Déjà vu: Puerto Rico FC and Indy Eleven draw for 2nd time in as many weeks
If Indy Eleven players and coaches weren’t already having nightmares about Puerto Rico FC forward Hector Ramos before Saturday, they most certainly will be now.
After dropping a goal and an assist in a thrilling 3-3 draw in Indianapolis last weekend, Ramos added another tally as an encore Saturday. His second goal of the season helped carry PRFC to a 1-1 draw.
Likewise, the PRFC faithful will be waking up in cold sweats thanks to Indy’s Justin Braun. The 6-2 forward netted two goals last week to go along with an assist, the latter feat of which he duplicated in Bayamon. Braun’s layoff pass in first-half stoppage time to strike partner Eamon Zayed enabled the Eleven to depart the island with a point in tow.
After struggling for much of the match, Indy asserted itself late and proved the slightly better side in front of a sparse Bayamon crowd. The visitors out-possessed the hosts 55 percent to 45, while also connecting on 66 more passes and serving in seven more crosses. PRFC did hold a slight edge in total shots and shots on target, 13 (4) to 12 (3).
PRFC jumped out early when Ramos took a pass first time from midfielder Walter Ramirez with his left foot and beat Indy goalkeeper Keith Cardona to the near post in the 19th minute. The hosts — and Ramos — threatened numerous other times throughout the match, but ultimately were unable to answer Indy’s equalizer.
Since PRFC joined the NASL for the fall 2016 season, Ramos has consistently terrorized opposing back lines. After notching eight goals and four assists in just 19 games last year, the in-form Ramos has picked up right where he left off.
Indy was without a few regulars: attackers Ben Speas and Tanner Thompson, and goalkeeper Jon Busch. Their absences forced Eleven coach Tim Hankinson to start New Zealand international Craig Henderson at left midfielder and Keith Cardona in net.
— Indy Eleven (@IndyEleven) April 8, 2017
To confound matters, starting right midfielder Don Smart left the match in the first half with an injury. Hankinson had to burn an early sub to bring in Sinisa Ubiparipovic, leaving the visiting bench quite thin. Upon Ubiparipovic entering, Hankinson only had one attacking option remaining at his disposal in rookie forward David Goldsmith.
To cope with the decimated roster, Hankinson opted to go more defensive, subbing in defenders Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Anthony Manning. Given the veteran manager’s available choices, it was a wise move that helped preserve the scoreline and salvage a point.
The Eleven have next weekend off before returning to Carroll Stadium on April 22 to rematch the San Francisco Deltas, whom Indy played to a draw in Week 1.
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