Indy Eleven extend its unbeaten streak to seven matches in a late draw versus a 10-man Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 2-2. A brace from “Boys in Blue” forward Jack McInerney brings his goal count to nine on the season and a 3W-0L-4D record in the last seven fixtures.
Indy captured the lead in the fourth minute of play. Eleven midfielder Matt Watson bullied the ball from Riverhouds defender Andrew Lubahn in Indy's defensive half to lob the ball forward. McInerney masterfully brought down the high ball 20 yards out from goal and beat Riverhounds goalkeeper Michael Kirk off his line for a shot at the open goal. McInerney almost caught Kirk off his line again two minutes later with a shot near the center line, but the ball bounced wide of the far post for an opposition goal kick.
“I think one of the things we forget with Jack McInerney is that by the age of about 23, he had scored around 50 goals in the MLS, or Concacaf, or Open Cup,” said Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie. “He had a spell where he didn’t get to play too much. He was behind some fantastic player, not anything he was doing wrong. So when he came here it was a little bit of a rebuilding job for him and for us. Now, he’s doing what I think we all know he can do, which is score goals.”
Riverhouds continued a highly possessive game in the midfield in an attempt to open up Indy's backline, but it was a stoppage-time goal that brought the evening level for the first time. Riverhounds were awarded a free kick in the 47th minute at the edge of Indy's 18-yard box following a heavy tackle by defender Karl Ouimette. A minute later, Pittsburgh midfielder Christiano Francois played an in-swinging ball for defender Joe Greenspan to head down past Eleven keeper Owain Fon Williams. The goal was Greenspan's first of 2018.
Riverhounds took the lead 14 minutes after the break. In similar fashion to Indy's opening goal, Francois beat Fon Williams' off his line almost 20 yards out from goal after gaining possession of the loose ball.
The scoreline could've been vastly different for either team if not to impressive saves by both keepers. Kirk kept the ball from the back of his team's net with saves in the 56th, 72nd and 77th minute. “Indiana's Team's” man between the post also recorded saves in the 67th and 77th minute to keep the scoring gap to a single goal.
A night that could've easily been soured by a loss, McInerney managed to pull one more back for the “Boys in Blue” in the 96th minute. Eleven midfielder Ben Speas flicked a pass nearly 20 yards forward into Riverhounds' penalty box. McInerney settled the ball around around Kirk as he charged out of goal and fired an angled shot on his second touch for the last-minute equalizer.
The draw concludes game five of seven in 22 days for Indy Eleven, having yet to pick up a loss in that timespan.
“I’m really, really happy with the 'never say die' attitude because we’re in a run of playing quite a bit of games at the moment but we’re now seven games unbeaten.” said Rennie. “In a game like that tonight when it’s kind of not going our way in the sense that we had good chances but the goalkeeper made great saves. Sometimes in those games you have to dig in and show your character and I thought we did that.”
Indy Eleven are back at home this Saturday, September 1 for Public Safety Night. The “Boys in Blue” will kick off against Richmond Kickers at 7:00 p.m. Fans can get tickets to the upcoming match for as low as $15 by visiting IndyEleven.com/Tickets or by calling (317)685-1100.
USL Regular Season
Indy Eleven 2:2 Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
IND – Jack McInerney (Matt Watson) 4'
PGH – Joe Greenspan (Christiano Francois) 45+3'
PGH – Christiano Francois – 59'
IND – Jack McInerney (Ben Speas) 90+4'
PGH – Raymond Lee (Red card) 86'
IND – Jack McInerney (Yellow card) 90+5'
Indy Eleven lineup (4-3-3, L-->R): Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Reiner Ferreira, Ayoze, Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette; Dylan Mares, Nico Matern (Brad Ring 79'), Matt Watson (C) (Juan Guerra 79'), Eugene Starikov (Soony Saad 61'), Ben Speas, Jack McInerney
Indy Eleven bench: Ben Lundgaard (GK); Brad Rusin, Kevin Venegas, Brad Ring, Juan Guerra, Soony Saad, Nathan Lewis
Pittsburgh Riverhounds lineup (1-5-4-1, L-->R): Michael Kirk (GK); Andrew Lubahn (Ray Lee 71'), Hugh Roberts, Joe Greenspan, Todd Pratzner, Jordan Dover; Christiano Francois, Ben Zemanski, Mo Dabo, Noah Franke (Kenardo Forbes 45'); Neco Brett (Tobi Adewole 85')
Pittsburgh Riverhounds bench: Nate Ingham (GK); Tobi Adewole, Ray Lee, Kenardo Forbes, Ben Fitzpatrick, Kay Banjo, Romeo Parkes