Three Solomon Asante Assists Spark Comeback, Added Extra Time Victory in Second Round Affair at Carroll Stadium
INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, April 5, 2023) – Indy Eleven survived a scare in its 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup debut against Michigan Stars FC, but a second half equalizer from Harrison Robledo and a pair of goals in the first added time period lifted Indiana’s Team to a 3-1 win in Second Round action. Halftime substitute forward Solomon Asante provided a spark off the bench, providing assists on all three goals to spur the Eleven on to a hard-fought victory over the NISA side at IUPUI Carroll Stadium.
After the match was pushed back an hour to accommodate weather moving through Central Indiana, the Boys in Blue got to work on the offensive end early and often. Similar to its USL Championship match against Las Vegas at Carroll Stadium four nights earlier, Indy Eleven dominated possession, allowing Michigan only rare counterattack opportunities while holding the ball in its attacking half for the vast majority of the first half.
Despite cross after cross sent into the area – mostly from the right flank through Younes Boudadi and Jack Blake – Indiana’s Team had trouble beating Stars FC’s last line of defense, with two close efforts from Sebastian Guenzatti that were blocked just prior to the half hour mark registering as Indy’s best looks of the opening stanza.
In first half stoppage time Michigan saw one of its few chances of any note result in a point to the penalty spot after Indy defender Mechack Jerome’s high challenge on Nebojsa Popovic was whistled as a foul. Nebojsa slotted the ensuing penalty kick low and right, sending Eleven goalkeeper Yannik Oettl the wrong way to give the visitors a shock 1-0 lead heading into the break.
The Eleven came out blazing again in the second 45 minutes, with Juan Tejada’s glancing redirect two minutes in serving notice to the Stars. After Guenzatti’s 56th minute finish was nullified for offside, Robledo finally scratched one across for the Eleven three minutes later when he accepted Asante’s cross to the top of the area with a touch before poking past diving Michigan goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva to even the proceedings.
Asante continued to provide dangerous service from the right flank, but time and time again his efforts were repelled or ensuing shots that he set up were blocked to keep the match 1-1. The 77th minute saw fellow halftime substitute Aodhan Quinn nearly punch one directly off a 30-yard free kick, while his service on another set piece in the 87th minute found the head of defender Adrian Diz Pe at the back post, but his header couldn’t make it through heavy traffic.
Michigan had a chance to steal the match in the 89th minute through Leon Maric, whose shot from 20 yards took a deflection and left Oettl stranded, but the ball bounced just wide. On the other end Guenzatti saw a loose ball land at his feet three minutes into stoppage time, but Mkuruva was on the spot to get low and deflect the ball high into the air. Maric put Indy to the test again minutes later from near the penalty spot only to see Oettl parry the chance away, while Tejada had the final chance of regulation to pick a winner, only to see his redirect pushed wide, sending the match into 30 minutes of added extra time.
It didn’t take long for the Eleven to stamp their claim in extra time, as just two minutes in Guenzatti finally got his goal on a re-racked corner kick opportunity that saw Asante’s low ball from the right side find Guenzatti to knock in at the doorstep, giving Indy its first lead of the night at 2-1. A minute deep into stoppage time in the first extra period it was Tejada providing some insurance with a shot from the top of the area that was set up by yet another Asante service. The Eleven were able to ride out the rest of added time with relative ease, allowing Indiana’s Team to advance in U.S. Soccer’s club national championship tournament.
Indy Eleven will find out its Third Round opponent tomorrow evening, when U.S. Soccer will broadcast its draw for the round live on the Bleacher Report app and Bleacher Report’s YouTube channel. Next up on the field, the Eleven (1W-0L-2D, 5 pts., T-5th in Eastern Conference) will return to USL Championship regular season action and conclude its three-game, weeklong homestand by welcoming Oakland Roots SC to Carroll Stadium this Saturday, April 8, for a 7:00 p.m. ET kickoff at Carroll Stadium.
Single-game tickets for all home games at IUPUI Carroll Stadium along with prorated Season Ticket Memberships, specially-priced group tickets, and an increased portfolio of hospitality options are available for purchase now via indyeleven.com/tickets or by calling 317-685-1100 during regular business hours (Mon.-Fri., 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.).
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – Second Round
Indy Eleven 3 : 1 Michigan Stars FC (aet)
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, Ind.
MICH – Nebojsa Popovic (penalty kick) 47+’
IND – Harrison Robledo (Solomon Asante) 59’
IND – Sebastian Guenzatti (Solomon Asante) 92’
IND – Juan Tejada (Solomon Asante) 106+’
MICH – Andres Chalbaud (caution) 35’
MICH – Kotaro Umeda (caution) 48+’
MICH – Nicolas Nikolla (caution) 79’
MICH – D’Morea Alewine (caution) 109’
Indy Eleven line-up (4-3-3): Yannik Oettl; Bryam Rebellón (Robby Dambrot 45’), Jesus Vazquez, Mechack Jerome (Adrian Diz Pe 64’), Younes Boudadi; Alann Torres (Solomon Asante 45’), Cam Lindley (Jonas Fjeldberg 85’), Jack Blake (Aodhan Quinn 45’); Sebastian Guenzatti, Harrison Robledo (Gustavo Rissi 105’), Juan Tejada
Eleven bench: Tim Trilk (GK)
Michigan Stars FC line-up (4-5-1): Tatenda Mkuruva; Artem Baranovskyi, Garrett Hogbin, Andres Chalbaud, Iakov Shmelev; Kotaro Umeda (Nicolas Nikolla 70’), Roberto Mejia (Milo Barton 115’), D’Morea Alewine, Anthony Bowie, Nebojsa Popovic (Hunter Olson 52’) (Robert Juncaj 100’); Leon Maric
Stars FC bench: Noah Lawrence (GK)