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‘Superman came in:' Inside Indiana's substitution that sent it to the College Cup

IU Coach Todd Yeagley stayed patient and waited for the perfect moment to put senior midfielder Frankie Moore into Indiana’s Elite Eight match against Notre Dame.

Awaiting his moment to enter the game, Moore gave a fist bump and a hug to IU assistants Kevin Robson and Danny O’Rourke. Just minutes later, he was thrust into the biggest game of IU’s season.

Moore had been dealing with lower body injuries for the past few days, and he didn’t start for the Hoosiers on Friday night. Throughout the first half of the match, Moore stood on the sideline next to the Indiana bench, watching his team battle the Fighting Irish with a College Cup spot on the line.

He’s the glue to IU’s midfield, which was playing less than stellar in the first period of play. Even when Indiana was playing at its best, there were multiple situations where the Hoosiers couldn’t string passes together in crucial moments.

So, Yeagley had a big decision to make in the second half. In the 60th minute, Moore was substituted onto the pitch with junior defender Jordan Kleyn.

Just three minutes later, the Hoosiers found the back of the net off of an Austin Panchot header, which was set up by a cross from senior defender Andrew Gutman. The unsung heroes of the goal were the midfielders, who were able to control possession and create an attack from the center of the pitch. Moore was there to lead the charge when his team needed him the most.

“Superman came in,” Yeagley said. “That’s what I told him before the game. I told him he was going to have to put the cape on, whether it’s 10 minutes into the half, whether it’s at halftime, that kid is the biggest winner. I don’t know if there’s one bigger.”

Yeagley said he wanted to move senior Rece Buckmaster into the midfield in order to add creativity to the center of IU’s formation. He wanted to use Buckamster’s speed and quickness to help exploit the gaps in Notre Dame’s formation. Adding Moore to the fold, Yeagley let his midfielder control the match for the Hoosiers.

He was just waiting for the right time to put Moore into the game.

That decision was made at that time partly because of how sluggish the Hoosiers thought they were playing in the first half. By the time the Hoosiers entered the locker room at halftime, leaders spoke up and addressed the issues that needed to be fixed.

“We were trying to make too many big plays for the crowd because there was just a massive crowd of support,” Gutman said. “I don’t think we were playing our game in the first half, and the second half in the locker room we just kind of took a deep breath.”

Indiana played more of the same style of soccer that was seen in the first half, but after Moore and Kleyn entered the fold, the match opened up for the Hoosiers.

“We knew going into the game that their box defending wasn’t great, so we tried to exploit that by putting balls in behind to try and make them be on their heels,” Gutman said.

Yeagley said Moore’s presence alone helps uplift the team, especially if the Hoosiers aren’t playing to their potential. He gave a boost to his teammates around him by the way he carried himself on the field. All season long, Moore has been a staple to IU’s midfield and team as a whole. When it was finally time for him to come into the match, Indiana looked like the dominant team that’s now won 12 games in a row.

“Frank’s a warrior,” Panchot said. “I know he’s always ready to play when he gets in, and he’s got his mind right. I’m sure he was ready to go and contribute in any way that he could. Just like all of us, he wants to do everything he can to help the team win.”

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