Indy Eleven Snaps Cosmos’ Unbeaten Run with 3-0 win

IMAGE, ANTHONY J. MERCED FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by JAKE NUTTING

Indy Eleven got the better of the New York Cosmos with a 3-0 win to take the regular season series between the two teams on Saturday night.

Careless play in defense and an impotent effort in the offensive end plagued the Cosmos on the road, halting their unbeaten run at nine matches.

The hosts took control of the match from the outset, pressing the Cosmos for turnovers and putting them in uncomfortable positions. Indy finally found the deserved opening goal in the 32nd minute, when Don Smart sent in an arching cross from the deep down the right flank toward the far post. Eamon Zayed was in position, heading the ball straight down to bounce off the turf and rise for Justin Braun to redirect it into the back of the net.

Despite their flat start, the match was still within New York’s grasp at the halftime break as Braun’s header was the only tally Indy could find in the opening 45 minutes. The Cosmos, though, failed to regroup in the break and instead crumbled to allow two goals in the first six minutes of the second half.

A weakly headed clearance from Ayoze off an Indy corner in the 48th minutes fell straight to Sinisa Ubiparipovic, who dished it out to the right edge of the box after seeing the Cosmos had failed to pick up the corner kick taker Dylan Mares. With plenty of time to operate, Mares slid a pass in front of goal for an unmarked Zayed to tap across the line.

The bleeding continued for the Cosmos just three minutes later with a costly turnover at the halfway line. Right back Jimmy Mulligan attempted to cut inside, but instead was picked off by Mares and the break was on for Indy. Mares passed to Zayed, who raced down the left side before sending it back to Mares at the top of the box. David Ochieng failed to close down the attacker quick enough and the low strike bested Jimmy Maurer.

Coming into their meeting with Indy, the Cosmos’ defense had been on a roll. They’d only allowed three goals in their last six matches and had recorded three straight clean sheets.

Even after going up by three, Indy never relented to the Cosmos. A last-gasp header from Jairo Arrieta in the 87th minute that was swatted away by Jon Bush was the only true challenge the Cosmos forced the keeper to meet. Indy held the league’s leading scorers to just two shots on net in the match.

Winning the head-to-head matchup with the Cosmos lifts Indy into second place over FC Edmonton in the Fall Season and combined standings, as the Eddies fell 1-0 to the Carolina RailHawks on the road. Indy now trails the Cosmos by only four points on both tables with only six matches remaining for each side.

The Cosmos remain on the road for their next match. They will face off with the RailHawks on Wednesday night.