Indy Eleven kept a clean sheet against Atlanta United 2 in a 2-0 victory in the two team's first USL match-up. The “Boys in Blue” capture three points for the first time since their 1-0 win against Louisville City FC last month, ending the team's winless streak at four.
Indy Eleven midfielder Juan Guerra and forward Soony Saad came close to opening “Indiana's Team's” scoreline, but it was midfielder and captain Matt Watson who registered the first of the evening.
In the 30th minute, Atlanta United 2 midfielder Chris Goslin laid a back-pass in their half towards defender AJ Cochran in their defending half. The attempt quickly lost speed, which allowed Watson to claim the loose ball as he ran at goal. Atlanta defender Andrew Kendall-Moullin backtracked to assist goalkeeper Paul Christensen in his attempt to dispossess Watson at the top of the box, but the Englishman fought through to score at close range, unassisted.
“I like to try and read those passes,” Watson said. “I enjoy that part of the game. When you don't have a goalkeeper at a professional level you have to put it in."
Watson's goal marked his first of the season and his first since he signed with Indy at the beginning of the year.
Atlanta fought to find a first-half equalizer in stoppage time after winning a free kick in dangerous territory. Goslin nearly scored in the third minute of first-half stoppage time from a direct free kick on the outskirts of Indy's 18-yard box. Eleven goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams dove towards the left post to block, but Goslin's shot fell off frame and out of play.
The “Boys in Blue” came out strong just after the start of the second half after they doubled their first-half lead.
Nine minutes after halftime, defender Carlyle Mitchell nodded in a header near the back post from point-blank range. The goal came after a series of back to back corner kicks, all of which were taken by defender Ayoze Garcia. Much like Watson, Mitchell's goal marked his first since joining Indy Eleven prior to the start of the season.
Mitchell's goal also marks the fourth goal in the last two matches to be converted from dead ball situations. The other three were scored by Saad (1) and Ayoze (3) in Indy's last home match against Charleston Battery last Wednesday, May 30.
Atlanta scrambled to find the back of the next in the last 11 minutes of the match.
United 2 forward Yosef Samuel placed a shot on target from outside Indy's 18-yard box in the 79th minute. The ball flew directly toward the center of the goal, which made for an easy save for Fon Williams.
Two additional attempts from Atlanta forward Jon Gallagher and midfielder Laurent Kissiedou in the 87th and 89th minutes, respectively, both failed to materialize a goal for the visitors. This match marks Atlanta's third consecutive scoreless match.
After a tough month of May, Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie is glad to have rediscovered winning ways following a 10-day break between matches.
“It was good for us to have a full week of training and a couple of our guys to come back who weren't available before,” Rennie said. “I thought we performed well. I thought we hardly gave up any chances and created a lot of chances, and scored two good goals.”
The “Boys in Blue” take to the road next Saturday, June 16 at 7:00 p.m., to take Toronto FC II, who currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table. “Indiana's Team” will return home on Saturday, June 30 at 7:00 p.m., for Pride Night against Penn FC. Fans can get tickets to the next home match starting at just $15 by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.
USL Regular Season
Indy Eleven 2:0 Atlanta United 2
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
IND – Matt Watson 30'
IND – Carlyle Mitchell (Ayoze) 55'
IND – Juan Guerra 78'
Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2, L-->R): Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Ayoze, Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette, Kevin Venegas; Nico Matern, Matt Watson (C), Juan Guerra (Zach Steinberger 83'), Seth Moses (Ben Speas 90+2'); Soony Saad, Justin Braun (Eugene Starikov 73')
Indy Eleven bench: Jordan Farr (GK); Brad Ring, Brad Rusin, Ben Speas, Eugene Starikov, Zach Steinberger, Nathan Lewis
Atlanta United 2 lineup (3-4-3, L-->R): Paul Christensen (GK); Jose Hernandez, AJ Cochran, Andrew Kendall-Moullin, Jack Metcalf (C) (Shawn Nicklaw 38'); Oliver Shannon, Chris Goslin (Devon Sandoval 61'), Laurent Kissiedou, Jose Carranza; Jon Gallagher, Yosef Samuel (Kevin Barajas 80')
Atlanta United 2 bench: Nico Caraux (GK); Charlie Asensio, Shawn Nicklaw; Dylan Gaither, Kevin Barajas; Devon Sandoval