The New York Cosmos earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the Indy Eleven in their NASL fall season opener Sunday night at Shuart Stadium.
Walter Restrepo came off the bench to score the tying goal in the 78th minute. Indy goalie Kristian Nicht made the initial save but the rebound bounced off of Restrepo’s head and into the net.
Restrepo was confident he could make a contribution to the Cosmos attack when he came into the match. “I saw there was a lot of space out there and I was able to use my speed to help our offense,” he said.
The Cosmos controlled the ball for most of this match, but the conservative play of Indy prevented the home team from getting too many quality scoring chances. The Indy defense played back and was very passive, forcing the hosts to make perfect passes to set up plays. Unfortunately, the timing was slightly off on the Cosmos attack for portions of this match so while New York dominated possession 59-41 percent for the match, they were unable to finish their chances.
Indy drew first blood on a strange goal in the 26th minute by Wojciech Wojcik. A clearing attempt by defender Jimmy Mulligan was deflected and created the scoring chance for the Indy Eleven.
“Mulligan went to clear it, their guy stuck his leg out and the ball just went straight up in the air,” explained Cosmos goalie Jimmy Maurer. “I couldn’t tell where it was going to drop, either outside the box or inside the box. I tried to hold my line but it just ends up on their forward’s foot and he hits it in the corner. It’s tough. We just dominated the game and they get one weird break and all of a sudden we’re down 1-0.”
The Indy defense continued to frustrate the Cosmos into the second half, so Head Coach Giovanni Savarese turned to his substitutes. He added Restrepo for his speed to try to find spaces in the Indy defense and Raul for his overall offensive ability. The moves paid off when Restrepo scored his goal in the 78th minute.
The crowd of 3,647 almost witnesses a last minute win for the home team when Sebastian Guenzatti scored off a perfect cross by Marcos Senna. The initial call was a good goal but when Nicht and about six of his Indy teammates rushed the officials, they conferred and ruled the play was offside.
“From where I was, it looked a little bit like it was offside,” Coach Savarese admitted. “That was my impression at first when I saw the play. For me, what I think is difficult, is when the referee makes a decision, it should be taken, especially when there is doubt. It has happened many times to us. Many time it has gone the other way, and we have taken it and kept on going. So regardless of what I saw, I just don’t understand why the decision was changed.”
Neither team was able to score in five minutes of stoppage time and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
“We had some chances. I think we did some very good things,” said Savarese. “But they also exposed us in some areas. So staying unbeaten is a good thing, but you always want to get three points when you play at home.”
The Cosmos return to action July 18 when they travel to Jacksonville to take on Armada FC. The following week the Cosmos travel to Indianapolis for a rematch with the Indy Eleven. The next home game will be August 2 against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
For more information on the New York Cosmos and for tickets to the upcoming matches fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:
For the post-match videos fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: