Indy Eleven and FC Edmonton had a difficult time finding a rhythm to start the game on Saturday night. But that all changed early in the second half for the Eddies. Johann Smith played a forward ball down the left side of the pitch to Lance Laing who was able to find Daryl Fordyce on the cross. As Fordyce took a touch, Erick Norales tried to slide to block the shot, but Fordyce was able to get past Norales and beat keeper Kristian Nicht near post. Edmonton sealed the three points in the 85th minute when Don Smart’s pass was intercepted by Ritchie Jones at the top of the eighteen yard box. Jones quickly found an unmarked Sainey Nyassi who found the back of the net on his first touch.
The Eleven created several chances but could not convert. Dane Richards received a ball from Wojciech Wojcik in the opening minute of the game but pushed his shot wide. In the 54th minute Dragan Stojkov’s cross took a deflection and found Wojcik. But his header went over the cross bar. Stojkov had an opportunity of his own from a throw-in 57th minute. However, Stojkov’s shot went directly to Edmonton’s keeper Matt VanOekel.
Kristian Nicht made his first start since August 29th and had to come up with a massive saves in the 32nd minute. The Eddies took advantage of an Eleven mistake and Dustin Cora thought he had an opportunity to score with Nicht out of position. Nicht ran back across the middle of the box and palmed the shot away. With Nicht coming up with big saves and his improvement in distributing the ball you can expect Tim Regan will have a tough decision on whether to start Cardona or Nicht in Indy’s next match.
I focus on the Eleven but two of the three major areas the ‘Boy’s in Blue’ struggled in can also be said for the Eddies. This is due to the tactical style of both teams, who are not possession oriented and favor a counter attacking style. First, the Eleven struggled to connect two defensive midfielders with their two strikers. Richards likes to run at defenders with the ball. While Wojcik is best when he is the target forward and can lay the ball off to teammates. The disconnection between strikers, along with Ring’s and Keller’s inability to push forward because of the fear of the Eddies counter, led to disruptions in the attack. Second, when Indy had the ball in the final third there was a lack of mobility. The Eleven’s first option in the final third was to take players on in one on one situations. If this did not work, the Eleven tried connecting with give-and-goes, only for the players involved to separate. When the Eleven played the ball to the wings in the first half only two players entered the box. The second half saw more runs in front of goal but the attacking players came in the box at the same time and did not check to or away from the ball. The third major area Indy Eleven struggled in was the biggest difference as to why Edmonton left with three points. The Eleven gave the ball away in front of goal twice and the Eddies took advantage. The first time the Eleven gave the ball away, Nicht made a heroic save. However, the second give away at the top of the eighteen resulted in the Eddies scoring their second goal of the night.
The good news for the Eleven, they will have some time off before their next march on September 30th. The Eddies are now two points from a playoff spot and will have a big game this weekend as they host league leading New York Cosmos.
Fordyce (FCE) 55’- assist Laing
Nyassi (FCE) 85’- assist Jones
Shots off target:
Shots on target:
Roberts (FCE) 45’ yellow
Corea (FCE) 47’ yellow
Ring (IND) 72’ yellow
Feel free to discuss NASL, Indy Eleven, and soccer with Michael Carney via twitter @Great1Mike.
Photos courtesy of Trey Higdon. Twitter: @TreyHigdon. Instagram: @Nuclear Spaceman