A match full of fouls and yellow cards kept the Indy Eleven’s post-season hopes alive with a 2-2 draw against the New York Cosmos.
This game had high intensity from both teams.
Second year Head Coach Tim Hankinson remarked after the game about the intensity he saw from the team.
“It is a game we get up for,” Hankinson said. “I wish we recreate that motivation for every single match. But we certainly do for New York and tonight was proof of that again.”
This game was about more than a rivalry. This game was about keeping post-season hopes alive.
“All the players knew playing the Cosmos always brings the best out of the Indy Eleven,” Don Smart, left midfielder for the Eleven, said.
Smart led the team with three shots on goal, one assist and one goal.
The game began with neither side getting the ball much past half field in the first twenty minutes. Then in the 27 minute, Smart scored the game’s first goal off an assist from teammate Marco Franco.
“I was actually surprised he passed that one” Smart said about the play.
The Cosmos responded near the end of the first half when Emmanuel Ledesma found an opening behind Eleven goalie Jon Busch.
Going into halftime the teams were tied at 1 all.
The second half was more aggressive than the first as both team attacked routinely. Both goalies made many saves throughout the game. Busch wound up with 5 saves and Jimmy Maurer of the Cosmos had two of his own.
A tackle in the 52nd minute led to a delay in the game as Javi Márquez of the Cosmos went down. Brad Ring and Gerardo Torrado would be given yellow cards for this play.
In the 64th minute Smart found an open teammate for a goal, Éamon Zayed, as the Eleven went up 2-1.
The lead would not last for long as five minutes later Javi Márquez and the Cosmos found the equalizer.
In the 81st minute, Smart lined up for his third shot of the game which clanked off the goal. This would be his last shot, however, as he tweaked something on the play and did not play for the last 13 minutes of the game.
“I think it's a little pull I felt it on the run. I was going to hit it and then get off the field,” Smart said.
In extra time, the Cosmos took three shots but were not able to hit on any of them.
Some pushing and shoving led to players David Ochieng of the Cosmos and Zayed to both receive yellow cards.
The game ended and the Eleven now sit on the outside looking in while the Cosmos sit in a playoff position with the draw.
It is now a must win situation for the Eleven.
“I talked to the team before the game and the pregame about U.S national team game against Panama and how they are in a must win situation we are too.”
Smart concluded they have a chance if they bring the same intensity the showed for the Cosmos.
“It's crazy we don’t show the same effort every single game. Wish we could bring this out for every single game not just for the Cosmos. We got a couple games left, I hope we can bring out the same intensity,”Smart said after the game.