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  • Writer's pictureMichael Betz

The End of the Season as We Know it

It’s been a while since the last blog post talking about the season that the Indy Eleven were having. Last write up was one of the usual questions, will we make the playoffs, will we actually get into a good run and stay there, how will the season end? Well thirteen games later we have that answer. For the first time since 2019 the Indy Eleven have a spot in the USL C Playoffs. In this write up, we will take a look at those final thirteen games, the final regular season table, and a preview of the 2023 playoff bracket with the run the Indy Eleven will be looking to take. Let's jump into it.

The month of August was a good looking month for the boys in blue. Six games, thirteen points, four wins, one draw, and one loss. The month started with a home match against Memphis 901 FC. Memphis went up early and had a 1-0 lead at half. Indy would level things early in the second half before Mamphis would take the lead back late in the half. A 2-1 loss to start the month, coming off of a 2-0 loss to end July, had more questions to ask. But over the next twelve games they would get answered. Indy then hosted Birmingham on a very wet Wednesday night. Kickoff was delayed thanks to a waterlogged field but the game would happen. And for the Indy Eleven, it was a much needed game. Indy would put one in the net in the twenty-fourth minute and hold a 1-0 lead at the half. Then the floodgates would open, with goals in the sixty-third, sixty-fifth, and eighty-ninth minutes, the Indy Eleven would walk out soaked but with a massive 4-0 win over Birmingham. Indy then went on the road to take a visit to THE Miami FC. Let the Messi jokes fly, and Miami could've used him that night. It was scoreless at the half , then very early in the second half Indy would put one in the back of the net and that would be it. A 1-0 win on the road and the Eleven were looking good. Indy would then travel to Mark Lowry’s former team, El Paso Locomotive. El Paso would go up early in the game and have a 1-0 lead at the half. Indy came out of the break and looked hungry and they got fed. A goal in the fifty-third leveled things before another El Paso goal put El Paso up by one again. Indy wasn’t done yet though. Indy then followed that up with a goal to level it in the sixty-fourth and would get the go ahead goal in the seventy-first giving Indy a 3-2 win out in El Paso. Two games left and the Eleven were looking to finish the month out in a great way. Indy would stay on the road and play Memphis for the second time in the month, just this time from a baseball field instead of an actual pitch. Things weren’t looking good for Indy as right before the half Harrison Robledo would receive a red card bringing the team down to ten for the rest of the game. At the half the game would be scoreless and at the end of 90, the game would still be scoreless. Indy escapes the game being a man down with a point. Indy would then return to the Mike as the played host to Loudoun United. Loudoun then put a goal in the net in the first minute. They would be up 1-0 in the half and the boys in blue would have a hole to dig out of. And dig they did. In the seventy-third minute, Indy brought it level and they would soon find the go ahead goal in the eighty-first minute giving Indy another win in the month of august with a 2-1 win.

September would see the team only get seven points out of a possible fifteen. Two wins, one draw, two losses. It started with the Messiless Miami team paying a visit to Indy. A scoreless first half left more to be desired at the Mike. In the seventy-second minute Seba put one in the back of the net which would only be followed up by a very late red card to Miami. Indy starts the month with a 1-0 win at home. Indy would then take a trip to New Mexico. Indy went up 1-0 in the ninth minute to be followed up with a New Mexico goal in the forty-fourth minute goal. 1-1 at the half. New Mexico would then score two more goals in the sixty-fourth and eighty-sixth minute. Indy would try to respond but it was too late, a stoppage time goal for Indy would bring it close, but a 3-2 loss in New Mexico led to a trip to Phoenix. Indy would be level at the half in Phoenix 0-0 with only a few cards to show. Phoenix would then take the lead in the eightieth minute. Indy would have a do or die goal in stoppage time yet again to make it a 1-1 draw. Indy would then return home to host RGV. RGV would score the lone goal in the eighteenth minute and Indy would see a 1-0 loss at home. The final home game of the season for the boys in blue would come against Detroit City FC. Indy would go up 1-0 right before the half. Indy then wanted to make sure their home fans got a great home finale by scoring again in the sixty-ninth minute and again in stoppage time. Not only would Indy win the final home game of the season 3-0, they would clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 2019 season.

The month of October would only see two regular season games. These two games could only change where we finished on the table, but more of a fun look, Indy could play spoiler for one of them. Indy would travel down to Tulsa to kickoff the final two games. Tulsa needed a win to be able to have any chance at making the playoffs, Indy wanted a win to get a better chance at possibly seeing a home playoff game. Tulsa scored in the thirty-fourth minute and ended the first half with a 1-0 lead. Indy would then score in the sixty-second minute which would lead to the announcers making sure that everyone watching knew that Tulsa had no chances of playoffs with anything other than a win. Indy must have heard this as they would score the go ahead goal in the eighty-second minute, ruining Tulsa’s playoffs hopes with a 2-1 on the road. The final game of the year would be against the reigning, defending, USL C champion in San Antonio FC. Indy would get things started early with a ninth minute goal followed by a thirty-seventh minute goal. SAFC would be given a penalty in stoppage making it 2-1 at the half. Right out of the half, Indy would get back to a two goal lead before giving up another goal to SAFC in the fifty-eighth minute. Then in the sixty-first minute Solomon Asante would be given his second yellow of the game earning him a red. Indy would then play a man down the rest of the game. Unlike the Memphis game in which they played a man down, Indy would give up a goal this time. In the eighty-seventh minute SAFC would make things level, after 9 minutes of a six minute stoppage time, the game would end in a 3-3 draw.

The table coming out of the final weekend of the regular season looks a little something like this. Miami, Tulsa, Loudoun, and Hartford would all miss the playoffs. Detroit squeezed into the eighth and final position in the playoffs with forty one points. Birmingham would finish seventh with forty six points. Your Indy Eleven would finish in sixth with forty nine points. Louisville City would finish fifth with just one more point than Indy sitting at fifty. The first home playoff team would be Memphis finishing in fourth with fifty two points. Charleston would finish third with fifty nine points. Tampa Bay would be second on the table with sixty three points. And sitting not only on top of the Eastern Conference, but the entire USL would be Pittsburgh with sixty seven points. Here is how the first round of the playoffs will look. On Saturday the twenty-first, games will run from 6:30 to 10:30. In the east, Memphis will play host to Louisville at 6:30, Pittsburgh will host Detroit at 7, Tampa will host Birmingham at 7:30. The Western games will kickoff with San Antonio hosting Colorado at 9:30, Sac Republic hosting New Mexico at 10, and finishing with Orange County playing host to El Paso at 10:30. Then on Sunday two games will take place. Out of the Eastern Conference, Charleston will play host to your Indy Eleven at four followed by the Western conference matchup of San Diego hosting Phoenix at 10.

Now let’s take a look at Sunday’s game. Going back to 2018, Indy Eleven and Charleston have played a total of eight times. Indy leads the series with four wins, two draws, and two losses. Most recently, Indy won in Charleston 4-0 and drew at home 1-1. Charleston sits at third on the table with seventeen wins, eight draws, and nine losses. Charleston averages 1.38 GPM and 1.26 goals conceded per match. Charleston's biggest win of the year was a 3-0 win against Tampa and their biggest loss was a 7-0 loss to San Antonio. Charleston sits with two wins, one draw, and two losses in the last five games. Indy Eleven on the other side sit at sixth on the table with thirteen wins, ten draws, and eleven losses. Indy has 1.35 GPM with only 1.12 goals conceded per match. Indy’s biggest win came in Charleston when they won 4-0, and their biggest loss came at the hands of the Oakland Roots 3-0. Through the last five games, Inday has two wins, two draws, and a single loss. The game will be played at Patriots Point at 4pm. As usual, ESPN + will have all the coverage of Indy's first trip to the playoffs since 2019.

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