Indy Eleven fought stifling heat and a surging Louisville City FC squad tonight at Lynn Family Stadium, ultimately dropping a hard-fought 0-1 result in the latest installment of the Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest rivalry. Indy Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton made four big stops on the night, but Louisville City captain Paolo DelPiccolo’s second half tally was enough to push the home side to a third straight victory.
Despite the setback, Indy Eleven (6W-3L-1D, 19 pts.) maintains a three-point lead over Louisville (5W-3L-1D, 16 pts.) in the tightly packed Group E standings that also includes Saint Louis FC sitting on 14 points. While the Kentucky side holds a game in hand on Indy Eleven, Indiana’s Team has the advantage of hosting five of its final six games at home – including two against LCFC – while Lou City has to close with four of seven on the road after restarting the 2020 campaign with an eight-game homestand at its new home ground.
“I think we played pretty decent in spells, even in the one where we lost the goal. We were disappointed by the chances we didn’t take as well as we could have, not hitting the target or not making their goalkeeper make a save,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “With where we are at now in the season, we have set ourselves up in a good spot with a lead in the group and almost all of our games at home to finish out. Sometimes when you have a disappointing result like tonight it’s good to see that team again the next time out, so we’ll recharge our focus and our energy and look forward to seeing them at our place next weekend.”
Coming off his USL Championship-record 50th career shutout 11 days ago against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Newton picked up where he left off, guarding his left post three minutes in to turn aside a near post effort by Corben Bone. Lou City striker Napo Matsoso put Newton on notice nine minutes in with a floated effort from the corner of the area that drifted just wide left of frame.
Eleven forward Andrew Carleton was buzzing around the field to start the match, and a 19th minute sequence that began with his clean sliding tackle from behind on Bone in Indy’s defensive third led to him leading a dangerous chance at the other end. While LCFC ‘keeper Ben Lundt pounced on Carleton’s dangerous cross deep inside the six yard box, the effort seemed to awaken the Eleven attack, as chances by forward Nick Moon and defender Carl Haworth, making his return from an injury that saw him miss the last five contests, came in quick succession just a minute later.
While Lou City held much of the possession in the middle of the half, a 24th minute free kick service by Oscar Jimenez that was punched clear by Newton on his line marked the only real danger. A nifty build-up through Carleton and midfielder Tyler Gibson’s back-heel in the 33rd minute set up an onrushing Tyler Pasher, who dragged his effort from 25 yards just wide of the right post, leaving the Eastern Conference’s leading scorer wanting. The first half hydration break followed, as did mostly chances from distance by Louisville that didn’t threaten goal in the final 10 minutes of the stanza, sending the rivals to the halftime break scoreless.
While the second half struggled to come to life, Moon provided a spark in the 55th minute with a low effort from 20 yards that trailed just wide of the right post. Just after the hour mark it was Cam Lindley creating danger on the endline for Indy, his service finding Carleton near the penalty spot for a first-time shot that LCFC center back Alexis Souahy slid over to block inside the six.
It was a similar play to that one for Louisville City FC that finally moved the scoreboard in the 61st minute. Forward Antoine Hoppenot’s cutback through traffic found a streaking DelPiccolo 10 yards out for a redirect into the left-side netting that Newton could do nothing about, putting the home side up 1-0. Indy looked to counter quickly just two minutes later, but Haworth’s header off a Carleton free kick was gathered by Lundt. Newton showed up big a minute later by using both hands to bat away a strong shot by Bone, and he did the same on Hoppenot’s near-angle blast in the 70th minute.
The 80th minute looked to bring the chance Indy Eleven had been hoping for when Moon’s through ball split two Louisville defenders and put Pasher behind the backline, but Lundt’s charge off his line cut down the angle, forcing the Canadian attacker to send his chance just wide right.
As the match passed the stated five minutes of stoppage time, Indy Eleven had one last desperate attempt at an equalizer, and controversy ensued after Lundt rose to snag a long free kick into the area, only to bring the ball down on the head of Indy substitute forward Jeremy Rafanello. Fellow sub Ilija Ilic deposited the loose ball into the back of the net, but the play was whistled dead before the finish for a foul the visitors didn’t think was warranted, launching heated disapprovals by the Eleven both on the bench and the field. The match itself would be whistled dead 90 seconds later, resulting in a Louisville win – and even more anticipation for a rematch in 10 days’ time.
Said reunion will happen on Saturday, September 5, when the LIPAFC rivalry heads north up I-65 to Lucas Oil Stadium for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Tickets for the match are going fast but still available at www.indyeleven.com/tickets, and those who cannot be there in person can follow the action live on WISH-TV, ESPN+, Exitos Radio 94.3 FM/exitos943.com, and the @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers.
USL Championship Regular Season - #LOUvIND
Louisville City FC 1 : 0 Indy Eleven
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 – 8:00 p.m. ET
Lynn Family Stadium – Louisville, Ken.
2020 USL Championship records
Indy Eleven (6W-3L-1D, 19 pts., 1st in Group E)
Louisville City FC (5W-3L-1D, 16 pts., 2nd in Group E)
LOU – Paolo DelPiccolo (Antoine Hoppenot) 61’
IND – Tyler Gibson (yellow card) 37’
IND – Karl Ouimette (yellow card) 74’
IND – Neveal Hackshaw (yellow card) 90+7’
Indy Eleven lineup (3-4-3, L-->R): Evan Newton; Neveal Hackshaw (captain), Mitch Osmond, Karl Ouimette; Cam Lindley (Jeremy Rafanello 87’), Drew Connor (Kenney Walker 78’), Tyler Gibson, Carl Haworth (Conner Antley 78’); Tyler Pasher, Andrew Carleton (Ilija Ilic 78’), Nick Moon
IND Substitutes: Jordan Farr (GK), Felicien Dumas
IND Stats: Shots: 7, Shots on Goal: 1, Possession: 45.3%, Passing Accuracy: 74.7%, Passes: 391, Fouls: 10, Corners: 0, Offsides: 3
Louisville City FC (4-3-3, L-->R): Ben Lundt; Oscar Jimenez, Alexis Souahy, Sean Totsch, Pat McMahon; Paolo DelPiccolo (captain) (Wes Charpie 78’), Speedy Williams, Corben Bone (Jonathan Gomez 88’); Antoine Hoppenot (Cameron Lancaster 88’), Luke Spencer (Brian Ownby 56’), Napo Matsoso
LOU Substitutes: Chris Hubbard (GK), Jason Johnson, Jimmy Ockford
LOU Stats: Shots: 9, Shots on goal: 5, Possession: 54.7%, Passing Accuracy: 80.3%, Passes: 471, Fouls: 7, Corners: 4, Offsides: 2