Players from Indy Eleven celebrate with Thomas Enevoldsen after he scored the go-ahead goal against Lansing Ignite in the Second Round of the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Robbie Mehling | Soc Takes
Having gone out in Round 2 during the last two seasons, Indy Eleven came into Wednesday’s matchup with a desire to improve upon a poor US Open Cup record. The squad finally broke through the slump as Thomas Enevoldsen’s lone goal in the second half propelled a 10-man Indy Eleven squad past USL League One side Lansing Ignite FC, 1-0 in front of a crowd of 853 at Butler University’s Sellick Bowl.
“It was an important goal that won the game, so I’m very pleased,” Enevoldsen said.
Indy set up in a 3-5-2 formation, while Lansing set up in a counter-attacking 5-3-2. Both teams created chances in the first five minutes, finding space down the wing.
The key moment in the first half came after an unfortunate collision between Indy Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton and Ignite forward Elma Nfor. Initially awarded a yellow, Newton found himself receiving a red after referee Adam Behrens reversed his decision after a lengthy delay. Nfor, who scored both goals for Lansing in their Round 1 win over AFC Ann Arbor, had to be stretchered off the field and did not return.
Indy XI had to adjust tactically due to Lansing’s numerical advantage.
“Once we went a man down, it was more difficult for us to get forward,” Indy Eleven coach Martin Rennie said. “We kept [the ball] quite well for short spells. We dropped one of our forwards into midfield and had three players playing in front of a back five.”
Both teams played a fairly even first half, but neither team was able to create clear-cut chances.
Indy XI finally broke the deadlock in the 57th minute. Midfielder Tyler Gibson’s cross-field ball was headed across the face of goal by defender Paddy Barrett. Enevoldsen rose highest to finish his only clear-cut opportunity of the game.
After scoring the goal, Indy largely ceded possession to Lansing and played on the counter. Lansing almost scored on a strike from Ricky Lopez-Espin, but the shot was parried away from Indy’s debutant goalkeeper, Jordan Farr.
Indy Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton collides with Lansing Ignite forward Elma Nfor in the first half of a 2019 US Open Cup Second Round match. Newton was shown a red card and Nfor had to be stretchered off the field and did not return. Photo: Robbie Mehling | Soc Takes
Farr was ebullient after the game, remarking on the support the Brickyard Battalion gave him. Talking about the wild events leading up to Newton’s red card, Farr said, “when it happened [Newton’s yellow card], I started putting shin-guards and gloves on because you never know. And then, the fourth official came over to our coach and said it was going to be a red card, so it gave me plenty of time to prepare.”
Rennie was not surprise by Farr’s strong performance after his unexpected substitution.
“He proved what I already know, that he’s a very good goalkeeper, and he’s also very good with his feet, which meant that even with ten men, we had a chance to play possession,” Rennie said.
“I’ve played like that [possession] ever since I became a goalie,” Farr said, “I feel comfortable higher up the pitch, I feel like I can help the team by switching the play and cut out long balls.”
Oregon-born Farr also talked about his love for the US Open Cup.
“I think it’s a brilliant opportunity for every pro and semi-pro team to see where guys are at in terms of skill level,” he said.