Indy Eleven fall in their first home outing 0-1 against FC Cincinnati in front of a franchise record crowd. A strike from Cincinnati’s Emery Welshman in the 26th minute saw the visitor’s walk away with three points. According to Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie, a win was in the making.
““It was fantastic,” Rennie said. “The crowd, the stadium, the atmosphere; it was absolutely perfect. I thought it was one of those games, honestly, another night we would’ve won that game. We had chances, we hit the post, and we had a penalty. Really, I think Cincinnati only had two chances and they took one of them.”
The “Boys in Blue” tried to run the show in the opening minutes of the match. Indy Eleven midfielder Matthew Watson hammered a shot from outside Cincinnati’s box in the 4th minute. The shot had power, but the attempt fell wide of the post for a goal kick.
FC Cincinnati began asking questions moments later from the restarted play. In the 6th minute, Ledesma came up with his first of many challenges for Indy Eleven goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams. Though the chance looked clear from the newly signed forward, his attempt found its way over the crossbar for Indy to restart play. Ledesma would get another attempt in the 9th minute from a free kick outside of Indy’s 18-yard box. The shot headed towards the center of the home side’s goal, but Fon Williams forced the ball from play once again.
Indy’s second chance, and second best chance, of the evening came in the 17th minute. Indy Eleven defender Tyler Pasher ran the ball to the corner flag left of Cincinnati’s goal. Pasher lofted the ball towards the top-center of the visitor’s 6-yard box where Eleven forward Jack McInerney headed the ball off the right goal post. The free ball bounced off “Boys in Blue” midfielder Zach Steinberger as he charged in the 6-yard box, but the play died after FCC swept the ball out of bounds.
FC Cincinnati found their game winning goal in the 26th minute after a series of deflections. Ledesma fired a shot from the center of Indy’s 18-yard box after receiving a right-in cross, but Fon Williams made the save at extension. The ball fell out to the left of Fon Williams following his save when Ledesma collected and crossed in to striking partner Emery Welshman. With a hard hit, Welshman sent the ball past Fon Williams and wheeled away in celebration. “Boys in Blue” Watson looked to level two minutes later with an unassisted run into Cincinnati’s box, but FCC goaltender Evan Newton saved the shot with a dive to the left.
Indy Eleven saw the needle tip in its favor once again after being awarded a penalty kick in the 38th minute following McInerney being brought down in ‘Cincy’s’ box. McInerney stepped up to the spot and sent the ball to the upper left, but Newton was prepared and forced the attempted to the right. Still looking to register a goal, Eleven midfielder Ben Speas brought down Newton’s deflection, only for it to be sent back out by the traveling goalkeeper.
Indy continued to look for an equalizer in the early minutes of the second half. In the 51st minute, McInerney laid a cross to the top of Cincinnati’s box to Eleven forward Eugene Starikov. The “New in Blue” hard-hitter attempted his shot, but the ball ended high and out of bounds.
The “Boys in Blue” nearly found a goal to level the score in the final minutes of regular time. Indy forward Soony Saad took a shot nearly 15-yards out from Cincinnati’s posts in the 82nd minute. The shot looked promising for on-looking fans before Cincinnati’s Newton barely tipped the shot over the crossbar.
Tonight’s loss goes on record as the first in Indy Eleven’s USL account, bringing them to 1W-1L-0D. Looking past dropped points at home, Indy Eleven’s defense performance illuminated the stats sheet with the backline winning over 55 percent of their duels. Additionally, Pasher impact was felt throughout the 90 minutes, creating four chances and completing almost 82 percent of his passes.
Indy Eleven hit the road next week to take on former NASL rivals North Carolina FC and return home on April 14th to take on fellow league newcomers, Nashville SC.
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USL Regular Season
Indy Eleven 0:1 FC Cincinnati
Saturday, March 24, 2017
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
CIN – Emery Welshman (Emmanuel Ledesma) 26’
IND – Reiner Ferreira 41’
IND – Jack McInerney 45 + 4’
CIN – Dekel Keinan 54’
CIN – Forrest Lasso 74’
Indy Eleven lineup (1-4-4-2, L-->R): Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Tyler Pasher, Reiner Ferreira (Ring 44’), Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette; Nico Marten, Matt Watson (C) (Braun 86’) Ben Speas (Saad 57’), Zach Steinberger; Eugene Starikov, Jack McInerney (Justin Braun 90+1’)
Indy Eleven bench: Ben Lungaard (GK); Brad Rusin; Brad Ring, Juan Guerra; Justin Braun, Soony Saad, Nathan Lewis
FC Cincinnati lineup (4-3-3, L-->R): Evan Newton Worra (GK); Blake Smith, Dekel Keinan, Forrest Lasso, Justin Hoyte; Kenney Walker (Seymore 17’), Corben Bone, Richie Ryan, Lance Laing (Haber 65’); Emmanuel Ledesma, Emery Welshman (Konig 80’)
FC Cincinnati bench: Spencer Richey (GK); Matt Bahner, Paddy Barrett; Will Seymore, Nazmi Albawdawi, Daniel Haber; Danni Konig