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Preseason Roundup – Blake strikes hat trick in Indy victory

By Staff, 02/19/24, 8:25AM EST


Louisville City FC held to scoreless draw by Lexington SC; Hounds drop contest to West Virginia University

Jack Blake and Cam Lindley stared for Indy Eleven in the side's preseason victory against Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday afternoon. | Photo courtesy Indy Eleven

WESTFIELD, Ind. – Jack Blake scored a first-half hat trick to lead Indy Eleven to a 7-1 victory against Columbus Crew 2 of MLS NEXT Pro in a preseason contest on Sunday afternoon at the Grand Park Events Center.

Blake now has a team-leading six goals through four matches of the 2024 preseason. He opened the scoring in the 10th minute, beating the offside trap to break onto a chipped pass by Cam Lindley before lobbing a finish past the advancing goalkeeper and into the net. Sebastian Guenzatti added a second eight minutes later before the Crew 2 pulled a goal back, but Douglas Martinez Jr. restored the two-goal advantage in the 33rd minute.

Blake then round out his hat trick before the halftime break. His second came in the 38th minute with a precise free kick from the top-right edge of the penalty area that picked out the top-right corner of the net, and a minute later he struck again with a first-time finish off a cross from Augustine Williams.

Martinez added to Indy’s lead just past the hour mark as Lindley notched his third assist of the game, having also assisted the Honduran international’s goal in the opening half. Williams then completed the scoring from the penalty spot with 15 minutes to go.

LOUISVILLE CITY FC 0, LEXINGTON SC 0: LouCity played local USL League One rival Lexington SC to a scoreless draw at its Thurman Hutchins Park training ground on Sunday as a shot by Jake Morris that rang the post early in the second half proved the closest either side came to finding the net.

Louisville Head Coach Danny Cruz played different lineups in each half, and in the opening 45 minutes Jorge Gonzalez saw a point-blank shot saved at the back post in the 18th minute before Brian Ownby was likewise turned away by the Lexington goalkeeper in the 25th minute.

The second group played a more even game. Morris hit the post in the 49th minute, while LouCity defender Kyle Adams thwarted a Lexington look with a diving block in the box in the 58th. In the end, neither side was able to find a breakthrough on what was a disappointing afternoon from Cruz’s perspective.

“You have to be able to continue pushing the way we’ve pushed to this point,” Cruz added. “For me, it was a step back today, not a step forward. Credit to Lexington, by the way. It’s going to be a good team this year, for sure, so I’m not taking anything away from them. I’m more talking about our group and the things we need to do better.

“All in all, I’m not happy about it, and we’ll have to make sure we respond the right way.”

WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY 2, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC 0: The Hounds were unable to find the net in their third preseason contest of the year, falling for the first time this preseason against 2023 College Cup Semifinalist West Virginia at Highmark Stadium.

The Hounds (1-1-1) and Mountaineers battled through a scoreless first half that began with the Hounds controlling much of the territorial edge. West Virginia built into the game and created chances by pressing the Hounds’ back line, the best of which was a half-volley effort by Mountaineers forward Marcus Caldeira that was turned away by a diving save by new Hounds goalkeeper Eric Dick. The Hounds continued to press forward, but clear-cut chances were scarce for both teams in the first 45 minutes.

After a handful of substitutions for the Hounds to start the second half, West Virginia got on the board in the 49th minute. Caldeira was played into the right side of the penalty area and had space to shoot, beating the goalkeeper with a shot into the top right corner of the net.

The second Mountaineers goal came as a result of a fortuitous bounce in the 79th minute. Ethan Dekel Daks was credited with the goal when his free kick struck the Hounds’ wall and caromed into the net past the wrongfooted goalkeeper.

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