Pinho Bags Brace to Help Give Indy Five Wins from Final Six Home Matches of 2022
INDIANAPOLIS – Indy Eleven closed its home schedule for the 2022 USL Championship season on a winning note with a resounding comeback that ended with a 4-1 win over the Charleston Battery in front of an announced crowd of 10,272 at IUPUI Carroll Stadium.
After announcing earlier in the day that this evening would mark his final home contest in an Indy Eleven uniform, captain Ayoze went out in style by setting up defender A.J. Cochran’s late-first half equalizer on a set piece. From there, leading scorer Stefano Pinho took control with the game’s next two goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half, extending his team lead to 12 tallies on the season.
It didn’t even take a minute for the hosts to put pressure on, but Wilfredo Rivera failed to get his feet right in order to redirect onto an open net Robby Dambrot’s back-post cross. Five minutes later, it was Cochran stretching to intercept a cross near his goalline to clear some danger, and goalkeeper Sean Lewis followed soon after with a volleyball-bump save to pop up Fidel Barajas’ close-range before making a kick save to keep out Aiden Apodaca’s 1-v-1 look in the 9th minute.
While the game settled in a bit in the minutes to follow, the Battery broke things open in the 18th minute with Augustine Williams’ 16th goal of the season. The Sierra Leone international striker and Lewis met a cross at the goalkeeper’s right post at the same time, but the second ball stayed near Williams, who was able to finish from a near angle to move the scoreboard first for the visitors.
On the bittersweet night for Ayoze, the club record holder in appearances, starts, and assists helped deliver Indy’s equalizer off one of his patented set piece services in the 40th minute. From the right flank, el Capitan wound up and placed his delivery between the six and the penalty spot, where Cochran’s glancing header nudged it just inside the left post on a bounce, giving the center back his first goal in a pair of seasons with the Eleven. Meanwhile, Ayoze increased the club’s career lead in assists to 22 on what was ironically his first helper of the season – a number that’s been offset by a five-goal haul that tied his highest scoring output since coming to the United States to play with the New York Cosmos back in 2013.
The Boys in Blue came out on fire to start the second half and struck early through Pinho, who split a pair of defenders to win Bryam Rebellon’s short, squared header to the six in the 48th minute to give Indy a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. In the 64th minute, substitute forward Manuel Arteaga won a 50-50 header that put Pinho behind the Battery backline, and the Brazilian converted again, this time low to the left of Charleston goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux to extend the lead to 3-1. Pinho’s brace brought his goal haul on the season to 12, giving him the third highest single-season goal total in the Eleven’s nine-year history, which now sits behind only Tyler Pasher (13 goals in 2019) and Eamon Zayed (16 in 2016).
In the 71st minute it was Arteaga that helped put the nail in Charleston’s coffin, as he carried a ball into the final third and saw his hard cross deflect off Battery defender Charlie Asensio and past a helpless Fauroux, the finish counting as an own goal that put things out of reach at 4-1.
Lewis was not called upon much in the second half, but he was solid when needed in the 74th minute, when he came off his line in timely fashion to take the ball off Apodaca’s foot at the six. In the 80th minute Pinho nearly finished off his hat trick but was stoned by Fauroux, and Rivera ran onto the spilled rebound only to see his close range shot clang off the crossbar. A routine save by Lewis a minute later on DZ Harmon’s shot from distance marked the last quality look of the night for either side, with the Eleven easily riding out the final ten minutes to end the home portion of its schedule with five wins out of its last six outings at Carroll Stadium.
Indy Eleven will end its 2022 USL Championship season this Wednesday, Oct. 12, with an away tilt at Birmingham Legion FC. Fans can follow the 8:00 p.m. ET finale from Protective Field in Birmingham, Ala., via streaming video at ESPN+ and through the @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers.
2022 USL Championship Regular Season – Matchday 33
Indy Eleven 4 : 1 Charleston Battery
Saturday, October 8, 2022
IUPUI Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, Ind.
Indy Eleven: 12W-16L-5D, 41 pts., 8th in Eastern Conference
Charleston Battery: 6W-21L-6D, 24 pts., 12th in Eastern Conference
CHS – Augustine Williams (Fidel Barajas) 18’
IND – A.J. Cochran (Ayoze) 40’
IND – Stefano Pinho (Bryam Rebellon) 48’
IND – Stefano Pinho (Manuel Arteaga) 64’
IND – own goal (Charlie Asensio) 71’
CHS – A.J. Patterson (yellow card) 88’
Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2): Sean Lewis; Robby Dambrot, A.J. Cochran, Jesus Vazquez, Ecris Revolorio (Mechack Jerome 57’); Ayoze (captain) (Solomon Asante 85’), Jared Timmer, Raul Aguilera (Manuel Arteaga 58’), Bryam Rebellon (Neveal Hackshaw 58’); Wilfredo Rivera (Juan Tejada 87’), Stefano Pinho
IND substitutes: Tim Trilk (GK)
Charleston Battery (4-4-2): Hugh Fauroux; Charlie Asensio, Pat Hogan, A.J. Patterson (captain), Avionne Flanagan (Leland Archer 83’); Dionysius Harmon (Geobel Perez 83’), Andrew Booth, Fidel Barajas Romario Piggott 75’), Enock Kwakwa (Dominic Oduro 75’); Aiden Apodaca, Augustine Williams
CHS Substitutes: Dan Kuzemka (GK), Matt Sheldon, Mauro Cichero