INDIANAPOLIS, In. — Memphis 901 FC lost 0-3 Saturday night, on the road against the Indy Eleven.
The loss means Memphis need to win the final three matches of the season in order to have any chance at qualifying for the playoffs.
Indy netted two in the first half and capped off the match with a clinical goal in the second half. Memphis was outshot 12-7 and four of the 901 FC’s efforts were from outside the box.
Indy and Memphis both needed three points from this match, but for different reasons.
Indy came into Saturday’s match on a four-match losing streak, which dropped the team from atop the Eastern Conference into second, behind Pittsburgh.
A mere two points separated Indy from forfeiting home field advantage in the playoffs, prior to the match.
Memphis needed three points or a draw in order to make the playoffs more attainable. With a loss to Indy, Memphis would need to pull nine points in the final three matches and Charleston/Birmingham would have to lose at least once.
From the opening kickoff, Indy looked to be the more determined side.
Less than a minute into the match Indy produced the first chance. It took no time for the home team to pull ahead. Indy won a corner in the 12th minute.
The corner was hit with precision. Dane Kelly was in the right position to flick the ball into the path of Cristian Novoa, who headed the ball past a helpless Jeff Caldwell.
A quarter-hour into the match, Indy registered 4 shots before Memphis registered one.
The second goal came eight minutes later, again from a corner. Ayoze strategically received the short corner, took one touch and whipped a driven cross into the box. Defender Karl Ouimette was unmarked in the box and easily scored with a headed effort.
Memphis nearly conceded a third at the half-hour mark, but Kelly’s goal was disallowed due to a foul against Indy.
Memphis 901 FC was able to tighten up the back-four and increase the physicality which forced Indy to change tactics.
Memphis never tested Indy’s goalkeeper, Jordan Farr, in the first half and needed a huge second half in order to make the playoffs.
The first 15 minutes of the second half were played mostly at midfield.
Indy slotted in another defender to make up the back-four. They seemed content to see out the 2-0 win.
Marcus Epps produced the first goal-scoring chance, for Memphis, at the hour mark.
Epps completed two dribbles and unleashed a shot from 16 yards. The shot was hit hard and on frame, but Farr palmed the effort away.
Memphis built up momentum and looked more likely to cut the lead in half rather than concede a third.
Indy had other ideas.
They won a freekick near midfield and proceeded to score a third set-piece goal. Patrick Barret lofted a pass into the run of substitute Tyler Pasher.
Pasher controlled the pass, beat Liam Doyle on the left and scored past Caldwell at the near post.
The third goal sucked all momentum from Memphis. Indy easily saw out the final 15 minutes to end a four-match losing streak.
Memphis 901 FC play again next Saturday, at AutoZone Park against the Charleston Battery.
— By Caleb Hilliard