INDIANAPOLIS–Tensions were high as the Indy Eleven hosted defending champions, the New York Cosmos in the second game of the spring season. Michael A. Stadium welcomed over 9,000 excited fans for a beautiful, 70-degree Saturday night. The Eleven finished strong to defeat the Cosmos 2-1.
The past six meetings between the Eleven and the Cosmos have ended in a draw but the streak ended when Eamon Zayed scored the game winning goal in second half stoppage time.
In the first half, neither teams could get past defense and left the game 0-0 at the 45 minute mark. The Eleven were only able to take one opportunity that would lead to any danger for the Cosmos. In the 31st minute, midfielder Brad Ring sent a cross that reached defender Nemanja Vukovic but the shot proved too wide. Vukovic was cleared to play in Saturday’s game after a hamstring injury that occurred in the spring season opener against the Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday April 9, 2016.
New York took 4 shots at the Eleven goal in the first half including a missed shot attempt made by midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti in the 33rd minute from 20 yards out.
Just minutes into the second half, Guenzatti lunged towards a cross made by midfielder Juan Arango but the cross was altered by an attack made by defender Greg Janicki. This drew a penalty kick for the Cosmos. Defender Niko Kranjcar took the penalty shot that slammed past the right of Indy Eleven goalkeeper Jon Busch putting the first tally on the scoreboard.
Green smoke rose into the sky after the first goal of the game for the New York Cosmos. The smoke came from the fan section that followed the Cosmos to Indianapolis. This caused some tensions as fans from both sides began to argue over some of the behaviors being made that were considered unsportsmanlike. Law officials and security guards were called to the scene and removed the entire cheering section for the New York Cosmos along with some Indy Eleven fans. According to local security, the Cosmos’ fan section was originally told that they were not allowed to bring smoke bombs into the stadium but this request was ignored multiple times.
Indy pushed for the equalizer throughout the second half but the Cosmos looked strong with multiple shot attempts at the Indy goal. Janicki was fouled by New York defender Hunter Freeman which positioned the Eleven at the penalty spot. New York goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck, correctly guessed that the shot would be made to the left for the penalty kicked made by forward Eamon Zayed. The shot was just out of reach for Zobeck which brought the match 1-1 in the last minute of the game. Five minutes were added to the game clock.
The Eleven were more determined than ever to not the end the match in a 7th draw. In the game’s final attack, midfielder Dylan Mares sent a shot that was blocked by Zobeck but was rebounded by Eamon Zayed. Zayed swept the ball past Zobeck, giving the Indy Eleven its first win of the season under coach Tim Hankinson.
Next week the Indy Eleven will enjoy its spring season bye-week, but will return Saturday April 30, 2016 where the “Boys in Blues” will travel to Oklahoma to face the Rayo OKC for the first time. Michael A. Carroll Stadium will welcome the team back on May 7, 2016 to face FC Edmonton.