Akeem Ward scores deciding goal in Memphis 901 FC’s win over Indy Eleven
In their third road game in eight days, Memphis 901 FC collected all three points in a 2-1 victory over Indy Eleven. Akeem Ward’s late goal broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion.
Indy has struggled at home all year with a 1-6-4 record and Memphis was able to capitalize with their stellar form away from AutoZone Park.
With high winds in Indianapolis impacting the passing game to start, it took a while for chances to accumulate as the two teams adjusted. Things started to ramp up in the 14th minute when Indy Eleven were stuck in their own half dealing with the high press. Memphis was able to force a turnover, giving Rodrigo da Costa a shot on goal, saved by Indy’s backup goalkeeper Tim Trilk.
Outside of that single scare, possession mostly favored the home side. They had good spacing that allowed them to push the ball up-field and challenge the 901 back line. An unconventional, squatting save was required from Drew Romig during one of these attacks. Another scare occurred when Turci lost his footing on-ball giving up possession near his own box, but no harm was done.
Dylan Borczak was another rare starter alongside Turci getting his fourth start of the season. He tested the goalkeeper while linking up with Luiz Fernando on the counterattack and was a factor on the left wing using his pace.
The best chance of the half for Indy opened up when Cam Lindley found teammate Jack Blake’s run catching Memphis off guard. Romig did well to make life as difficult as possible for the striker in the one on one situation by cutting off all angles, causing the shot to drift wide left.
Minutes later, a corner kick coming from the foot of Aaron Molloy and onto the head of Turci gave Memphis the lead – the first of the season for the Brazilian.
Losing at home once again, Indy was eager to start the second half on a positive note sending multiple players forward. This attacking mindset was almost costly as there was far too much space for Memphis when possession flipped, almost resulting in a two goal deficit.
The match tightened up afterwards with more physical play but both teams remained disciplined. Indy picked up the first yellow card of the match in the 49th minute, the only other coming from 901’s Carson Vom Steeg just before the final whistle.
Memphis had another golden opportunity for an insurance goal with a wild sequence featuring several deflections, whiffed shots and a header from Fernando that clanked off the goalpost. After surviving a series of threatening attacks, unselfish play combined with a solid strike from Aodhan Quinn gave Indy their equalizer.
Before resuming play, they made three substitutions to get fresh legs onto the pitch. Memphis responded by bringing on Bruno Lapa, Laurent Kissiedou and Nighte Pickering replacing da Costa, Borczak and Emerson Hyndman. Rece Buckmaster also had to be subbed off shortly after, suffering an apparent injury colliding into Turci, caused by a shove from an Indy player.
With both teams chasing three points, it took a bit of brilliance from two Beale Street Boys to take the lead. The build-up play started with Pickering finding Fernando in a dangerous area near the touchline. Fernando took advantage of the open space with a lovely turn to get past his defender. He played it to Kissiedou inside the box who immediately laid it off to Akeem Ward. Charging in from midfield, Ward struck the ball with accuracy and pace into the back of the net.
Although there were some nervy moments, Memphis was able to avoid a late equalizer to spoil their first win since June 25.
901 FC will have a week of rest before completing the road trip in San Diego on Saturday, August 12 at 9:00pm CT.
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