Last year’s champ: New York Cosmos. They’d love to get revenge against the Spring season champ on our home turf. Indy, in turn, would like to knock New York back from becoming the Fall season champ next month. Seven points behind New York on the table, the Eleven would be greatly helped in that endeavor by a successful match this Saturday. Besides maintaining the unbeaten home record and moving closer to the top of the table, a win would further boost the invaluable confidence Indy gained last Saturday from the victory over Miami.
This revitalized starting lineup should feature Sinisa Ubiparipovic in an attacking midfielder role once again, charting new passing lanes and cutting deep into the Cosmos defense. Justin Braun will resume his role opposite Eamon Zayed—a welcome sight after missing nearly a month due to injury. His return has already done much to expand Indy’s attack through his speed and tenacity. Zayed, meanwhile, should be quite hungry having assisted goalscorers in three of his last five games while coming up scoreless himself.
When Indy Eleven last hosted the Cosmos on April 16th they downed them in dramatic fashion and sent a clear message to the rest of the league. This team is a contender. Since then, they’ve won the Spring Championship and subsequently slid into a period of doubt and struggle.
Emerging from that malaise last week took passion and energy, characteristics coach Hankinson will be eager to see the team display against New York. The Cosmos are coming off a disappointing 0-0 draw with 2nd place FC Edmonton and will want to score quickly on the road in Indy. New York seemed to dominate their previous opponent for much of the match with an eager, attacking style of play and will not remain goalless for two matches in a row, no matter how stout Indy’s defense is at home.
Compensating against New York’s fiery attack will require Indy to be every bit as rambunctious and opportunistic as they were last week against Miami. In that match the visitors were made to pay dearly for their mistakes. Like dues must be exacted from New York if the Eleven are to gain another three points at home.