RECAP | Indy 1, Cosmos 1

Both sides tallied in the first half and the match finished level for the sixth straight draw between the tams
Indy Eleven Staff | Jul 25, 2015

For the sixth time in as many career meetings, Indy Eleven and the New York Cosmos were fit to be tied, this time after the teams used first half stoppage-time goals from Dylan Mares and Walter Restrepo, respectively, to play to a 1-1 draw in front of 10,206 fans at IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday night.

The game would open up in an attacking lull, with neither side threatening the other’s penalty area with much pressure for the first 15 minutes before the Boys in Blue would have two consecutive shots saved by Cosmos ‘keeper Jimmy Maurer. Recent Indy Eleven loanee Dane Richards started the first quality attack by latching onto a long ball from Indy’s defensive third, but Maurer got underneath him and cleared the ball out of the area. The clearance went no further than Indy midfielder Brad Ring, who took the ball under his control and fired, but the low liner was once again saved by Maurer.

New York would take possession for a majority of the middle of the opening half, pinging the ball around with control in the midfield while notching continuous attacks. The first of New York’s chances came in the 27th minute with a Walter Restrepo in-swinging cross for Lucky Mkosana, who headed the ball into the path of Danny Szetela in front of net, but the midfielder smacked the chance from close range over the crossbar. The Cosmos would regroup and come back on the attack just moments later when Mkosana found space in Indy’s penalty area, but the Zimbabwean popped the ball over Kristian Nicht’s head and onto the top of the netting.

The tension on the field came to fruition in the 34th minute when Indy Eleven midfielder Dragan Stojkov was cautioned as a result of a hard aerial challenge on Cosmos defender Ayoze at midfield. Less than 120 seconds later Ayoze returned the favor, sliding dangerously into the side of Stojkov, sending him barreling onto Carroll Stadium’s track and receiving a yellow card as a result.

As the half wound down, and both teams were seeking a stronger attacking presence, Indy’s Brian Brown would nearly finish an attempt for the home side in the 45thminute when he slipped behind the defense, but the ball caromed off the crossbar and out of danger.  The Cosmos would race downfield and be the first to capitalize when Raúl slotted a pass in the step of Walter Restrepo, which he placed between Nicht and the post in the second minute of stoppage time for the Colombian’s second goal of the Fall Season – both of which have come against the Eleven.

It would not take long for the game to get back to level pegging, as on the ensuing kickoff Stojkov drove a ball to Dylan Mares that he calmed and fired with the outside of his boot and into the right side netting with a left-footed shot, bringing the game to a 1-1 draw at the break and helping swing momentum back onto the side of the home squad.

Coming out of the break, the Cosmos looked to regain their grasp of the game as they advanced with speed into Indy Eleven territory in the 59th minute. Restrepo looked to double his tally as he fired a shot at Nicht, who batted the ball down into the path of Mkosana, but his resulting shot from close range was blocked by Indy defender Marco Franco and out of danger.

The game would take a big shift in the 65th minute, when Indy captain Erick Norales and recent substitute Sebastian Guenzatti were sent off as a result of traded blows. Norales took offense to a challenge made by Guenzatti and lowered his head into the attacker, which was followed by a swinging arm from the Cosmos substitute – and a quickly-flashed red card by the center referee to both players.

As the game entered the homestretch, New York nearly would earn their second goal of the match through Haji Wright and Raul in the 79th and 83rd minutes, respectively. Wright’s opportunity came when he found space behind Indy’s defense and was in front of goal, but he was whistled for a push on Franco before his shot rolled into the back of the net. Minutes later Raúl was left stranded on his own island in front of goal and curled a shot past Nicht for an apparent goal, but the assistant referee’s flag was raised to signal that the Spanish midfielder was behind the defense and thus offside.

It was up to the home team to hold their own over the final few minutes as New York tallied countless attacks into the penalty area. Playing without their captain, Indy Eleven would hold strong and even create some dead ball chances of their own in the five minutes of stoppage, but all went for naught as the sides settled for a familiar 1-1 result, the third in as many meetings this season.

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