Indianapolis–It was a chilly evening at Michael A. Carroll Stadium as fans came to enjoy the spring season opener of Indy Eleven soccer. A solid turn-out of over 9,000 spectators cheered on “The Boys in Blue” as they hosted the Ottawa Fury FC Saturday night. The match ended in a 1-1 draw late in the second half.
The first 20 minutes of the first half looked promising for the Eleven but they struggled to find their rhythm in the 30 degree weather. The Fury out-possessed the Eleven 63 percent to 37 percent in the first half alone and were able to make seven shot attempts at the goal. The 45 minute long half ended with a scoreless game.
The second half of the game showed an obvious shift–both teams were ready to play. Unfortunately for the Indy Eleven, Coach Tim Hankinson was forced to take out midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic only six minutes into the half. Hankinson replaced Ubiparipovic with Dylan Mares who played the remainder of the match. Mares will take the central midfield attacking position if Ubiparipovic is unable to return to the field. Ubiparipovic will be re-evaluated on Monday by the club to see if he will be able return for their next match.
In the 56th minute, pressure settled on the Eleven when forward Idan Vered of the Ottawa Fury scored the first goal of the night. Vered was able to connect with a pass made by midfielder Johnny Steele to score past Indy Eleven goalkeeper Jon Busch.
With the Fury leading by one, the Eleven found a way to force the game into home territory. In the 78th minute, midfielder Nicki Paterson attempted to equalize the game when he fired a shot that proved to be too high. The game ended in a 1-1 draw when defender Nemanja Vukovic rebounded a close range header from defender Greg Janicki in the 89th minute.
The Indy Eleven will be back at Michael A. Carroll Stadium for Wine and Cheese Night on April 16, 2016 to face the defending North American Soccer League champions, the New York Cosmos. Kickoff will begin at 7:30 pm.