Indy Eleven Gameday & Match Preview
Indy Eleven at New York Cosmos
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 – 7:30 p.m. ET
James M. Shuart Stadium – Hempstead, NY
Media Game Notes:
Indy faced game #2 of 3 on the road last Sunday against Fury FC in Ottawa, coming away with a deserved point after 90 minutes that featured almost as many rain delays as goals.
After a scoreless first half that featured limited chances for both sides, second half substitute Thomas Stewart opened the scoring in the 56th minute following a set piece by Fury FC midfielder Ryan Williams. Ottawa's No.7 struck the ball hard and over the wall towards Eleven 'keeper Jon Busch, and the MLS veteran was only able to punch it straight into the air where it then fell into the path of Stewart who made no mistake heading home from close range.
However, in the 64th minute Indy earned a set piece of their own on the right hand side. As midfielder Nicki Paterson swung his cross into the center of the box, forward Eamon Zayed headed it backwards in the direction of midfielder Brad Ring, and the American lashed home an effort that struck the underside of the bar and in.
Despite a number of substitutes and a delay for lightning, the final 25 minutes saw both teams come close only once, but finish the match with a point a piece - a justfiable scoreline.
Last Time Out - New York Cosmos 6 : 1 Carolina Railhawks FC
Last weekend at Shuart Stadium, the New York Cosmos asserted their dominance against Railhawks FC in a 6-1 thrashing that featured braces by Juan Arango and Jairo Arrieta, and a goal a piece by Andres Flores and Sebastian Guenzatti.
Carolina got off to a fast start in the sixth minute when forward Matt Fondy found the back of the net off a pass by Nazmi Albadawi, but it took New York just two minutes to level the score as Arango bagged his first from a Flores assist. As both sides settled into the match, chances would come but none were converted as halftime saw things tied at 1-1.
Just inside the hour mark though, the tide began to overwhelmingly turn in New York's favor as Juan Arango scored his second goal of the match on a skillful solo effort. Four minutes later, Jairo Arrieta brought down a pass from Andres Flores and put New York 3-1 up with thirty minutes to play. After a break in scoring, things resumed in the 79th minute with a goal by Andres Flores this time off a ball by Jairo Arrieta, and three minutes later it was Arrieta again on the scoresheet as substitute David Diosa bagged his only assist of the match to make it 5-1. Putting the finishing touch on the game, Sebastian Guenzatti scored in the third minute of stoppage off a Flores pass, who tallied three assists on the night, to end Carolina's misery.
The 6-1 score shot Cosmos to the top of the table ahead of Wednesday's clash.
“Climbing the Mountain”
Before Indy challenge New York for the top spot in the table, we throw it back to a phrase used by Eleven head coach Tim Hankinson before the Jacksonville Armada FC game in May - "climbing the mountain." At that point in time, "Coach Hank" was using the phrase to describe Indy's Spring Season title challenge and how, as a group, they were looking to climb the mountain and finish the job.
Now, Indy is climbing a different mountain - one that requires a much longer trek - the challenge that is the Fall Season. Sitting third in the fall standings, Indy could vault to the top with a win featuring a three-goal margin of victory, but it will take a great deal of effort by the "Boys in Blue" still facing injury trouble among other concerns. While the Cosmos are pacing the league with four wins in their last five games, they will be without a number of players due to international call-ups and injury trouble of their own, meaning Indy needs to throw their all into this fixture if they hope to scrape out their first road win of the Fall Season.
Placing Your Weight
On the other side of the coin, though, is the idea that Indiana's Team needs to place distribute their weight evenly with a match against Tampa Bay Rowdies looming on Saturday.
August was a mixed month for the opponents from the Sunshine State with two wins and three losses, though it's worth noting the losses were to quality opposition in New York, Minnesota United FC, and FC Edmonton. Former England international Joe Cole helped rescue the three points in their last match against Rayo OKC after finding the back of the net twice and remains the biggest threat ahead of that match, but the point remains that Indy has enough on their plate with three games in the next 11 days.
While a win over New York would very much keep Indy in the running for the Fall Season championship, a loss would place them six points off the top of the charts and damage their title hopes. The two Tim's Hankinson and Regan are now tasked with figuring out how much weight to place both Wednesday and Saturday as the chase continues.
Who to Watch, Indy Eleven edition: FW Eamon Zayed
In the spotlight once again is forward Eamon Zayed, who still sits just one goal off the top of the league scoring charts and will look to continue his form against the Cosmos after his brace in the spring.
Zayed has performed well in the fall, often scoring in spurts. Without a goal in the first two games, he would go onto score in three of the next five games with goals against Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and a hat-trick at home against Jacksonville Armada FC. After missing out on scoring against Ottawa and Rayo OKC, he returned to form with a penalty against Carolina.
With Wednesday's match carrying major weight in the fall standings, the Irishman is due for another big performance and has found his stage. Will he deliver?
Who to Watch, New York Cosmos edition: MF Juan Arango
Leading the team in goals (9) and second in assists (4) midfielder Juan Arango is growing as one of the biggest midfield threats on any team in the league.
The Venezuelan international nabbed a brace in the Cosmos' 6-1 win over Carolina and has helped lead the team in their three-game win streak, continuing to push forward and assist the attack on a regular basis. Without Andres Flores, who has been called up to his national team squad, Arango will have to put in an extra shift if the Cosmos are to ruffle Indy's feathers defensively.
Match-up to Mark: GK Jon Busch vs. FW Jairo Arrieta
Jon Busch won't forgive himself for the goal Ottawa scored on Sunday, despite the tricky free kick from Fury FC midfielder Ryan Williams being difficult to handle. However, Buschy is looking at a much bigger task on Wednesday in New York - stifling an impressive Cosmos attack that has scored 15 goals in their last five matches.
Jairo Arrieta, who also bagged a brace against Carolina, will help spearhead that attack alongside Sebastian Guenzatti, who also scored against Railhawks FC. If the Cosmos are to continue their pattern of dominance at home, making a statement with a win over the Spring Season champions Indy Eleven will likely involve impact by Arrieta.