Indy Eleven Axe Cosmos from Spring Title Race with Stunning Win

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by JAKE NUTTING

The worst nightmares of the New York Cosmos came to fruition on Saturday night as Indy Eleven, propelled by a historic hat trick from Eamon Zayed, picked up the exact 4-1 result they needed over the Carolina RailHawks to supplant the Cosmos for the top spot in the Spring standings.

Indy’s win tied them on 18 points at the top of the table with New York. The two sides also finished even on the first two tiebreakers of goal differential (+7) and goals scored (15), but Indy edged the Cosmos out based on the next tiebreaker — head-to-head competition.

New York’s stoppage time loss to Indy in week three of the spring came back to bite them in a big in the end.

With the Tampa Bay Rowdies falling short in a 1-1 draw at Jacksonville Armada FC earlier in the day, all Indy needs now to officially clinch the spring title is to see the Fort Lauderdale Strikers lose, draw or win by five or fewer against FC Edmonton on Sunday.

Zayed kicked things off early for Indy at Michael Carroll Stadium in the 16th minute, laying out in front of goal to deftly redirect a cross from Nemanja Vukovic past the fingertips of a diving Akira Fitzgerald.

The visiting RailHawks notched one of their to make things interesting in the 29th minute when captain Nazmi Albadawi received the ball from Brian Shriver before firing a shot to the bottom left corner from just outside the box to level things up.

Knowing they were in need of a strong offensive showing regardless of what Carolina did on the night, Indy kept fighting to find the back of the net and Justin Braun resuscitated the rally a few moments before the halftime whistle. Vukovic one again delivered a promising cross into the area and Braun delivering a perfect right-footed flick across the line.

Still in need of two more, Indy jumped on the back of Zayed and let the Irish-Libyan forward carry them across the finish line. He grabbed his second of the night in the 65th minute with another clutch header to the top left corner, this time through an assist from Omar Gordon.

The final blow to the Cosmos’ Spring Season hopes was struck in the 85th minute. Indy capitalized on some lax marking from the RailHawks to work a bit of magic for the critical fourth goal. Braun rolled a pass to an unmarked Duke Lacroix out on the left side of the box and the attacker one-timed a inch-perfect cross across the face of goal for Zayed to slide onto and finish on the back post.

Apart from putting Indy in prime position to clinch their first NASL Spring Season title, the win also allows them to finish the ten-game sprint as the only unbeaten team in the league with four wins and six draws. The Cosmos also went unbeaten last year in their run to the spring championship.

  • Frederick Rerun Stubbs

    This is devastating news to the 873 Cosmos fans in the US …as well those 3 diehards in Sweden.

    • Dwayne

      Hey hey hey!

  • Jerry

    Not a good spring season at all. From fans not showing up, bad losses or ties in extra time, and all the stadium BS.
    Will hold onto my memories of the real cosmos. This is a farce.

  • The rock

    The only hope for cosmos is their new stadium or for red bull to keep failing in the stands and front office.
    Cosmos don’t need nasl, or should I say no team needs nasl, more like usl.