Indy Eleven topped by Ottawa 2 to 1
After sticking out a two-hour, fifteen-minute weather delay, Indy Eleven and Ottawa Fury FC provided a dramatic continuation of their “NASL Class of 2014” series, with Ottawa midfielder Sinisa Upiparipovic providing the decisive blow in the 86th minute of Fury FC's 2-1 victory at IUPUI's Carroll Stadium. Ottawa would go up in the 70th minute from the penalty spot through forward Tom Heinemann, but the Eleven wouldn't go quietly, with substitute midfielder Don Smart's 84th minute strike setting the stage for the wild finish in the Circle City.
With the game starting at 9:52 p.m. local time, both teams clearly had their energy bottled up as the game started at a break-neck pace, with Indy Eleven forward Jermaine Johnson setting the tone with a blast from distance that missed just wide 90 seconds in.
Fury FC had a golden chance to go ahead early after Indy Eleven midfielder Sergio Pena was deemed to have brought down Ottawa's Sinisa Upiparipovic in the corner of the area in the 8th minute. However, Indy Eleven ‘keeper Kristian Nicht dove well to his left to stop Nicki Patterson's penalty kick to keep things scoreless. The Eleven thought it had a case for a penalty on the other end in the 15th minute, but forward Mike Ambersley's pleas went unanswered from the man in the middle after claiming he was dragged down while chasing a lengthy through ball.
Both teams' nervous energy would settle down after the frantic opening quarter-hour, with both squads still pressing numbers forward in waves but nothing but half-chances coming as a result as the forays. Ottawa received a blow late in the half when defender Drew Beckie went down with an apparent non-contact injury to the lower portion of his right leg.
Both teams would see challenges from distance nearly pay off early in the second half, but Carl Haworth's 22-yard free kick would skim the top of the bar, while another Johnson blast from 25 yards was expertly punched away by Ottawa goalkeeper Romuald Peiser.
Indy Eleven midfielder Kleberson would start to put his stamp on the game around the hour mark with two efforts, one from inside the area that flashed just wide of the right post and an audacious volley from 30 yards that looped just over the upper right corner.
Ottawa would get a second chance from the spot in the 70th minute after forward Tom Heinemann was bowled over inside the area on a challenge by Indy's Fejiro Okiomah. Heinemann himself would take the kick, sending Nicht the wrong way and finishing inside the right post to give the Canadian side the 1-0 advantage.
Things would tense up late, beginning in the 84th minute when Don Smart got on the end of a blocked shot in the right side of the area and thundered home a shot past Peiser to even things up at 1-1. But Ottawa would answer right back, as a series of passes inside the area ended with substitute Tony Donatelli squaring a simple ball into the path of Sinisa Upiparipovic, who slotted home to allow the visitors to retake the lead at 2-1, which is how the proceedings would end.
Indy Eleven Head Coach Juergen Sommer
“I thought there was a lot of energy in the group tonight. Obviously the conditions were a little unusual with the rain delay and lightning, but once we kind of got a feel of the surface and a comfort level with the ball, the boys were looking sharp at the start.
“The [guys] want to win. They were looking to be aggressive and go to goal. Jermaine Johnson had a lot of great strikes on goal, Mike [Ambersley] did a lot of great work underneath for us moving the ball.”
“Don Smart came in and lifted us a little bit. We were at the point where we just needed something to change the game a little bit … we just wanted to push a few more guys higher.”