was tripped down inside the area to earn the Eleven their first penalty kick off the 2022 campaign. It was Ayoze stepping up and burying the spot kick into the left side netting past Oettl’s lunge, giving the Eleven captain his second goal of the season – both coming against Hartford – and providing the visitors with some momentum heading into the locker room.
Indy indeed carried that energy into the start of the second half by taking the first four shots of the stanza, including a pair by Asante that forced Oettl into stops. Striker Stefano Pinho entered the fray just before the hour mark and looked to make his mark in the 62nd minute with a shot from the top of the area that again brought Oettl into action. Saydee’s 65th minute shot from distance that flashed just wide of the left post was the only serious look Hartford mustered in the middle of the half, and when Raul Aguilera ran onto Juan Tejada’s layoff at the top of the area and bent a blast at Oettl on the other end three minutes later it again put Indy on the front foot.
The match opened up during a hectic final 10 minutes of regulation and stoppage time, with the Eleven’s hard push for an equalizer creating chances on both ends. Lewis came up big in the 83rd minute to bat away Barrera’s attempt from 10 yards, and the 87th minute saw Pinho push a first-time volley of Asante’s stellar service from the right flank just over the bar. As the match entered five minutes of stoppage it was Aguilera again getting a crack at a ball that set up 10 yards from goal, but with traffic immediately ahead he steered the ball wide right, leaving the midfielder shaking his head at the opportunity. Two chances by Hartford sub Rashawn Dally went wanting in the final moments, leaving the door cracked for an Eleven equalizer that never came to be.
Indy Eleven will take to the road once again next Saturday, August 20, with a pivotal meeting for postseason hopes at FC Tulsa (8:30 p.m., live on ESPN+), Indiana’s Team will return home with two games against top of the table sides in four days’ time on Aug. 27 against Louisville City FC (7:00 p.m.) and Aug. 31 versus San Antonio FC. Tickets for those matches – and all future contests at Carroll Stadium – can be purchased online at indyeleven.com/tickets, and fans can learn more about promotional themes for the evenings at indyeleven.com/promotions.
2022 USL Championship Regular Season – Matchday 23
Hartford Athletic 2 : 1 Indy Eleven
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Trinity Health Stadium – Hartford, Conn.
HFD – Danny Barrera (unassisted) 19’
HFD – Ariel Martinez (Prince Saydee) 26’
IND – Ayoze (penalty kick) 47+’
IND – Robby Dambrot (yellow card) 33’
IND – Neveal Hackshaw (yellow card) 43’
HFD – Danny Barrera (yellow card) 53’
IND – Wilfredo Rivera (yellow card) 84’
Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2): Sean Lewis; Robby Dambrot (Stefano Pinho 58’), Jesus Vazquez, Mechack Jerome, Jared Timmer; Ayoze (captain), Neveal Hackshaw (A.J. Cochran 86’), Raul Aguilera, Bryam Rebellon (Justin Ingram 74’); Juan Tejada (Wilfredo Rivera 74’), Solomon Asante
IND substitutes: Tim Trilk (GK), Sam Brown, Alex McQueen
Hartford Athletic (4-2-3-1): Yannik Oettl; Logan Gdula, Modou Jadama, Walid Vacoubou, Younes Boudadi; Luke Prpa (Andre Lewis 89’), Danny Barrera (captain); Joel Johnson (Ashkanov Apollon 70’), Ariel Martinez (Conor McGlynn 66’), Prince Saydee; Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. (Rashawn Dally 66’)
HFD Substitutes: Jimmy Slayton (GK), Mitchell Curry, Peter-Lee Vassell