The Cosmos raced out to a 2-0 lead at halftime on Saturday, Aug. 30, but Indy Eleven rallied back at home, and a goal in stoppage time from midfielder Jermaine Johnson sealed a 2-2 draw.
Indianapolis, IN (NYCosmos.com) – The New York Cosmos were held to a 2-2 draw by Indy Eleven at Michael A. Carroll Stadium on Saturday night, Aug. 30. It was just the second meeting ever between the two clubs.
The Cosmos, who were coming off a hard-fought draw against league leaders Minnesota United last weekend, got on the scoresheet early when midfielder David Diosa found himself completely unmarked to head home an Andrés Flores cross in the 6th minute. Diosa became the 12th different New York player to find the back of the net this season.
Despite going down a goal early and conceding much of the possession and chances in the opening 20 minutes, Indy didn’t sit back and defend. It was just the opposite in fact, as the hosts continued to grow into the match and started to create their own opportunities around the 25 minute mark.
Cosmos goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck, who was making his first start of the year filling in for the suspended Jimmy Maurer, was called into action twice in the later stages of the first half. The second time, he made a fantastic save at full stretch to deny Indy midfielder Kléberson’s first-time blast from the edge of the area in the 36th minute.
Indy continued to press in an effort to find an equalizer before the half, but the team’s aggressiveness left it exposed at the back. And after playing a neat one-two with running mate Danny Mwanga, Cosmos forward Mads Stokkelien found himself in a near wide-open position to calmly side-foot home a goal and double New York’s advantage in the 42nd minute. It was the Norwegian’s fifth goal of the campaign.
“I felt at times we had the same intensity today that we showed against Minnesota,“ said Stokkelien following the match.
But the hosts came out of the dressing room a different side. Eleven forward Mike Ambersley created the first real chance of the second half, with his effort flying just wide of Zobeck’s goal. Indy continued to push, and the team would soon give the home crowd something to cheer about at Carroll Stadium. It was Ambersley again posing the threat, and this time he was in the right place at the right time to tap home midfielder Victor Pineda’s low cross in the 61st minute.
The game continued to flow after Indy’s goal, with chances coming at both ends of the field. The Cosmos came close to restoring their two-goal advantage on 70 minutes, when Stokkelien found a completely unmarked Danny Szetela on the edge of the area, but his shot whistled across the face of Kristian Nicht’s goal before safely going out of play. Cosmos substitute Connor Lade brought Nicht into action once more with his stinging effort in the 76th minute, but the German goalkeeper was equal to the shot.
The Cosmos continued to have the majority of the chances from open play in the final 15 minutes. But when five additional minutes went up on the board at the end of the 90, Indy once again came to life. In the 93rd minute, Indy midfielder Jermaine Johnson latched onto fellow midfielder Blake Smith’s perfectly-weighted ball over the top, and chipped Kyle Zobeck to score an Indy equalizer and rescue a point for the home side.
“Obviously it’s very disappointing when we’re up 2-0, and they get a tie three minutes into stoppage time,” said Stokkelien. “But I don’t think we deserved more today…We should finish the game when we’re up 2-0. We weren’t good enough.”
“We need to do a better job of maintaining the lead, but give credit to Indy because they made it difficult for us,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese. “We created some chances at the end, and we could’ve capitalized and finished the game off, but we didn’t get the job done.”
The Cosmos will return home next Saturday, Sept. 6 to face the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at James M. Shuart Stadium, while Indy Eleven will head to Atlanta to take on the Silverbacks.