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Three Things - #INDvNYC

Three points from, well, three points against the Cosmos
Published Jul 11, 2017

After every game in 2017, IndyEleven.com’s Trey Higdon will give his three takeaways from the performance of the “Boys in Blue.” This week's edition comes after Indiana's Team collected 3-points in a 2-1 win against the New York Cosmos at home.

 

NO BETTER TIME FOR A FIRST GOAL

Indy original and former “super sub” Don Smart made his 2017 scoring debut in spectacular fashion on Saturday against the New York Cosmos. “Indiana’s Team” were granted a penalty kick in the 15th minute after “Boys in Blue” forward Justin Braun was caught out in an aerial battle with Cosmos’ defenders Ryan Richter and David Ochieng within New York’s penalty area. The Kingston, Jamaica-born midfielder stepped up to the spot and graced the scoreboard in the 17th minute when Smart’s shot skid past Cosmos ‘keeper Jimmy Maurer’s left dive into the lower right corner of the goal. For Smart, it was close to being his second goal for the evening. In the 13th minute, Indy XI forward Eamon Zayed battled for possession along the right wing with a Cosmos’ defender. In an attempted to save a potentially dying play, Zayed sent the ball sky high and into the edge of the outer box where Maurer met it with a header. Fortunately, Maurer’s headed ball soared to the feet of Smart just outside the box, who then sent it right back towards the Cosmos’ goal. Unfortunately, Smart’s chance was cut short when Maurer’s dead sprint back to the goal ended with a dive that forced the ball back into Cosmos possession.

Smart’s goal on Saturday marks his ninth in 85 appearances for the club since his signing in 2013. Smart netted his first goal against North Carolina FC in the club’s first recorded win and away win on July 12, 2014. Saturday’s goal marks Smart’s first goal since the Eleven’s 2-1 home win over Miami on September 17, 2016. For those who love stats, Smart holds a 5W-2D-2L record in matches in which he has scored, averaging 2.25 goals per season.

 

BRAUN’S MOVING UP THE LIST

Another night, another goal for “Boys in Blue” striker Justin Braun has he headed home the game winner late in the evening. In the 74th minute, Cosmos’ David Ochieng conceded a corner kick by sending the ball flying past their goal into the East End to avoid giving possession to a charging Eamon Zayed. Thereafter, in the 75th minute, Indy Eleven’s crossing extraordinaire Nemanja Vukovic sent the ball from the corner flying over the Cosmos defense. From there, Braun slipped away from his marker to meet the ball with his head, darting it over Maurer’s left shoulder to net what would be the game-winner.  

So far, Braun has netted seven goals for “Indiana’s Team” as the league enters the final week of the Spring season. Taking a glimpse across the NASL, Braun sits in second place of the most goals scored this thus far in 2017. Just ahead on the list are Miami FC’s Stefano Pinho and Vincenzo Rennella tied for 1st place with eight goals to each player. Earlier this season, Braun overtook former Eleven star Dylan Mares for the second most all-time goals among Indy players with 11 goals. Since then, Braun has collected another four goals, giving the Salt Lake City native a total of 15 all-time goals in 40 appearances Indy Eleven. Furthermore, Braun’s 15 goals leave him nipping at the heels of striking partner Zayed, who sits atop Indy’s top scoring list with 18 goals in 45 appearances.

 

WHAT’S NEXT…?                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Indy Eleven remains in 6th places after collecting another 3-points on a beautiful evening in front of a crowd of 8,748 fans at “The Mike”. Unfortunately, the Eleven can no longer advance into a Top 4 position given last week’s results in New York.

Looking forward, there’s still a chance to advance into 5th place pending our results against Jacksonville Armada FC, North Carolina FC’s match-up against Puerto Rico FC and New York Cosmos’ fixture against FC Edmonton. While 5th place isn’t entirely ideal, a move to 5th still puts Indy XI a step closer to an NASL playoff position with just a few points separating the gap to a T4 spot—should the Spring results end favorably for the “Boys in Blue”.