|No.9 Brian Brown - Indy Eleven|
Since the end of spring season the Cosmos have not really rested due to their involvement in the US Open Cup. After rounding up their spring season with a 3-3 draw at Jacksonville and winning the Spring title by a single point the Cosmos went back into action four days later on June 17th against New York City FC in a thrilling cup encounter that saw Cosmos come back from 2-0 down to tie the game and take it all the way to a penalty shootout which they won 4-3 against the MLS newcomers. The Cosmos returned to action again this Wednesday July 1st to play New York Red Bulls in the round of 16 but fell to a 4-1 defeat. How that result will affect the team is hard to say, I was kind of hoping New York would win, not only to keep an NASL interest in the Open Cup, but also to give them a little distraction for the upcoming game this Sunday. As it is they probably will be hurting and disappointed, my hope is this does not men using Indy Eleven as a punch bag!
Needless to say, Indy have had a full weeks rest from playing action whereas the Cosmos have 4 days to turn around and prepare for this first tie of the NASL Fall Season.
What can we expect from this game....
What I expect to see from Indy is a continuation of the strength and determination they have shown in the last three to four games, everyone has been witness to the fact that the squad we currently have can play to a level good enough to beat any team in this division, or at least be one of the hardest teams to beat in the league. For this game and throughout the rest of the fall season Indy Eleven have to show that they are not scared of any team, if they can get the ball down and play the way they did against the Strikers, Edmonton and Morelia, they can make life difficult for anyone. Cosmos are a quality side and there is no denying that, but they are also the only team in the NASL that has never been able to beat us, looking back at the Spring table now the two teams who finished top, Cosmos and Tampa Bay both could not beat us. The fall season is a twenty game stretch, and as much as points in this tie would be a great achievement for us, it is by no means a requirement. I think the key for Indy getting any points from this game is to be patient, continue to be very solid across the back and defensive midfield, make it as difficult for the Cosmos to attack as possible and make sure we capitalize on our chances at goal when they arise. I don't think we can go out Gung Ho and try to run over New York. It's an away game, just play the game the way we have been doing and retain possession as much as possible, make Cosmos work for the ball, having only four days rest this would be to our advantage. It's important that we do not get sloppy and put ourselves in the position of chasing the game. This fall when we are on the road we need to make things as difficult as possible for every team and steal points where we can get them, more importantly though Indy has to reverse the trend of not being able to win games at home consistently, we dropped too many points in Spring and last year and we had to wait until the last game against Edmonton to get our first home win of 2015. If the team can turn Carroll into a fortress and accumulate points at home they can easily make the playoff. There are two things at stake for us now, the combined table in which we stand 5th, and the fall championship. It is very realistic for us to consider ourselves as a contender, if you look at the teams outside of the top two finishers in Spring, are any of them really that much better than us, not at all. There is no doubt we will suffer defeats in fall, most teams will, the key to making the playoffs will be how coach Regan and the team react to that. I would like to see Indy to continue being unbeaten by the New York Cosmos, however as long as the team plays the best that they can I won't be disappointed win, lose or draw.
Injury News for Indy Eleven and Cosmos....
Kleberson and Sergio Pena remain long term injuries for Indy, outside of that there are only a few players listed as probable with slight knocks or minor injuries. Charlie Rugg sat out the Morelia game with left quad tendinitis, Brian Brown suffered a slight ankle sprain, Judson McKinney who saw his first game time since injury against Morelia has some ankle inflammation and Victor Pineda suffered a bruised rib. Not expecting any of these players to be inhibited from selection should Tim Regan choose them for the 18 man roster.
For the Cosmos, Raul was carrying a knock going into the USOC game against Red Bulls, but he did get the second 45 minutes, unknown whether he will be 100% for Sunday, likely will see limited time either in the first or second half. There are doubts over defenders Ayoze and Roversio, but I have little information on that other than they are questionable for the game. Ayoze took a knock in the Open Cup game, Roversio has been out for around a month and was rated at 80% in training before the USOC match.
Need more Soccer to watch...... ?
Obviously don't forget the USA Women's team will play Japan in the 2015 Women's World Cup Final at the same time on Sunday. I also want to give a plug to our local NPSL side Indiana Fire who will meet up in an NPSL Indiana derby against FC Indiana Lions on Wednesday July 8th at Park Tudor High School (7200 N. College Ave) Indiana Fire are in a battle to get back into the top four spots and make the playoffs in the NPSL Midwest Region. Come out and lend your support, previous match at Lafayette ended in a 4-0 victory to Fire. General admission is $5 per person! SUPPORT LOCAL SOCCER!!
GOOD LUCK THIS WEEK TO INDY ELEVEN, the USWNT and INDIANA FIRE!