After every game in 2019, IndyEleven.com’s Drew Kamaski will give his three takeaways from the performance of the “Boys in Blue.” This week's edition comes after "Indiana's Team" fell 2-1 in the team's 2019 season opener on the road against Saint Louis FC.
Eugene Starikov, Tyler Pasher, and Ayoze are a few names fans expect to see tear down the left flank after their stellar performances last season. However, Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie handed 18-year-old Josh Penn the keys to the left wing, which led to a head-turning performance.
In his first professional, competitive debut, Penn impressed fans, coaches and commentators alike with his technical skill and speed off the dribble. The Illinois native created two notable chances. The first came in the 19th Xminute after wrong footing Saint Louis FC’s outside back and nearly scoring on a near-post effort. The second chance Penn created came in the 48th minute after he bested his marker for a second time and delivered a precise cross that found the head of forward Dane Kelly, whose effort struck the post.
Indy Eleven defender Neveal Hackshaw opened his scoring account with the Boys in Blue on Saturday when the Trinidadian international tucked away a header off a corner kick from Kenney Walker. Hackshaw did more than impact the score line during Saturday’s fixture. He had arguably the best performance on the field.
In addition to scoring, the 23-year old completed 86 percent of his 72 passes during the course of the 90 minutes. In addition to displaying his vision, Hackshaw also put on a defensive show. The center back racked up four clearances, three interceptions, and one tackle. Anticipate the stout defensemen to continue to gather appearances in Rennie’s back line as a versatile center back.
According to Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie, the Boys in Blue played well in the 2019 USL Championship season opener despite the 2-1 loss to Saint Louis FC. The second year Indy manager noted that building up to the first goal, his side was organized and kept possession of the ball well, but early-season form caught up with squad after scoring and conceded twice.
“It’s one of those games where we actually played quite well for most of the game,” Rennie said. “We took the lead, but I think once we took the lead, we didn’t manage the game as well as we should have. We were a little bit too open, we gave away too many free kicks, we didn’t’ keep possession of the ball well at that point…it was really a five-ten minute spell from when we scored that we just kind of lost focus and that’s something we have to improve immediately.”
Despite the loss, Indiana’s Team displayed positive signs. The side was able to manage 65 percent possession and completed 82 percent of passes, a dramatic increase from 2018’s average of 42 percent possession and 74 percent passing accuracy. Rennie’s 3-4-3 formation played as designed, as his side was able to move the ball through the midfield, down the flanks and create multiple chances in the form of crosses and shots. The ten minute lapse in concentration that Rennie spoke of will most likely dissipate as the starting XI continue to form chemistry and gel together.
Don’t miss your chance to see the Boys in Blue this season. Season Ticket packages for the 2019 USL Championship season are on sale now for a low as $99. Get your season ticket package today by visiting IndyEleven.com/season-tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.