Photo courtesy Indy Eleven
WESTFIELD, Ind. – Indy Eleven played to a 1-1 draw on Friday afternoon against future MLS expansion side St. Louis CITY SC at the Grand Park Events Center as defender Karl Ouimette’s 68th minute header leveled the contest. The game was a preview of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Second Round clash that will see the sides square off officially in April.
The visitors pressed high with their three-man forward line to open on the front foot, but the pressure only resulted in a header that went wide off a corner kick in the fourth minute and a chance thwarted on a well-timed tackle by Eleven defender Noah Powder inside the area a minute later. St. Louis remained on the front foot, however, and it sent a free kick from 22 yards out wide in the 18th minute before Indy goalkeeper Tim Trilk came off his line to cut off the angle on a CITY midfielder’s 1-v-1 chance seven minutes later.
Indy began to turn the tide as the first half progressed and on the half-hour mark went close as forward Aris Briggs’ volleyed finish was deflected out for a corner. One of Indy’s guest midfielders took a chance of his own from the top of the penalty area in the 40th minute, which was also deflected wide.
St. Louis again threatened early to start the second half and hit the woodwork in the 47th minute on a shot from the edge of the penalty area that bounced squarely off the right post and away to safety. Five minutes later Indy nearly grabbed the opener off midfielder Nicky Law’s deft chip from the left to the far post, but forward Stefano Pinho’s header was impeded, forcing his chance wide.
The teams then traded goals from corner kicks, starting with a side-volleyed effort by St. Louis that took a deflection past Trilk in the 63rd minute. However, Indy found the equalizer just five minutes later when Ouimette notched his first goal of the preseason by nodding home Law’s corner at the top of the six-yard area, evening things at 1-1 and setting up a back-and-forth final 20 minutes.
Both teams hit the woodwork in the closing stages, with the visitors hitting the right post again on a free kick from 25 yards in the 73rd minute. Indy’s guest midfielder also rang the near post on a narrow-angle chance from the left, while in the 82nd minute a trialist midfielder shot just wide of the top-left corner. Two minutes later, midfielder Bryam Rebellon nearly poked one in from the doorstep in traffic for the hosts, only to see the ball roll just wide of the target. The last true chance for a game winner in the 85th minute never actually came to be, as Law looked to be slipped behind the St. Louis backline off Powder’s inch-perfect through ball from the midfield stripe, but the Englishman’s 2-v-1 with teammate Raul Aguilera on the St. Louis goalkeeper was nullified by an offside call.