An eventful 90 minutes – and then some – saw Indy Eleven eventually end its duel with Saint Louis FC up two men and even in goals via a 1-1 draw at Lucas Oil Stadium. Neveal Hackshaw’s 72nd minute header countered Russell Cicerone’s early second-half score to force a share of the spoils.
“I’m happy overall with that performance; the one disappointing moment was losing that goal on the counterattack,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “There were a few things there that we should’ve done better and we just lost a little bit of concentration. I think we deserved to get a little bit more out of it, but it’s an important point.”
As a result, Indy Eleven (7W-5L-2D, 23 pts.) kept its grip on second place in Group E, with Saint Louis FC (6W-4L-4D, 22 pts.) remaining right on its heels one point behind. With Louisville City FC (9W-3L-2D, 29 pts.) all but clinching the top spot with tonight’s deadlock, Indy and Saint Louis can now focus solely on claiming the group’s other USL Championship Playoffs spot via favorable results in their final two games over the next 10 days – including next Saturday’s finale in Missouri. Prior to that ultimate showdown, STL will host Louisville this Saturday evening, followed by Indy Eleven welcoming Sporting Kansas City next Wednesday.
With pole position for the coveted second place spot on the line, it was Indy that looked the more likely to claim an early advantage. Following a 4th minute yellow card given to Saint Louis’ Todd Wharton, Carl Haworth’s shot off the restart and another blast from distance by Ayoze 30 seconds later required STL goalkeeper Kyle Morton into tough saves to keep scoreboard clean. In the 18th minute, forward Tyler Pasher’s centering pass to the six found a streaking Nick Moon, who couldn’t keep his first-touch shot on frame.
Indy would collect the better chances throughout the rest of the first 45 minutes, but it was Morton coming up big at his right post on the two most dangerous opportunities in the final five minutes, thwarting near-angle efforts by Cam Lindley and Pasher to ensure the teams heading in the locker room even.
After a first half that saw zero shots on target for the visitors, Saint Louis changed that statistic – and the scoreboard – early on a counterattack chance. In the 50th minute, Tyler Blackwood found a cutting Cicerone with space in front of him, and his running strike into the lower-left corner of the net resulted in the Missouri club taking the lead.
The continued energy from Saint Louis would prove to be hurtful, however. A challenge from defender Sam Fink in the 61st minute missed the ball completely, his collision with Pasher resulting in a second yellow card on the evening and an ejection that forced Saint Louis to play a man down.
Indy would take advantage soon after. Looking to catch the defense off guard, Haworth played a quick corner to Ayoze, who crossed into traffic at the top of the six the ball. It was there where Hackshaw beat the masses to the punch, a header by the Tobago & Trinidad international finding its way to the right side of goal to equalize, giving him his second goal of the season – both coming against Saint Louis at home.
Frustrations would continue rise for the visitors after another subtraction in the 75th minute. This time it was Wharton heading to the locker room early after seeing his second yellow of the night for a challenge from behind on Drew Conner, forcing Saint Louis to play down two men for a frantic finish.
Indy Eleven would make a late push in hopes of taking the full three points, but a defensive stand from Saint Louis that pushed past the eight minutes of original added time would be enough to earn a draw for both sides.
Indy Eleven ends its September homestand – and its 2020 home slate – next Wednesday, September 30, when it welcomes Sporting Kansas City II (4W-9L-1D, 13 pts.) to Lucas Oil Stadium for the fourth and final time this season. Tickets for the 7:00 p.m. kickoff on Fan Appreciation Night are available at indyeleven.com/tickets, and fans who can’t make the match can follow live on MyINDY-TV 23, ESPN+, Exitos Radio 94.3 FM/exitos943.com, and the @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers.
USL Championship Regular Season - #INDvSTL
Indy Eleven 1 : 1 Saint Louis FC
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Ind.
2020 USL Championship records
Indy Eleven (7W-5L-2D, 23 pts., 2nd in Group E)
Saint Louis FC (6W-4L-4D, 22 pts., 3rd in Group E)
STL – Russell Cicerone (Tyler Blackwood) 50’
IND– Neveal Hackshaw (Ayoze) 72’
STL – Todd Wharton (yellow card) 4’
STL – Kyle Grieg (yellow card) 45’
STL – Tobi Adewole (yellow card) 45+2’
STL – Sam Fink (yellow card) 45+4
IND – Drew Conner (yellow card) 55’
STL – Sam Fink (second yellow/red card) 61’
IND – Neveal Hackshaw (yellow card) 64’
STL – Todd Wharton (second yellow/red card) 75’
IND – Paddy Barret (yellow card) 85’
IND – Andrew Carleton (yellow card) 89’
Indy Eleven lineup (3-4-3, L-->R): Evan Newton; Neveal Hackshaw, Paddy Barrett (captain), Karl Ouimette; Ayoze (Andrew Carleton 88’), Drew Connor (Matt Watson 87’), Tyler Gibson (Ilija Ilic 61’), Carl Haworth; Tyler Pasher, Cam Lindley, Nick Moon (Jeremy Rafanello 79’)
IND substitutes: Jordan Farr (GK), Mitch Osmond, Conner Antley
Saint Louis FC (4-3-3, L-->R): Kyle Morton; Phanuel Kavita (captain), Sam Fink, Tobi Adewole; Todd Wharton, Guy Abend (Richard Bryan 90+6’), Wal Fall, Paris Gee; Kyle Grieg (Kadeem Dacres 79’), Tyler Blackwood (Daniel Fischer 65’), Russell Cicerone
STL substitutes: John Berner (GK), Mour Samb, Nikiphoros Vlastos, Joaquin Rivas