For a second consecutive week, the NASL expansion team of Indy Eleven earned a draw in front of its home crowd as it played to a 1-1 stalemate against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium on Saturday evening.
The sold out crowd of 10,421 saw forward Brian Shriver opened the scoring for the Rowdies with a goal in the 48th minute, but the Indy Eleven equalized through Honduran defender Erick Norales in the 81st minute.
“We showed are youth at times in the second half, but I was pleased towards the end as the team developed some opportunities in front of goal,” said Indy Eleven coach Juergen Sommer. “It was great for the guys to battle back and especially for Erick (Norales) who had to step up with getting the tying goal. There are some good things we can take away from the game.”
Neither team made a change to their opening night lineups, though Tampa Bay coach Ricky Hill did make one tactical adjustment, dropping Evans Frimpong from the front line into the midfield.
The Rowdies controlled most of the ball in the first half, with Anthony Wallace and Georgi Hristov connecting particularly well along the left wing.
The first decent chance of the match came in the 15th minute, when Frimpong played Hristov through on goal, but Kristian Nicht was there to make the save for Indy.
Three minutes later, Kleberson took a shot from about 30 yards out which rocketed off Matt Pickens’ crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Hristov had another few shots in the first half and helped to create some as well, including a 38th minute cross which was headed toward goal by Frimpong, but Nicht was again present to make the save.
Just after halftime, Rowdies left back Blake Wagner threaded a through ball to Shriver, who quickly finished past Nicht for his first Rowdies goal in the 48th minute.
Indy showed its speed with a counterattack in the 67th minute, breaking quickly after a Rowdies free kick and setting up a three-on-three offensive opportunity. J.P. Rodrigues ended the danger with a quick step and got the ball out of play.
Kleberson nearly scored the equalizing goal in the 73rd minute, blasting a free kick from 30 yards out off the inside of Pickens’ right-hand goal post, but the Rowdies’ lead carried on.
Norales’ 81st minute equalizer was created by shifty work on the right wing by second-half substitute Dylan Mares. Mares created some space and slotted across the face of goal, slightly behind Norales, but the defender showed some flexibility in reaching back to poke the ball into the net.
“Disappointed in the matter that we conceded the goal and it is another lesson we need to learn as a team,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “We play a great attacking style as much as we can but we also have to be solid on back. We had a lack of communication and the goal came as a result of simple turnover so it is hard lesson we have to learn but and we time to correct it.”