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Blake’s finish earns Indy victory in preseason finale

By Staff, 03/04/23, 7:43AM EST


Long-range goal in 10th minute earns 1-0 win against League One’s Forward Madison FC

Indy Eleven's Jack Blake is congratulated by teammates after his early goal against Forward Madison FC on Friday afternoon. | Photo courtesy Indy Eleven

INDIANAPOLIS – Jack Blake scored the only goal as Indy Eleven claimed a 1-0 victory against USL League One club Forward Madison FC on Friday afternoon at Grand Park Event Center to close its 2023 preseason slate.

The result gave the Boys in Blue a 3-2-0 record in preseason as the club prepares for its 2023 USL Championship season opener next Saturday, March 11, against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium (7:30 p.m. | ESPN+).

“Today the effort was fantastic, especially in the first half. The first 45 minutes is how it needs to look; the only critique I have was that it could have been 2-0 or 3-0 because we had the chances,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Mark Lowry. “We had some great crosses and put ourselves in great situations attacking wise because we were really in control. All in all, a really good way to end the preseason with a clean sheet and a victory.”

Indy produced early pressure in wide areas, with a few attacks resulting in corner kicks. The squad’s third corner of the opening 10 minutes led to the opening goal as a attempted clearance by the Flamingos came to Blake, who controlled 30 yards out and fired a blast that found the upper-right corner.

Madison’s best looks of the half were bunched together around the quarter-hour mark, but Jayden Onen’s shot from just inside the area was blocked out for a corner, while Derek Gebhard pushed a 20-yard effort just wide right of frame.

Indy’s Jonas Fjeldberg was at the heart of a trio of quality chances in the final 15 minutes of the first half, starting with a finish of a Blake cross to the doorstep that was chalked off for offside. The Norwegian had another shot saves in the 39th minute, and he played provider three minutes later with a dangerous back post cross that just eluded Sebastian Guenzatti’s sliding attempt to turn it home.

The Flamingos almost equalized just before the hour-mark when Gebhard hit the left post with a low shot off a corner kick. Two minutes later, Indy’s Adrian Diz Pe nearly made his presence felt, but his header off a set piece service to the top of the six-yard area flashed just over the crossbar.

Indy was content to control possession and kill off the game over the final half hour, which presented few looks of real quality for either side. A low effort from distance by the visitors in the 68th minute which sliced wide of the right post proved the most dangerous chance. Indy’s stout defensive effort resulted in their first shutout of the preseason, a good sign of things to come as the Eleven get ready to see the results count for real beginning next weekend in the Sunshine State.

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