Solomon Asante’s Three Assists Help Boys in Blue to Wild Win at Carroll Stadium
INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, September 10, 2022) – It wasn’t easy, but Indy Eleven found a way to collect a thrilling 4-3 result over Birmingham Legion FC in front of an announced crowd of 10,104 at IUPUI Carroll Stadium. The victory pushed Indy’s unbeaten streak to four games, including a trio of wins over playoff-bound competition at home over the last two weeks.
Despite letting a three-goal lead elapse over the middle of the match, the Boys in Blue kept their resolve and found the match winner in the 78th minute through Stefano Pinho’s 10th goal of the season, his third in as many matches. Midfielder Solomon Asante provided the assist on the game-winner and Indy’s two opening goals by Neveal Hackshaw to record the first three-assist game in Indy Eleven’s nine seasons of play.
Asante’s fourth minute ball from the right corner that found Pinho at the six for a header that flashed over the cross bar was a harbinger of things to come, as the Ghanaian playmaker served up two perfect corner kicks on Hackshaw’s head in the 11th and 16th minutes. The Trinidad & Tobago international had carbon copy finishes on the back post balls, rising over his mark, Mikey Lopez, to beat Legion FC goalkeeper Matt VanOekel inside his near post to give the Eleven their first two-goal lead since another wild 4-3 win at Charleston Battery on June 4.
The Boys in Blue stayed on the front foot, with Asante’s blast in the 28th minute forcing VanOekel into a heavy two-handed parry to steer aside. It was a shot by Juan Tejada in the 15th minute that led to Hackshaw’s second corner kick goal, and the Panamanian scratched one across himself to push the lead to 3-0 in the 31st minute with a seeing-eye shot from the arc that snuck inside the far right post.
From there the Hammers began to impose their will on the match, beginning in the 34th minute when Eleven goalkeeper Tim Trilk was forced to take down Marlon Santos on a 1-v-1 look inside the area after he got behind the Indy backline. Trilk got a foot to the ensuing PK by Enzo Martinez, who was able to easily follow up the rebound and slot into an open net to get one back for the visitors in short order. Trilk was called into action on a Juan Agudelo blast to begin stoppage time, and Indiana’s Team was fortunate when Bruno Lapa’s nine-yard shot was sliced just wide of the right post minutes later, sending the squads into the locker room at 3-1 Indy.
Just past the hour mark it was Marlon continuing Birmingham’s comeback, his roofed shot from close-range on a near angle putting the visitors within one at 3-2. Chances from distance by Hackshaw and Asante in the minutes that followed proved the Eleven were not interested in merely bunkering in, but the 71st minute saw Marlon strike for his second on a tap-in of Sadik Balarabe’s low cross to the six, bringing the proceedings to a 3-3 stalemate that seemed unlikely 40 minutes of action earlier.
However, the Boys in Blue once again found the energy and attacking impetus that had helped it knock off both conference leaders in San Antonio and Louisville within the last two weeks, scoring the decisive tally on a beautiful team goal in the 78th minute. Substitute midfielders Bryam Rebellon and Raul Aguilera helped get the ball through midfield before the latter’s through ball slipped Asante into the penalty area. Rather than shoot, Asante played provider once again with a squared ball along the six-yard box that Pinho finished first-time to push Indy Eleven back in front at 4-3.
Legion FC had no quit in them either, a finish nullified for offside in the 84th minute followed by Marlon’s attempt at a hat trick from 12 yards out in the 88th that sailed just over the crossbar. The Eleven held on through five minutes of added time to gather the full three points from a match that tied the most goals produced by both teams in a home game in Eleven history, equaling the output from a 5-2 win over Jacksonville Armada FC on Aug. 3, 2016, during the club’s NASL era.
Indy Eleven will take its longest road trip of the 2022 season next weekend, when it heads to the Pacific Coast for its first meeting with expansion side Monterey Bay F.C. on Saturday, Sept. 17. The USL Championship “After Dark” kickoff takes place at 10:00 p.m. ET for a match fans can watch on ESPN+ and follow updates from via the @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers.
The Boys in Blue then return to IUPUI Carroll Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 25, when they play host to Loudoun United FC for a special 5:00 p.m. ET kickoff. Details on the club’s annual Hispanic Heritage Night festivities – presented by Financial Center First Credit Union, Morales Group & Sherwin-Williams – can be found at indyeleven.com/promotions, and tickets can be purchased at indyeleven.com/tickets, starting for $15. Fans who can’t make it to “The Mike” can follow the action on MyINDY-TV 23, ESPN+, Exitos Radio 94.3 / exitos943.com, and the @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed.
2022 USL Championship Regular Season – Matchday 28
Indy Eleven 4 : 3 Birmingham Legion FC
Saturday, September 10, 2022
IUPUI Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, Ind.
Indy Eleven: 9W-14L-5D, 32 pts., 9th in Eastern Conference
Birmingham Legion FC: 15W-8L-6D, 51 pts., 5th in Eastern Conference
IND – Neveal Hackshaw (Solomon Asante) 11’
IND – Neveal Hackshaw (Solomon Asante) 16’
IND – Juan Tejada (Robby Dambrot) 31’
BHM – Enzo Martinez (unassisted) 35’
BHM – Marlon Santos (Enzo Martinez) 62’
BHM – Marlon Santos (Sadik Balarabe) 71’
IND – Stefano Pinho (Solomon Asante) 78’
IND – Juan Tejada (yellow card) 25’
IND – Tim Trilk (yellow card) 34’
BHM – Marlon Santos (yellow card) 38’
BHM – Juan Agudelo (yellow card) 40’
IND – Sam Brown (yellow card) 49+’
IND – Ayoze (yellow card) 52’
IND – Bryam Rebellon (yellow card) 73’
BHM – Enzo Martinez (yellow card) 87’
BHM – Alex Crognale (yellow card) 92+’
Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2): Tim Trilk; Robby Dambrot, Jesus Vazquez, Mechack Jerome, Jared Timmer; Ayoze (captain) (Raul Aguilera 58’), Neveal Hackshaw (Bryam Rebellon 67’), Samuel Asante (Rodney Michael 96+’), Sam Brown; Juan Tejada (Justin Ingram 68’), Stefano Pinho
IND substitutes: Sean Lewis (GK), Alex McQueen, Wilfredo Rivera
Birmingham Legion FC (4-3-3): Matt VanOekel; Jonny Dean, Alex Crognale, Phanuel Kavita (captain), Mikey Lopez (Jacob Rufe 81’); Anderson Asiedu, Bruno Lapa (Prosper Kasim 57’), Zach Herivaux (Mataeo Bunbury 90’); Marlon Santos, Juan Agudelo (Sadik Balarabe 58’), Enzo Martinez
BHM Substitutes: Trevor Spangenberg (GK), Ryan James, Matthew Corcoran