INDIANAPOLIS – Growing pains were expected on the field even if the growth outside the pitch would not.
While the Circle City’s newest professional soccer venture has had no trouble generating interest and filling seats, getting the first victory has been a different story.
The Indy Eleven opened North American Soccer League play with a pair of ties, then four straight losses and then another tie last Saturday as their hope for a “W” would stretch nearly two months.
While Wednesday’s match-up with the Dayton Dutch Lions in the US Open Cup wasn’t in the league, it doesn’t mean the result doesn’t count. Make no mistake–it certainly did.
For the first time in franchise history the Eleven picked up a victory in non-exhibition play, using a strong first half push to beat Dayton 5-2 in their third round game in the tournament to notch their initial victory.
Juergen Sommer’s team jumped on the USL Pro League team with a huge effort from midfielder Blake Smith, who scored three goals and assisted on two others in the victory.
Smith scored two of those goals in the first half as the Eleven jumped out to a 3-0 halftime lead and were able to hold off a bit of a charge by Dayton in the second half to pick up the win.
With the victory the Eleven will move on in the US Open Cup to face the MLS’ Columbus Crew in Ohio on June 17th. As far as the NASL goes, the Eleven return to the field on Saturday with a home game against San Antonio.