Memphis 901 FC settle for a draw against Indy Eleven in return to AutoZone Park
A sweltering heat welcomed Memphis 901 FC back to AutoZone Park after their month-long road trip as they hosted Indy Eleven – a team they played (and beat) just two games ago.
This go-around, the Eastern conference foes would play to a draw despite Indy being a man down for the entirety of the second half. A red card was given to 21-year-old Harrison Robledo just before half time after he kicked 901 FC newcomer Aiden McFadden right in front of the linesman.
The weather was not the only factor out of the two team’s control as the grass covering the baseball diamond took quite the beating, causing trips and miskicks throughout the night. 901 FC was the team attacking on that side of the pitch in the second half which made life a bit more challenging.
“The pitch and the fact they were sitting in with 10 men made it very difficult,” head coach Stephen Glass said. “We still created a good number of chances and probably should have scored.”
The defensive front was without Graham Smith due to a suspension from yellow card accumulation, but they were able to continue their great run of form – having conceded one goal in a four-game span. Carson Vom Steeg’s return from injury and Lucas Turci’s resurgence into the starting lineup have been important to the success and showcase the depth this squad has.
“I think that there’s a threat on everyone’s position because if you don’t perform, you come out of the team. It drives the competition and the standard,” Glass said.
The possession battle was a tale of two halves, with Indy controlling the ball for the majority of the first. They used their patient style of play to slow the game down and were comfortable pinging the ball across their own goal. This did not translate to many attacking opportunities as only 20 percent of their passes came in the opposing half, compared to 50 percent for Memphis. The best chance for the Eleven came off a rare Aaron Molloy mistake, but Drew Romig came out of goal to clear any danger.
Memphis used an opportune press involving four attacking players to force turnovers and work on the counter. Dylan Borczak was particularly good in this role and his work flipping possession led to a wonderful bicycle kick effort from Rodrigo da Costa.
Being down a man, Indy came into the second half with a completely different mindset. They sacrificed the possession game and did not have any desire to attack. They dropped back, parked the bus and the time wasting started soon after. Goalkeeper Tim Trilk was an expert in this facet and the referee didn’t seem to mind the clock ticking away.
As Glass mentioned, chances did come for Memphis as they attacked the sea of red jerseys defending in front of goal.
Molloy tested Trilk from a good distance away and narrowly missed the top right corner. Turci had a similar effort that wasn’t far off. Da Costa couldn’t get a good touch on an Akeem Ward cross, which might have been the best opportunity of the night. Nighte Pickering came on as a substitute and received another ball from Ward (after his nifty dribble move getting past two defenders) but his first-time shot was deflected by a defender in goal.
Afterwards, Indy did a good job of managing the game and 901 FC might have rushed their attacks or ran out of ideas in the moment.
With the draw, Memphis’ home record is now 4-4-4 (compared to 6-4-2 on the road). 901 FC will be away from home once again on Saturday in Charleston with a kickoff time of 6:30pm.
Photo Credit: D’Angelo Connell Photography
ZenSports is the only sportsbook that rewards you in CASH! Start earning an unlimited 5% cash Welcome Bonus on your bets for 15 days, using code 'BLUFFC'
You can subscribe to more Insider content to get even more Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Tigers coverage here.
Make sure you check out all our podcasts that focus on Grizzlies, Tigers, Soccer, and more!