Indy Eleven’s Victor Pineda Scores Twice to Down Strikers, 2-1
Midfielder Strikes at the Death to Give Interim Head Coach Tim Regan Dramatic Win in Debut at the Helm
Indy Eleven saved the best for last once again, as midfielder Victor Pineda scored his second goal of the night in the final minute of second half stoppage time to lift the visitors to a 2-1 win at the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in front of 5,083 fans at Lockhart Stadium. Pineda’s first of the night in the 44th minute canceled out Stefano Pinho’s opening salvo for the Strikers, while his second gave interim head coach Tim Regan a victorious start to his tenure on the Indy sideline.
Indy Eleven had the game’s first true chance in the 11th minute after midfielder Brad Ring’s shot from 30 yards out was handed down at the edge of the area, but Pineda sent the ensuing free kick into the wall and forward Brown Brown pushed a rebound attempt well wide.
Though Indy Eleven would carry the bulk of the possession and chances in the opening 20 minutes, it was Fort Lauderdale getting on the board first against the run of play in the 23rd minute. Strikers midfielder Dani Sanchez had room on the right flank to get off a looping cross that Stefano Pinho redirected with a header inside the left post and past a diving Nicht to put the home side up top. Fort Lauderdale would nearly double up off a corner in the 32nd minute when Sanchez flicked on a corner kick with a backheel 10 yards from goal, but Nicht got a shin in at his right post to keep things at 1-0.
Indy Eleven would get its hard-earned equalizer just before halftime on a great team goal finished off by Pineda from 23 yards. Hustle to keep possession by midfielder Dragan Stojkov near the penalty arc and a first-time layoff by midfielder Dylan Mares set up the poke by Pineda, which he sent past diving Strikers goalkeeper Josh Ford – making his first start for the squad during his loan stint from MLS’ Orlando City FC – and inside the far right post to send things into the break at 1-1.
It was Fort Lauderdale that would come out of the break with the better of the chances, and Nicht did well to deny Stefano of his second with a great kick save in the 49th minute, and the Brazilian had time and space just a few minutes later to get off a shot in the right side of the area that he fired over the frame.
Indy Eleven began to generate more and more chances as the half continued, and runs by Brown behind the backline nearly stung the Strikers twice, but the Jamaican would be beat to ball on three occasions by an active Ford coming off his line. The qualizer looked like it might come in the 85th minute when substitute Don Smart’s cross drifted over Ford, but it would also float past forward Charlie Rugg, who was unmarked at the far post. With one minute left in regulation it was a Strikers sub nearly making the difference, but Jose Angulo’s stinging shot from 20 yards couldn’t dip enough to challenge Nicht.
It was one more sub, Indy’s Duke Lacroix, almost getting the winner two minutes deep into stoppage time when his shot from the right side of the area forced Ford to tip it wide and out for a corner. A minute later the recently-signed rookie out of the University of Pennsylvania would start off the game-winning play with a 70-yard run down the left flank, carrying into the area before squaring towards the penalty area. The ball would pop loose to Pineda, who sent a rocket into the upper right corner past a helpless Ford to give the “Boys in Blue” the full three points.
For the time being, the result pushes Indy Eleven (2W-4D-3L, 10 pts.) into sixth place in the NASL Spring Season standings. Indiana’s Team will end its Spring Season slate next Saturday, June 13 at home against FC Edmonton on Indiana Soccer Heritage Night at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium.
Quote Sheet – Indy Eleven Interim head coach Tim Regan
On the last-minute victory:
“Clearly with the result it was satisfying, but if it goes the other way we’re talking about a different feeling. That’s how close the game is in the NASL and that’s how close it was tonight. We talk about not only the effort, but on the bad plays really backing up each other up. There were some good moments out there tonight and we’ll try to build on that.”
On the play of Victor Pineda:
“Going all the way back to last year, Victor built up very well in 2014, and then he had an injury to start off this season. Players are impatient after injuries and they think things come immediately. It’s taken him now four weeks, which was about the length of the injury, and that’s usually how it goes. But anytime a player scores two goals we’re obviously happy for him and for the team. He continues to get better and better every week.”
On his feelings after his head coaching debut:
“It’s still a game, and the players play the game. As coaches we’re there to help guide them in the right direction, and tonight I don’t think I did anything special at all because they did all the work. At the end of the day it’s bittersweet to say the least. As I said before, it could have happened against Ottawa, it could have happened against Louisville or Tampa and I’d be sitting down a lot more during games. Either way, I’m happy for the club, happy for the win. We can celebrate, but not for long because we’ve got one more to go to put ourselves in a better position so that the Fall Season means everything.”
NASL Spring Season – Week 10
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1 : 2 Indy Eleven
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Lockhart Stadium – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Indy Eleven: 2W-4D-3L, 10 pts. (6th in NASL)
Fort Lauderdale Strikers: 2W-2D-5L, 8 pts. (10th in NASL)
FTL: Stefano Pinho (Dani Sanchez) 23’
IND: Victor Pineda (Dylan Mares) 44’
IND: Victor Pineda (unassisted) 93+’
FTL: Dani Sanchez (caution) 36’
FTL: James Marcelin (caution) 46’
FTL: Jose Angulo (caution) 82’
FTL: Leo Moura (caution) 82’
IND: Victor Pineda (caution) 93+’
Indy Eleven line-up (4-4-2): Kristian Nicht; Marco Franco, Cory Miller, Erick Norales (C), Kyle Hyland; Dragan Stojkov (Don Smart 66’), Brad Ring, Dylan Mares (Wojciech Wojcik 65’), Victor Pineda; Charlie Rugg, Brian Brown (Duke Lacroix 88’)
Indy Bench: Keith Cardona (GK), Jaime Frias, Greg Janicki, Osman Melgares
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (4-5-1): Josh Ford; Leo Moura, Frankie Sanfillippo, Fabian Kling, Ivan Guerrero (C); Shawn Chin, James Marcelin, Marlon Freitas (Aly Alberto Hassan 72’), Dani Sanchez, PC; Stefano Pinho (Jose Angulo 67’)