Photo courtesy Trevor Ruszkowski / Indy Eleven
INDIANAPOLIS – Both Indy Eleven and the Charleston Battery scored in stoppage time in a dramatic 3-3 draw at Lucas Oil Stadium on Wednesday night. Indy had tied the game at two goals apiece with four minutes to go from the penalty spot after Jack McInerney was brought down in the area, allowing Ayoze to convert, and the Spaniard appeared to have pulled a victory out of the bag for the hosts in the third minute of stoppage time with a pin-point free kick that found the top-left corner of the net. A minute later, however, the Battery struck back as Tah Anunga placed home his third goal of the season into the bottom-right corner to grab a point for the visitors. Indy had taken the lead just before the break Saad fired home a long-range blast from 35 yards into the top-right corner from a free kick to give the hosts the lead. Indy almost doubled its lead on the hour-mark as Juan Guerra shot just over the crossbar from 20 yards, but two minutes later the Battery struck back as a deflected shot fell nicely to O’Brian Woodbine for a low finish from the right side of the penalty area that leveled the score. The Battery then took the lead with 10 minutes to go as a good run in behind the Indy defense by Nico Rittmeyer to pick out Ataulla Guerra for his seventh goal of the season, but that only served as a prelude to the dramatic ending that lay ahead that left the sides level.
44’ – IND – Soony Saad (Brad Ring)
62’ – CHS – O’Brian Woodbine
80’ – CHS – Ataulla Guerra (Nico Rittmeyer)
86’ – IND – Ayoze (penalty)
90+3’ – IND – Ayoze
90+4’ – CHS – Tah Anunga (Ataulla Guerra)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The swing of emotions for Indy Eleven fans on Wednesday night must have run the gamut, with the side first losing a halftime lead, then scoring twice to appear to grab what would have been a massive home victory, only for the second world-class finish of the game to be cancelled out by a Battery side that just wouldn’t quit. Hand Indy a point with five minutes to go before Ayoze’s penalty kick found the net, and you’d likely have had a happy side, but that’s not how this one’s going to feel tomorrow morning.
2. The Battery’s have had to be resilient in each of their last two outings, but the visitors will likely be disappointed as well to have let their late lead that arrived through a beautifully executed goal that sliced through the Indy defense slip away on a pair of lax defensive challenges that opened the door for Indy’s fightback. Tah Anunga’s 94th-minute goal made sure the Battery’s undefeated streak reached nine games, but the side missed out on the chance to be sitting second in the standings tonight.
3. Set pieces are more often than not key to a side’s potential for success, and in Ayoze and Soony Saad the Eleven have two of the best in the league when it comes to execution from dead-ball situations. Saad’s second long-range blast of the season that picked out the top-right corner from 35 yards would have been enough for one match, but the Ayoze’s wonderfully-flighted free kick that was almost the winner at least matched it, and gave another warning to opponents that you offer chances from both of those ranges at your peril.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Ataulla Guerra, Charleston Battery – Guerra scored his seventh goal of the season, and then had the presence of mind to set up Tah Anunga for the late equalizer as the visitors grabbed a point.
Indy Eleven vs. ATL UTD 2 – June 9, 7 p.m. ET, Lucas Oil Stadium
Charleston Battery at Richmond Kickers – June 9, 7 p.m. ET, City Stadium