Marlon gets two, Martinez scores his 12th, and Indy scores four to take all three points
Indianapolis, IN (September 10, 2022) A roller coaster of a game saw the Three Sparks lose in Indianapolis 4-3. The home side scored three in the first half, and although Birmingham fought valiantly to tie it up, Indy found a game winner in the 78th minute to take all three points.
The first half saw Indy Eleven go up by three goals. Its first and second goals were nearly identical, with Indy’s Neveal Hackshaw scoring from a corner at the far post in the 11th and 16th minute. The Indianapolis side found its third goal in the 31st minute, after an outside-the-box shot from Eleven’s Juan Trejado slipped through Legion’s defense and found the bottom corner.
“When I look at the first half, it’s the first time I feel like I’ve looked at a game in which someone wanted it more than us.” said Head Coach Tommy Soehn. “And that just can’t happen. We weren’t able to press like we wanted to, we couldn’t get our attack flowing because they were one step ahead of us, and that just can’t happen. You’re not gonna win games when you’re giving up three goals in the first half and have to come back.”
The Three Sparks did not give up the fight. In the 35th minute, forward Marlon Santos won a penalty and leading Legion goalscorer Enzo Martinez converted on the opportunity after his original shot from the spot was saved by Indy’s keeper.
In the second half, Birmingham scored twice but could not hold the draw. Marlon Santos did his part — netting two goals to earn a brace.
Santos’ first goal was in the 62nd minute. A sneaky thru-ball from Martinez found the feet of Santos who ripped it into the near post. He scored again nearly ten minutes later in the 71st minute from point-blank range thanks to a brilliant service from Forward Sadik Balarabe, who subbed-in for Juan Agudelo in the 58th minute. A thru-ball from Prosper Kasim put Balarabe behind Indy’s defense, who sent the ball across the box to an open Santos to smash in.
“My mindset is always to go in and give my best for the team,” said Balarabe. “Especially when losing, there is nothing more to lose but everything to gain so that mindset took me in with one thing in mind and that was to do whatever it takes to get back in the game. I am happy for the assist, but the purpose of it feels defeated after the loss,” said Balarabe.
“I think the one positive [from this match] is the character we showed to bring it back to 3-3,” said Balarabe. “It’s so easy to completely drop our heads and give up at 3-0, but we realized all our mistakes and fought back. It’s just a shame it was too late and we couldn’t come away with anything. But it’s a lesson for us moving forward.”
Indy Eleven found its game-winning goal in the 78th minute to make it 4-3, with Indy’s Solomon Asante earning his third assist of the night.
After two matches on the road and one point to take from it, the Three Sparks look forward to its next fixtures to make it right.
“They’re all must win games this late in the season,” said Soehn. “There’s no easy games. We have a tough schedule left. Pittsburgh’s gonna be tough, and there’s a lot more to go after that … I don’t look at the future, I just look at one game at a time and every game we play needs to be a winner, that’s it.”
|1st Half||2nd Half|
IND – 11′ – #15 Neveal Hackshaw
IND – 16′ – #15 Neveal Hackshaw
IND – 31′ – #17 Juan Tejada
BHM – 35’ – #19 Enzo Martinez
BHM – 62’ – #11 Marlon Santos
BHM – 71’ – #11 Marlon Santos
IND – 78′ – #29 Stefano Pinho
BHM – 4-3-3 – #1 Matt VanOekel; #24 Jonny Dean, #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Phanuel Kavita ©, #5 Mikey Lopez (81′ – #13 Jake Rufe); #20 Zach Herivaux (90 – #47 Mataeo Bunbury), #6 Anderson Asiedu, #8 Bruno Lapa (57′ – #10 Prosper Kasim); #19 Enzo Martinez, #11 Marlon Santos, #99 Juan Agudelo (58’ – #29 Sadik Balarabe)
IND – 4-3-3 – #1 Tim Trilk; #22 Robert Dambrot, #2 Jesús Vázquez, #4 Mechack Jérôme, #5 Jared Timmer; #15 Neveal Hackshaw, #6 Sam Brown, #7 Ayoze García; #29 Stéfano Pinho, #17 Juan Tejada, #14 Solomon Asante
The Three Sparks return to Protective Stadium on Wednesday, September 14, at 7:00PM for the only home game of the month to take on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in a pivotal contest in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and fans can grab tickets today!
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