INDIANAPOLIS – No. 3 seed Indy Eleven earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory against the No. 6 seed New York Red Bulls II to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs at Michael A. Carroll Stadium on Saturday night.
Indy will either travel to play No. 2 seed Nashville SC or play host to the No. 9 seed Charleston Battery in its next outing after becoming the first side to defeat the Red Bulls II in an Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in the Championship Playoffs.
The game proves scrappy throughout as heavy rain and windy conditions made life difficult for both clubs. Indy was the first to threaten in the eighth minute when Neveal Hackshaw delivered an angled cross from the left that was just out of the reach of Dane Kelly at the back post and drifted safely behind for a goal kick. New York’s first chance then arrived in the 14th minute as Vincent Bezecourt had a long-range shot saved by Indy goalkeeper Jordan Farr.
Chances continued to be few and far between, in the opening quarter of the contest, but in the 27th minute Indy hit the front as an angled pass by Paddy Barrett to the right side found Macauley King, who delivered a first-time pass to Karl Ouimette in the right side of the penalty area, and the center back hit a turning shot that buried into the left corner of the net.
New York created an opening in the 36th minute as they looked to pull level that saw Bezecourt have a shot parried wide for a corner from the right side of the penalty area by Farr, but chances continued to be few and far between for either side. New York’s Tom Barlow fired a long-range effort that went wide in the 67th minute, while Kelly sent an effort off target three minutes later as the hosts tried to add to their lead.
Neveal Hackshaw and Indy Eleven's defense held the New York Red Bulls II without a goal for the second time this season as they advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs | Photo courtesy Trevor Ruszkowski / Indy E
The Red Bulls II tried to push for an equalizer as Barlow was stymied by Tyler Gibson’s block with 20 minutes to go, taking enough steam off the shot that it made for a simple gather for Farr. A bigger chance came with two minutes to go when a corner kick from the right by Chris Lema was met by Sean Nealis at the top of the six-yard area but went straight at Farr for a simple save.
New York’s Nealis then couldn’t control his finish a minute later as a low cross by Sebastian Elney from the right was clipped over the crossbar by Nealis’ first-time finish, but when Jared Stroud’s diving header off a cross by Barlow in the final minute of stoppage time the chances ran out for the Red Bulls II allowing Indy to advance.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Paddy Barrett, Indy Eleven – Barrett began the play that led to Indy’s goal and was stellar defensively, winning 13 of 15 duels while making seven recoveries and six clearances for the hosts.