Former Butler Bulldog is the difference for Indy
Indy Eleven erased their memories of the difficult three game road trip the team experienced these past two weeks and came away with a 3-0 win over the Jacksonville Armada. Former Butler University player and first round draft pick of the Houston Dynamo, Zach Steinberger led the ‘Boy’s in Blue’ with a brace. While Marvin Ceballos sealed the three points to extend the Armada’s road winless streak.
Before the Armada could anchor their ship, Steinberger opened his scoring account in the 9th minute. Victor Pineda played a long through ball on the ground to Don Smart, creating a two on one in favor of the Eleven. As Jacksonville goalkeeper, David Sierra, came out to pressure Smart, he laid the ball off and Steinberger finished with his left foot. The Eleven created a plethora of opportunities the remainder of the first half but could not find the back of the net. The Indy Eleven faithful had to wait until the 73rd minute when Steinberger captured his second goal of the night. Don Smart’s pass split two Armada defenders and found Steinberger as he was able to chip Sierra and finish the play at the goal line. After witnessing Steinberger scoring his first two goals in an Indy Eleven jersey, substitute Marvin Ceballos notched his first goal for the club in the 90th minute.
Although Saturday night’s win was a total team effort, some individual performances stood out. Keith Cardona was granted his second straight start after his stellar performance in Blaine, Minnesota against the Loons on Wednesday night. Cardona did not see much action as Jacksonville only managed three shots on goal. But Cardona came up big when the Eleven needed him most. This was especially true in the 52nd minute when Marcos Flores curled a shot toward the far post, only for Cardona to push it away. Cardona’s distribution of the ball should not go unnoticed either. His ability to find and deliver to target players with his hands on the outside wings, allowed the Eleven to move into a quick counter and away from danger. Corey Miller’s energy to close down attacking players in the Eleven’s backline halted the Armada from making penetrating passes in the final third. This forced the away side to keep the majority of their possession in the middle of the field.
In the attack, Don Smart’s vision in the final third saw him pick up his first two assists of the season. His ability to make angled runs from the wing and into the middle of the field allowed other Eleven players to join in the attack, creating holes in the Armada’s hull. Smart’s partner, Zach Steinberger, looks to be settled in with the Eleven since his loan move and compliments Dane Richards at the forward position. The combination of Richards’s speed, Steinberger’s ability to hold onto the ball, and neither player having the same mindset to make the similar runs could create a formidable partnership that will spark the Eleven at the forward position.
The Eleven will now travel to San Antonio to face an inconstant Scorpions team that find themselves sitting in last past in the standings and have not scored in 200 minutes. The last time these two teams met was back in April when Sergio Peña scored a 55 yard game winning goal. The Armada will travel to New York to face the Cosmos in search of their first road win in franchise history.
Zach Steinberger (IND) 9’- assist Don Smart
Zach Steinberger (IND) 73’- assist Don Smart
Marvin Ceballos (IND) 90’
Shots off target:
Shots on target:
Daniel Keller (IND) 38’ yellow
Akeil Barrett (JAX) 81’ yellow
Lucas Rodriguez (JAX) 90’ yellow
Marvin Ceballos (IND) 90’ yellow