Indy Eleven Determined To Get Back On Track

Defender Greg Janicki says two recent losses are only blips as the club prepares Wednesday night for its second of three games this week
Jack Bell (@JackBell} | Aug 3, 2016

Photo credit: Indy Eleven/Trevor Ruszkowski

After stringing together a 13-game unbeaten run to tie a league record, Indy Eleven is suddenly experiencing a mid-summer drought after losing two of its last three matches.

After winning the Spring Season title over the New York Cosmos on a tiebreaker, the Eleven opened the Fall Season with a draw and consecutive shutout victories (against Minnesota United and Fort Lauderdale). Then came losses at the Loons and at Miami FC sandwiched around a home win against FC Edmonton.

But panic? Concern? Not at all.

“Our confidence is still high, even after two losses,” Indy defender Greg Janicki told “In the Miami game they only had four shots, three on net and two goals. I think we're still playing well enough to win these road games, and at times we are dominating the games. We just have to have better concentration as a team in big moments and not allow those two or three chances for them to go in. Especially early in the game.”

Janicki’s analysis was right on the money: Of the 13 goals Indy has allowed this year, more than half (seven) have been yielded in the first half; three in the first 15 minutes of games and three in the second quarter-hour. The team has held the opposition without a goal six times.

“When we're successful we're getting shutouts,” he said. “That's our game. We aren't a team that wants to rely on scoring four goals a night. It's just two games so it's not the end of the world, but we know we need to play better before it becomes a trend.”

Indy will not have to wait long to buck that trend. The Eleven hosts Jacksonville Armada at Carroll Stadium on Wednesday night. The club will complete a difficult stretch of three games in a week on Saturday when it hosts Ottawa Fury FC.

“These games really test your depth and your ability to change a few guys without missing a beat,” said the 32-year-old defender who previously played for Indy’s current coach Tim Hankinson in San Antonio. “Although three games in a week are hard on your body I think it's harder to stay sharp mentally. I think the teams that are stronger mentally have faired well with the short turnarounds. It's hard to get back to that intensity level so fast.”

In last week’s game at surging Miami FC, Hankinson reached down the bench and cycled in some players who had seen limited action. Veteran goalkeeper Jon Busch gave way to Keith Cardona. Colin Falvey, Janicki’s normal partner at center back who has been rehabbing from injury, was given another 90 minutes to recuperate; while Marco Franco and Cory Miller (each with seven starts) each went the full 90. Hankinson used all three of the team’s substitutes in the second half, giving time to Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Don Smart, and Jair Reinoso.

But Janicki has no desire to rest his 6-foot-3-inch frame.

“I have been programmed for years now to never want to miss or come out of a game,” he said.  “That will never change. You work too hard to get on that field to ask for rest. I feel I can go 90 every game even at 32. I understand the importance in keeping everybody fresh and sharp though, so if the coach wants to give me a rest that's fine. Whatever he thinks is best for the team I will be in favor of.”

Janicki has opened some eyes at the start of the Fall Season by scoring two of the squad’s seven goals. His three goals overall ties him for second on the team with Justin Braun behind leader Eamon Zayed, who has eight.

“I started giving Justin a bit of a hard time and was going to make a friendly wager about who is going to score more goals, but we haven’t agreed to terms yet,” Janicki said with a laugh. “He’s been a bit unlucky, hitting tons of posts. But he creates so much for us. I’m sure he’ll score more than me by the end of the year.”

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