Preview: New York Cosmos host Indy Eleven

IMAGE, NASL

by JAKE NUTTING

Having won four of their last five matches, the New York Cosmos now sit atop the Fall Season and Combined standings. Their recent hot streak will be put to the test on Wednesday night against Indy Eleven, the team that delivered the Cosmos their first loss of the year back in April and swooped in on the final weekend of the Spring Season to take the title through tiebreaker.

Wednesday night will be the end of a three-game road trip for Indy, which opened with a dramatic 3-2 loss in Carolina and continued with a 1-1 draw in Ottawa over the weekend. Indy sits third in both the Fall Season and Combined standings, but a win on Wednesday could pull them level with the Cosmos as they’re only three points back in each race.

A win for the Cosmos would not only help create space between them and Indy, it would also provide a cushion between them and FC Edmonton, who only trail by one point in the combined standings and by goal differential in the Fall Season.


Match Information

Wednesday, August 31, 7:30 p.m. ET. Shuart Stadium

TV/Streaming: ONE World Sports, oneworldsports.com

Referee: Jaime Herrera

Last Meeting: Cosmos L (2-1)


Cosmos’ attack vs. Indy’s defense

Indy’s success this year has largely been due to the solidification of its defense. With only 20 goals allowed this year, only the ridiculously stout Edmonton has conceded fewer times than Indy. Former Ottawa center back Colin Falvey has partnered up with Greg Janicki to form one of the best defensive duos in the league. New York only got the scoresheet in their spring meeting thanks to a penalty.

However, New York’s attack is on a bit of a roll, especially after securing their largest margin of victory ever in the modern era with the 6-1 win over Carolina. Jairo Arrieta and Lucky Mkosana both appear to be playing with confidence and purpose, something they will need to continue on Wednesday as Yasmani Duk leaves for international duty.

Advantage: Push


Indy’s attack vs. Cosmos’ defense

Despite the great string of results New York has enjoyed over the past month, the defense has looked highly suspect at times. Keeper Jimmy Maurer’s questionable distribution has put them in a needlessly difficult situations and constant turnover in central defense has led to some leaks along the back line. The team will be forced to change the center back duo once again due to Carlos Mendes’ ankle injury against Carolina. David Ochieng is likely away with the Kenyan national team, leaving the team with Hunter Freeman, Roversio and Jimmy Ockford to choose from. Roversio has only made a few appearances off the bench since his hamstring injury in July.

With 12 goals under his belt, Indy’s Eamon Zayed is only one back of Christian Ramirez in the Golden Boot race. The Irish-Libyan forward is most deadly on rebound opportunities in front of net. He’s not a creator. Instead he relies on distribution and his positioning to find scoring chances. Omar Gordon provides a bit of pace and threat up top for Indy when looking to counter attack.

Advantage: Push


Midfields

The Cosmos will be happy to see defensive midfielder Adam Moffat return from his red card suspension. Yohandry Orozco could also be back in the mix after recovering from his groin injury. He was a gametime decision in Saturday’s win. With Andres Flores departing for El Salvador’s World Cup qualifiers, Orozco’s return would greatly aid the short-handed Cosmos. Ruben Bover moving into central midfield alongside Juan Arango and Orozco back in on the left wing seems like a plausible scenario against Indy.

Former Mexican national team member Gerardo Torrado sat out the Ottawa draw, but the defensive midfielder has been a solid addition since joining at midseason. Wingers Don Smart and Dylan Mares are credible attacking threats for any defense and should test the Cosmos.

Slight Advantage: Cosmos


Coaches

As good New York’s recent record looks, it’s hard to ignore how consistently sluggish the team has been at the start of matches. They’ve had success in rallying to come back against teams outside of the top four, but that’s a dangerous game to play when matching up with a quality opponent like Indy. Gio Savarese will look to remedy this flaw on Wednesday

It’s been a stellar first year in Indy for Tim Hankinson. Under his guidance the team has coalesced into one of the best units in the league and has been competitive in every single one of their matches. Teams have been continually frustrated by their organization and habit of scoring goals at the exact right time.

Advantage: Push


X-factor

A number of Indy’s goals this year have been through well executed set pieces. Their equalizer in Ottawa was a terrific free kick delivery into the box that was headed down by Zayed for Brad Ring to bury into the net. Indy’s methodical nature on free kicks could hurt the Cosmos, who have formed a bad habit of losing their marks.


Prediction: 1-1

  • terry

    Should be a great match – unfortunately on a weds evening probably under 3000 attend