Photo courtesy Jessica Stone Hendricks / Richmond Kickers
RICHMOND, Va. – Indy Eleven got off to a perfect start to life in the USL thanks to a 1-0 win against the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium on Saturday night. Just six minutes into the match Indy went agonizingly close to opening the scoring but the shot from close range was cleared off the line by Richmond defender Braeden Troyer who headed it off the line. After fading through the middle of the half, Indy took control back and opened the scoring in the 41st minute largely due to the work of midfielder Soony Saad, who managed to hook a cross around two defenders, finding Jack McInerney at the far post to just get his body on it to bundle it home for a 1-0 halftime lead. Richmond came more into the match as time went on but the Indy defense was just too strong, restricting the Kickers' chances so that when Fred Owusu Sekyere was shown a red card in stoppage time it was already over for the Kickers.
41’ – IND – Jack McInerney (Soony Saad)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Indy Eleven was dominant in the air, winning those initial balls from goal kicks which made it hard for Richmond to get anything going. Indy won 71.9 percent of the aerial duels, allowing it to start the play and consistently keep the ball away from Richmond.
2. Richmond struggled to move the ball from defense to attack quickly, which gave time for the Indy defense to set up. That created few opportunities for the Kickers, who managed just one shot on target through the whole match.
3. Despite the result, there was an improvement for the Kickers, who had 51.9 percent of the possession in the match. That was a significant step up from a week ago, and now the next step for the Kickers will be to have that possession in their opponents’ half after having so much of the ball in their own half in this match.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Soony Saad, Indy Eleven – Saad provided the assist on the opening goal through traffic, and was dangerous with his crossing all night, managing five successful crosses in a strong midfield performance.
Richmond Kickers vs. New York Red Bulls II – April 7, 5:00p.m. ET, City Stadium
Indy Eleven vs. FC Cincinnati – March 31, 7:00p.m. ET, Lucas Oil Stadium