Indy’s “Boys in Blue” once again demonstrated the magic the team is capable of on Saturday night as they demolished the New York Cosmos, the NASL Fall season leaders, in a 3-0 shutout at home. Goals from Justin Braun, Eamon Zayed and Dylan Mares in front of a crowd of over 9,000 fans helped get Indy Eleven back into second place, trailing a measly four points off the Fall Championship title.
Indy Eleven’s win on Saturday also improved upon their unbeaten streak at “The Mike”, bringing the tally to 11W-3D-0L in 2016 and 16 games unbeaten overall at home since last season. Indy is currently tied with the Cosmos for unbeaten streaks at home. If both teams continue their streak, Indy and New York will finish tied with a league-wide record of 18 games, New York and the Carolina being the clubs who currently hold that record.
The Eleven had revenge in mind after losing 0-3 to the Cosmos on the road just weeks prior to reuniting on home turf. Losing on the road is a concept Indy is more than familiar with, but losing to the Cosmos? No. Not acceptable. As the saying goes, “F*ck the Cosmos.” We were ready to settle the score, but our performance on Saturday exceeded all expectations.
A number of aspects in Saturday’s performance-which many are saying has been our best thus far in the Fall-attributed to our dominance on the pitch:
With the return of both Marco Franco’s ability to run the ball up the sideline and Cory Miller’s aggressive aerial superiority when it comes to winning aerial duels, our ability to win back possession was in full swing. The entire defense, in conjunction with the Mares-Torrado-Ubiparipovic-Smart midfield, was able to force the Cosmos’ offensive efforts into favorable positions to either sweep-and-steal or force out of bounds to regain possession. An unselfish front line consisting of the NASL’s most compatible strikers, Braun and Zayed (with help from Mares), kept the ball moving; allowing more time for conservative shot opportunities rather than wasted attempts.
Amid speculation of the NASL crumbling, games like this are a reminder of what makes our league truly enjoyable; it’s anybody’s game at any given time. Rivalries such as the one between NYC and Indy Eleven are what fans look forward to, which is evident given the surge of attendance during any match between the two. The battle to the top is still anyone’s game, which adds evermore to the excitement all soccer fans look forward to.
There are some stories that only soccer can write. Indy Eleven’s undefeated Spring season and their battle to dethrone the defending 2015 Champion Cosmos this Fall are exactly the stories people live for. It’s 70-percent “we want to steal the glory away from the Cosmos”, but the other 30-percent is because we just really don’t like them.