Louisville City FC and Indy Eleven finish level.
Indy Eleven and Louisville City played the second edition of their burgeoning rivalry in front of a rowdy crowd in Louisville. With both sides struggling through a portion of their schedule recently, Louisville and Indy fans circled this match as a starting point for the final playoff push. With missed chances on both sides, and a strong performance from both goalkeepers, the teams split the points and will now look forward to their final match up later in the year.
McInerney Celebrates Birthday in Style
Coming off of a strong performance against Bethlehem Steel, Jack McInerney put in another strong shift on the front line. A deflected cross was met by the enigmatic striker’s head, as he timed his jump to beat Louisville’s defenders. With Indy conceding shortly after, McInerney showcased his underrated pace and beat City’s back line to a through ball for his second on the day. He wasn’t able to put away a third goal before being substituted, but he continued to work hard and nearly won a penalty attempt for the Eleven.
Jack’s start to the second half of the season appears to be far better than how he finished the first. He is invested in all aspects of the match, making better decisions, and he appears to have moved past the suspensions and hard fouls. If this version of McInerney continues to show up and produce, Indy might be able to finally solve their goal scoring problems.
Goalkeepers Shine Bright
The match was played in fits and starts, with both teams having periods of control. Despite facing pressure from opposing offensive players, Owain Fon Williams and Greg Ranjitsingh stood tall for their teams and were the main forces behind the even scoreline.
A penalty kick awarded to Louisville in the 5th minute threatened to derail the match for the Eleven. A questionable call from the referee awarded the chance to City and Indy appeared frustrated by the turn of events. Fon Williams, as he has done previously in the year, saved the initial kick and pushed the rebound attempt off of the post. Help from his defenders on the goal-line kept the third attempt out and the Eleven kept the match even.
In their first match at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indy won a late PK to send City home empty-handed. The hosts had deja-vu when Indy won one in this match in the final 20 minutes of play. With Eugene Starikov standing confidently at the spot, Louisville fans were left elated that Ranjitsingh refused to be beaten yet again. He didn’t bite on the stutter-step and smothered the attempt to the lower left corner. Indy would have very few chances after that and City beat those back with ease.
These players are key to their sides’ success and are a great reminder of how valuable great goalkeeping can be in this league. With the playoffs looming and the Eastern Conference remaining separated by only a few points, Owain Fon Williams and Greg Ranjitsingh will be linchpins to their team’s success.
Eleven Rue Missed Chances
Offensive struggles have defined Indy’s season, thus far and this match was no exception. With Louisville controlling over 60% of possession, the Eleven were unable to sustain pressure on the Louisville back line. With the majority of the ball, LCFC was able to put the defensive unit under pressure and capitalize for the tying goal. But while Louisville made use of their control of the match, Indy had multiple chances to come out with all three points.
The Eleven had a Karl Ouimette header called back for off-sides just before the break. In the 72nd minute, Eugene Starikov earned a penalty but failed to convert with a botched stutter-step. In the closing minutes, Seth Moses strolled into the penalty box unopposed, only to have possession taken away without attempting a shot or a pass. With the defense standing strong against Louisville’s attack, a third goal from any of these chances would have been enough for victory. Instead, as has been the case for most of the year, the offense let three points turn into a disappointing one.
Indy have the talent to create chances against the best USL defenses. And while their passing and creativity are usually on display, their finishing has been severely lacking. That inconsistency has cost them positioning in the hyper-competitive Eastern Conference and could hinder their ability to make a deep playoff run.
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