Friday, June 18, 2010

Indiana Invaders – Kalamazoo Outrage (31-05-2010)

If you google “Indiana Invaders”, there is a good chance that you first get the page of a track & field team in Indianapolis, Indiana. This could be seen as an indicator of the lack of professionalism of the Indiana Invaders FC, from South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1998, the Invaders are an established force in the Premier Development League (PDL), America’s Fourth Division. This notwithstanding, they run the most amateuristic operation I have seen so far (beating the St. Louis Lions).

We arrived just in time for kick-off at the Indiana Invaders Soccer Complex, home ground of the Invaders since 2003. We went to the ticket office/concession stand where M. paid $ 8.00 and I paid $ 1.00, because I was wearing a football jersey (although of PSV, not of the Invaders); unsurprisingly, we didn’t get a ticket. :-)

We walked through the indoor hall, which has a full indoor pitch, and toward the ‘stadium’. Wikipedia claims that the Indiana Invaders Soccer Complex has a capacity of 4.985, which seems very generous. It has only one small stand, which this night was occupied by only 75 people (of whom less than 10 where fans of Kalamazoo, which is only 70 miles from South Bend).

Just before kick-off some players disappeared into the trees to pee, which reminded me of playing myself at some smaller clubs (when I was 11-12!). While going through the players, the announcer literally said: “let’s hear it for number 21, whose name we do not know”… and this was one of their own!

The game started very slow, both teams playing very defensively with 7-8 people behind the ball. The announcer was giving play-to-play commentary, which was better than the more regular shouting of adds and playing of loud music at any moment no one kicks a ball. In the 6th minute the visitors had a decent shot on goal, but it was stopped by the Invaders goalie. In the 15th minute they do it better: a good pass through is met by slow goal keeping and a cool finish: 0-1 for the Outrage!

The goal changed the game, with the Outrage sitting back and the Invaders trying to make the game and create chances. Within five minutes they had two shots on goal and in the 25th minute a classic attack over left was cross-volleyed in from 4 meters: 1-1. Despite another good chance for the Kalamazoo goal scorer, half time score remained 1-1.

The second half started surprisingly malicious; in the 48th minute a Kalamazoo player swings for the head of an Indiana player and misses. The referee gives only yellow. Maybe this helped the Invaders get angry, as they played a much better second half. Unfortunately, the game was also slower, leading to some long attacks, but with few real chances. In the 75th minute the Invaders attack over left, but do not finish.

As the hosts miss a free header in the 82nd minute, I am convinced the game will finish in a draw. I am proven wrong the next minute, when a fumble in the Kalamazoo defense enables a 3 meter finish: 2-1 for the Invaders. This was also the final score.

‘Soccer’ is not a popular sport in the Midwest. This is particularly clear in Indiana, which has only one team, the Indiana Invaders, which plays in the lowest division. Moreover, after more than ten years the Invaders still play in the most amateuristic stadium for one of the smallest crowds in America. Shame.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a freakin joke this is not true at all and just to let you know if invaders sucks so much than how is it that kalamazoo got kicked out of PDL league. I would like you to make a soccer team in the PDL league.