Hoosier voters headed to the polls this week and resoundingly selected two candidates who impressed them the most – Indy Eleven’s Nemanja Vukovic and forward Jair Reinoso. Both players found the back of the net this week, Reinoso with one of the prettiest strikes that a member of the Eleven has finished and Vukovic with the game winner in Oklahoma City.It was a grinder of a match for the Eleven, maybe not by plan but by necessity as defensive midfielder Brad Ring was forced from the match early with an ankle injury. The Boys In Blue managed to hold a potent Rayo OKC offense to just one goal, despite having advantages in possession and shots.
Fans were most divided on the performance of Omar Gordon and Eamon Zayed. Gordon tried to force the game too much in his debut but showed flashes of potential that should excite fans. Zayed was able to get in position to cause trouble only a few times and fans expect the big Irishman to put his chances away (I’m sure he has the same expectations for himself).
The match referee received a rating of 4.84, not our lowest rating for a referee but not good. His ratings were across the board – he received ratings of 1 as well as 10. I’m not certain that will ever see ratings that cross the entire 10-point spectrum again.
Indy’s player with the lowest match rating was Sinisa Ubiparipovic. The midfielder was possibly forced into the lineup without being 100% fit due to the absence of an ill Dylan Mares. His one shining moment was a beautiful pass over the top of the defense that fed Reinoso for Indy’s first goal but his nagging injury (or rapid onset aging) and lack of mobility was taken advantage of by Rayo OKC as their midfield dominated the match. Despite being Indy’s lowest rated player in the match, Ubi joined Reinoso and Vukovic on the league’s team of the week.
Head coach Tim Hankinson earned another high score with deft strategy and player management. He’s had a golden touch thus far as his formation changes and player selections have made significant positive impacts for the league’s only unbeaten team.
Rayo was arguably the better side last Saturday even though the fans rated Indy higher – 7.50 to 6.30. However, if we average out the individual match ratings for the Eleven the team earned a 6.22, slightly less than Rayo’s team rating. Regardless, Indy’s performance was greater than the sum of it’s parts and really all that matters is that they left Oklahoma with three important points and the confidence to bag more.
Fans of the Eleven are feeling bully about their team right now and rightfully so. Expectations for the team’s finish in the Spring jumped from 3.60 to 2.60.
Be sure to vote again this week, I’ll post the match rating form after the game and voting will remain open for 36 to 48 hours. Until then, Indy Forever!