MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis 901 FC fell 2-4 at the hands of the Indy Eleven after a lackluster display in the second half.
The fans shattered the attendance record with a sellout crowd of 8,571.
Memphis was out for revenge against an Indy Eleven side that dominated the 901 FC, 6-0 on aggregate in 2019.
The first five minutes of the match were dominated by Indy.
The Memphis forwards barely touched the ball and then, Pierre Da Silva created the first chance of the season.
In the ninth minute, midfielder Michael Reed played a through ball to Da Silva on the left wing and Indy hesitated to pressure the ball.
Da Silva whipped in a cross with his left foot to a waiting Brandon Allen.
Allen took the ball down on his left and finessed a shot into the top left corner.
Da Sliva created three goal-scoring chances inside the first 20 minutes.
Indy was clearly caught off guard by the early goal and opted to play a more physical style of soccer.
The tactics, initially, were not effective.
In the 16th minute, Memphis won a freekick at the edge of the box.
Freekick specialist, Marc Burch took advantage of the dead ball with a curled cross to the back post.
Defender, Zach Carrol headed Burch’s cross past the outstretched hand of Evan Newton.
The two-goal lead allowed Memphis to slow the match down and dictate play.
Outside of a goal-scoring chance from Jean-Christophe Koffi, the remainder of the half was rather uneventful.
Then, last season’s late-goal ghost reared its head.
Indy’s Ayoze Garcia Perez powered a low driven shot past Howard in the third minute of added time.
Last season, Memphis conceded 26 goals in the final five minutes of the half/full time, the most in USL.
Both teams enjoyed spells of possession in first 20 minutes of the second half.
Memphis created two chances but failed to capitalize.
Then, in the 69th minute Indy’s Tyler Pasher glided down the pitch, past the five Memphis players and easily slotted a shot past Howard. His run was registered at 60 yards.
“We should have just fouled him,” Mulqueen said. “There was a foul earlier in the play that the ref didn’t call which led to the run.”
After Indy tied the match, the 901 FC defense crumbled at the feet of Pasher.
The forward once again made his way into a dangerous area and scored first time at the back post.
Pasher recorded his brace in under three minutes.
The pacey forward once again found space on the flank. He opted to pass this time and Carl Haworth scored from close range.
The same momentum with which Memphis started the match was nonexistent in the second half as the 901 FC fell 2-4 at home to Indy.
“The little details that make up a winning performance we took care of the entire game,” Mulqueen said. “The second half got away from us a little bit.”
The Memphis 901 FC’s next match is at home Saturday, March 14 against Saint Louis FC.