With just 13 days in preseason training, Indy Eleven are showing positive signs of a strong team forming after a comfortable 2-0 win over USL rivals Swope Park Rangers FC. After last week’s 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati, head coach Martine Rennie showed the strong ability of his team across the field.
The Boys in Blue came storming out of the starting gates and in turn it took the home team just five minutes to take the lead. New signing Eugene Starikov had his feet swept out from underneath him by the Rangers keeper inside the box. Standing calmly over the ball on the penalty spot, Starikov confidently placed the ball into the bottom left corner and gave Indy the lead.
The endless opportunities for Indy Eleven to double their lead came flooding in throughout the rest of the first half. In the 11th minute Jack McInerney found the ball placed perfectly at his feet after a cross from the left-hand side of the pitch was whipped into the box. The25-year-old’s powerful shot went straight into the hands of the keeper who did well to keep the ball out of the back of the net.
Arguably the best chance of the game fell to Ben Speas in the 36th minute. He received the ball across the goal from Matt Watson which left him one-on-one with the Swope Park keeper. Unfortunately, Speas’ shot rolled just wide of the right post.
The Rangers began to find their stride as the end of the first half quickly approached with multiple shots on goal, but most were blocked by the Boys in Blue. With less than two minutes to go, Kevin Venegas won a free kick on the
edge of the box. His free kick was met by the head of Starikov who doubled Indy’s lead just before the referee’s half-time whistle.
Throughout the second half the visitors put more pressure on Indy’s defensive line. Coach Rennie spoke about why Indy Eleven’s pace slowed in the second half: “We didn’t have the same dominance because it was hard for the substitute players to come on when the other team has been on there a little while.” Both teams continued to come close but as the full-time whistle was blown, the score remained 2-0 to the Boys in Blue.
Rennie also stated: “It was a good training game, I think that we played well, we created a lot of chances and defended in a solid way. There is lots to improve upon and this is just the beginning, but it was nice to get a game and a good result.”
Indy Eleven’s next preseason fixture is this Saturday, March 3rd, where they welcome Notre Dame at Butler University with a 2 p.m. kick-off.