The Pitch Bitch, episode No. 1

Eamon Zayed

A beautiful first-half strike from forward Eamond Zayed could have changed the momentum of the match against Edmonton. Alas, ’twas not to be. The shot ricocheted off the visitors’ goal frame — and with it went Indy’s hopes of controlling the game. (Photo courtesy of Indy Eleven. P.S. This photo was taken during a previous match, but provides a nice view of Zayed on the attack.)

A sad start to the fall season at home

FC Edmonton creams Indy

Indy Eleven may have been expecting an easy Aug. 5 game against visiting FC Edmonton after a dominant 2-1 win when the two teams met in Canada just six days earlier. Instead, the home team spent much of the first half on its heels, absorbing wave upon wave of attack from an aggressive Edmonton.

By the second half the Eddies were finding so many holes in the Indy field it looked like Swiss cheese — and the visitors walked away victorious with three goals to Indy’s one.

Though match statistics clocked Indy as the dominant possessor during the first half, the home team created few legitimate threats, though a couple shots could have given the home team the first points on the board — and changed the tone of the game to Indy’s favor. Alas for the home team, none of their efforts found the net.

Still, Indy managed to hold the Eddies at bay for the game’s first 45 minutes. But the opening minutes of the second half saw Edmonton’s Tomi Ameobi head a ball inside the 18 to his teammate Pedro Galvao, who managed a perfectly placed shot, forcing Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch to smother the ball as it skidded toward the right corner of the box.

Just minutes later, during another near-range threat from Galvao in which he was brought to the ground, a subsequent penalty kick for the Eddies was ably finished by Dustin Corea (after much fuss among the two teams in the background and an ensuing yellow card issued to Indy midfielder Gerardo Torrado).

The match barely re-started before Edmonton again broke the defense with another goal — this one accomplished as Albert Watson receives a teammate’s corner kick with a powerful on-target header. Busch correctly read the the threat, but it came in with such speed and power that, even as the keeper caught the ball, he received it just inches on the wrong side of the goal line.

Just as the crowd’s collective spirit began to fade, at 67 minutes, Vuko (aka Montenegrin defender Namanja Vukovic) re-energized the hometown crowd and gave his team a shot to get back in the game when he nailed a brilliant, unstoppable freekick from about 25 yards out.

Hope that Indy might shift the tide in its favor lasted about five minutes. A third goal for Edmonton in the 73 minute left the Pitch Bitch wondering why Lovell Palmer (an effective defensive force during the team’s previous match) was left on the bench as swarming Eddies left Busch outnumbered in his box, forced to defend an all-but-impossible situation. The Bitch is happy to see defensive anchor and team captain Colin Falvey back in action after being sidelined to injury, but must it really be an either Falvey or Palmer situation? The team clearly needed more assistance in absorbing Edmonton’s pressure. To be fair to Indy, the third goal was set-up by an illegal play by Ameobi, who used his hands to control the ball before passing it on to Daryl Fordyce. Fordyce’s cross to the far post set up Corea for the final kill shot. The Indy defenders’ frustration at the officials for missing the call probably contributed to this final collapse.

By the 80th minute, Pitch Bitch was out of her seat and out of her mind at Indy’s in ability to stop the bleeding as Edmonton continued to unleash threatening plays, including a ball played straight across the full face of the goal.

As the game’s final minutes faded away, an ambulance driving by on New York Street, which runs the length of the stadium, gave cause for pause: Stop here, buddy, she thought. We need help.

Indy Eleven now sit at sixth place in the North American Soccer League’s eight-seat table. The team’s next match will be at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12 on the road against Miami FC. A road match against the New York Cosmos takes place the following weekend. The teams returns to Indy’s Michael Carroll Stadium Aug. 26 for a 7:30 p.m. matchup against the Jacksonville Armada.

Here are the match highlights courtesy of NASL:

The Pitch Bitch (aka Rebecca Townsend) has two lifelong passions: soccer and journalism. She was pleased to see the establishment of a professional soccer team in her home state of Indiana in 2013 (on her daughter’s 10th birthday, nonetheless) and is honored to contribute to its chronicling.

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