INDIANAPOLIS – Indy Eleven began a five-game homestand on a disappointing note this evening, as Louisville City FC jumped out to an early three-goal advantage and never looked back, ultimately taking the latest chapter in the Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest rivalry by a 3-1 score at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Back-to-back goals in the middle of the first half from LouCity’s Speedy Williams and Corben Bone put the visitors on the front foot. Another late in the stanza by Napo Matsoso looked to deliver a knockout punch, only to be countered by a penalty just before the half by Indy Eleven’s Tyler Pasher to give the home side hope heading into the second half.
“This was the worst defeat I can ever remember having in this building. Just a really disappointing night from us after what has been a lot of very solid performances in this building, tonight just was nothing close to that,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “The good news for us is that we have a game on Wednesday where we need to make sure that we get our bounce back. We really need to turn up and play a lot better than what we saw tonight, and it needs to continue like that until the end of the season. We need to fight to make sure that tonight was our low-point.”
Now undefeated in their last six, Louisville City FC (6W-3L-2D, 20 pts.) overtook Indy Eleven for sole possession of first place in crowded Group E table that sees Indy Eleven (6W-4L-1D, 19 pts.) still one point ahead of Saint Louis FC (5W-3L-3D, 18 pts.) for the group’s second playoff spot.
After taking the last Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest meeting 1-0 at Lynn Family Stadium 11 days ago, Louisville City’s attack carried their momentum into the latest chapter. During the 11th minute, LCFC nearly opened the scoring off a set-piece, but the chance was pushed wide of Indy ‘keeper Evan Newton. Five minutes later, Pasher’s speed earned him enough space to fire a cross into the box for midfielder Carl Haworth, who sent the service over Ben Lundt’s goal.
The Boys in Purple took advantage of a set-piece opportunity, as defender Sean Totsch’s attempted volleyed shot off a corner kick clearance turned into a perfect cross for Speedy Williams to redirect into goal from just three yards out, giving LouCity a 1-0 lead over Indy for the third time in as many meetings this season.
LCFC kept their foot on the gas and doubled the lead just a few minutes later. During the 27th minute, Matsoso’s attempted chip over Newton was well-saved by the Indy ‘keeper. However, the redirection deflected off his crossbar and landed perfectly in front of Corben Bone, who scored his third goal of the season after beating the recovering Newton, increasing the Louisville lead, 2-0.
Louisville’s attack kept on coming, with LIPAFC villain Antoine Hoppenot nearly capitalizing twice in the 39th and 41st minutes – the latter seeing him all alone with possession and only Newton standing in front of him. Fortunately, a fantastic save by Newton at the top of his area prevented another goal, but the score would stay at 2-0 for only so long. In the 44th minute, Eleven midfielder Cam Lindley was able to get a touch to Bone’s cross near the spot, but Matsoso was there to take the ball, and the in-form LCFC midfielder finished well low into the right corner, digging the hole deeper for the home side.
Indy Eleven would not go into the halftime break silently, the attack responding with vigor in stoppage time. Following a shot by Haworth that led to an Eleven corner, Louisville’s Cameron Lancaster reached up and deflected the corner delivery with his hand, giving him a yellow and, more importantly, a penalty kick for Indy. Pasher successfully converted after sending Lundt the wrong way, his ninth goal of the season placing him one behind league leader Junior Flemmings of Phoenix Rising and allowing Indy to head into the locker room with a little momentum.
Indy carried that energy into the second half, serving as the more aggressive side in attack for the rest of the contest. A five-minute span early in the second half saw midfielder Tyler Gibson push a left-footed shot from distance wide and two great headers off of crosses just sent over by Pasher and strike mate Jeremy Rafanello, making his second start for Indiana’s Team on the night. The Indy attack continued to press, the 63rd minute seeing defender Karl Ouimette getting a fantastic look right in front of the goal off a poorly-cleared corner, but the center back got under the chance, putting the close-range effort over the frame.
“I think that at the end of the first half and all the way to half an hour into the second half we had so many chances, so many balls around the goal, so many opportunities. Some of them were almost unbelievable that we missed,” said Rennie. “You have to take those chances, you have to score those goals and if you do, then of course you’re right back in the game and can make something happen. If you don’t, after more and more misses like that, it takes the energy out of the game and takes the wind out of your sails, so we have to take those chances. Though it was good that we were on top and creating them, but we have to put them away.”
Louisville’s attack and possession gradually reappeared as the half went on, the 73rd minute providing the most danger when captain Paolo DelPiccolo’s shot from the center of the box was deflected following another great stop by Newton. The ball ended up right in front of Hoppenot, but his wide-open rebound effort missed right of goal, leaving the score at 3-1. The match’s energy – and chances – would drag over the final quarter hour, leaving Indy to concede the group lead on a frustrating night.