My blogging has been rare this year, but the end of the season gives me a good chance to put down a few thoughts. As with last year, 2015 has provided Indy Eleven fans with ups and downs. But maybe even more than last year, we have a feast of intriguing questions facing us in the offseason. I’d like to take a look at a few of those, starting with the obvious one: will Tim Regan be able to shed the “Interim” from his title, or will we have a new head coach for April 2016?
As we wind down for the holiday break, there were a few developments worth reporting on. Just a few tidbits below.
So! I’m still catching my breath from the Eleven’s inaugural season. It’s funny how these things play out; I’m hoping to say more about the season down the road. But even though I haven’t been updating, the Eleven are still on my mind, and last week featured news that I really want to write about.
After Thanksgiving, the team (via a radio interview with coach Juergen Sommer on 1070TheFan’s Soccer Saturday ) announced where the roster stands for 2015. Any roster move is going to be big news, and addressing pretty much the whole roster in one go is worthy of comment.
So what do we have? Nine signings, ten departures, and seven players still in negotiation. Team President Peter Wilt has been busy!
I haven’t been posting much, and definitely haven’t had much to say about the World Cup. There’s no shortage of words written about it, and I haven’t felt a need to add to the din. But with the US about to take on Belgium this afternoon in what might well be the most-watched US game ever (depending on whether it can pass the US-Portugal match from a couple weeks back), it feels good to put down a few thoughts about the tournament, our team, and our fans.
Plus, I’m nervous as hell, and maybe writing a bit will settle my nerves.
Today’s the day for the third round matches in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. (Well, except for Rochester and Reading, who played last night to a 2-1 extra time win for the Rhinos.) This year, Round 3 is when NASL teams join in on the fun, so we’ll see all eight US-based teams in action tonight.
Last year, the NASL teams entered in the second round; four teams won and two lost. So there’s no guarantee that the higher league teams will win. Teams are competing for the right to move on to Round 4, which is when MLS teams enter the tournament. So we’ll see who gets to bid for an upset.
Just a reminder: USOC matchups are settled in a single match — no home-and-home — and if tied after regulation, they’ll go to extra time (two 15-minute periods, no “golden goal”) followed by a penalty shootout if necessary.
Indy Eleven vs Dayton Dutch Lions
Indy have their first USOC match tonight at Carroll Stadium against the Dayton Dutch Lions of USL Pro. Dayton have an affiliate relationship with both FC Twente of the Eredivisie and the Columbus Crew of MLS, so they’re well supplied with prospective talent.
I don’t have much to add to the preview beyond what I’ve said before and what 11th Heaven posted last night. The Dutch Lions haven’t had a great season so far. They’re currently 11th in the table (out of 14 teams) and are now 2-2-5 with a -10 goal differential; they haven’t won since April 19 and are 0-1-4 in their last 5 games. Most recently they lost 2-1 to Sacramento in California. But they’ll be encouraged by Indy’s form, and the Eleven can take nothing for granted if they want a win.
The winner will travel to Columbus to take on the Crew in the fourth round. Will Indy get a first home win and get to visit the MLS side? We’ll find out tonight! Season ticket holders have a ticket to this game, as the previously-unassigned “Game 15” of our package. It’s also the US Soccer “Game of the Round”, so the match will be streamed live on ussoccer.com. But wouldn’t you rather see it live? With a Wednesday evening match, it’s likely that the stadium will have a few more empty seats than normal. Come on out to The Mike and see the first modern Indiana team take its place in the US Open Cup!
Indy still hasn’t won. On the other hand, they broke a four-game losing streak and got a hard-fought point on the road against a title contender.
It wasn’t a cure for all that ails the Eleven, but it was a good step forward. Meanwhile, other results around the league keep the Spring title race wide open. It’s somewhat satisfying that Indy have affected the title race by stealing points on the road from a top team.
It’s a start.
New York Cosmos 1-1 Indy Eleven
Encouraging signs from the boys in blue.
The game started on an unfortunately familiar note, with a quick defensive lapse. Cosmos were ahead at 4′ thanks to Brad Guenzatti finishing off a Mads Stokkelien pass. With Indy playing one of the top NASL teams, going down by a goal so early was discouraging, and it left fans wondering if we’d see another grim road loss.
Hi folks! Just a quick note to apologize for a lack of updates this week. Just too darn busy (plus a little dental work to brighten things a bit).
Last weekend was obviously a disappointment for the Eleven — and a good achievement for the Cosmos, as they went to Tampa and won 3-0 over the Rowdies. With New York in second place on 12 points, and with a league-best +7 goal differential, they’re the clear favorites in their home match with the Eleven. Still, soccer’s a funny sport, and Indy has played well enough (at times) to get a win over anyone.
I also had this thought this morning: building a soccer club is a funny thing. What I absolutely love to see is that the BYB — and the rest of the fans — are still engaged and still care about how the team does. It’d be understandable if they didn’t, but they do care. And that will build a better foundation for the team in the long-term, and when they do well… it’s going to be feel that much sweeter. Caring about the team through the lean times really gives us twice as much joy when they do well.
Maybe that starts today. Come on you Eleven! Let’s get that first win!