Close, But No Cigar: Zayed’s late brace propels Indy over Cosmos

Dylan Mares

by JAKE NUTTING

The New York Cosmos were mere minutes away from pulling out their first victory in seven tries over Indy Eleven.

Then, things took a turn for the worse.

Ever the thorn in New York’s side, Indy remained determined, following an Eamon Zayed brace in the final moments on Saturday night to sink the Cosmos.

The frustrations for the Cosmos were apparent from the outset. High-pressure from Indy prevented them from developing any rhythm between the attackers.  Indy dictated the pace and probed New York’s backline more than their previous two opponents.

Kyle Zobeck got the start between the posts in Indy as regular starter Jimmy Maurer got the night off due to the birth of his child this week. Zobeck didn’t face many direct chances on net throughout the bulk of the match, but did his part to cut off Indy whenever they threatened with service or runs inside the box.

Indy’s Dylan Mares produced the most serious threat on goal of the opening 45 minutes before the halftime whistle. Dribbling near the top corner of the box, he spun around quickly and fired off a shot that forced Zobeck to stand tall and knock it out of play.

The aggressive play from Indy on front of their home crowd allowed them to hold the Cosmos to their first scoreless half of season.

The Cosmos would not be denied for much longer, though.

Only six minutes out of the halftime break, Juan Arango looked to feed Sebastian Guenzatti into the area, but a takedown from Indy’s Greg Janicki on the play drew the whistle of the referee. Niko Kranjcar stepped up and sent the ensuing penalty easily into the back of the net.

Midfielder Michael Lahoud attempted to double the lead in the 60th minute when he found himself unmarked in front of goal. However, veteran Jon Busch did well to block the powerful effort and pounced on top of the rebound to prevent any follow up attempt.

Indy continued to press into the final third, but were also held back by New York’s tight lines and some well-timed tackles from Ayoze.

Substitute Lucky Mkosana nearly succeeded in giving the Cosmos some insurance after coming on for Jairo Arrieta in the 81st minute. The striker charged down the middle of the field, outpacing any defenders in the area to fire off a shot that narrowly slipped by the outside of the post.

Looking to protect their slim lead in their first road match of the young season, head coach Gio Savarese pulled off captain Carlos Mendes for Gabriel Farfan in the 85th minute.

The Cosmos appeared to be on the verge of riding out their first win over Indy Eleven, but a whistle inside their box and a resurgent Zayed sunk their efforts.

The equalizer came shortly before the start of stoppage time when defender Hunter Freeman was called for an apparent penalty on a corner kick into the area. Zobeck guessed correctly on the direction of the penalty, but Zayed’s strike still managed to slip by his fingertips and across the line.

Riding that newfound confidence a few moments later, Zayed buried the game winner by collecting the rebound from an initial shot from Mares and directing that past Zobeck.

New Yorks’ first loss of the year moves them to third in the Spring Season standings. Carolina jumped them by virtue of their win over Ottawa, and Minnesota United moved ahead on goal differential after dispatching Fort Lauderdale  3-0.

  • Sean

    It was a weak penalty, but I think it was a just call. You don’t wrap your arms around the guy, while chasing from behind. The game winner, I just give credit to Indy there. The Cosmos hadn’t given up a goal all season and when you allow one on a penalty in the 90th minute, when it wasn’t even necessary, it’s a bit bitter. Congrats to Indy Eleven.

  • Kevin

    Heartbreaking loss

  • Jesus Panfilo-Lira

    Oh well it can’t be helped. Here is to the next match

  • OllyOllyOxenFree

    Well, you can’t say it wasn’t an exciting match. Pity it was a loss, but Cosmos fought for it. And Indy has always given us a tough game, on par with Minnesota and Ottawa.

    (What was in the NY soccer water this weekend?)