Cincinnati Clinches Third In Front Of Record Crowd

FC Cincinnati beat Orlando City B 1-0 in a thrilling match in front of a new USL record crowd of 24,376. Casey Townsend scored in his home debut to give Cincinnati the win.

Townsend, the new signing from the Wilmington Hammerheads, came on in the 66 minute for Kenny Walker. He made his team debut on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds playing 71 minutes. After the game he said, “I jumped at the chance [to join Cincinnati], I know what this club is capable of and the resources here. I wanted to get here as quickly as I could.” Coach Harkes was also complementary saying, “He was dangerous last week against Pittsburgh and there he was again.”

The win tonight guarantees a home playoff match for Cincinnati on Sunday October 2, in two weeks. Third place in clinched for Cincinnati after a loss tonight by the Charlotte Independence. Coach Harkes when asked about resting players next week said, “We will make adjustments as we see fit, take inventory of injuries and see where we are.”

The attendance tonight pushes Cincinnati to 259,437 in USL play extending their own league record and gives them 303,166 in all matches including the sell out against Crystal Palace. On the crowd tonight Harkes commented, “They are educated, the way they continuously sing and push you on…we certainly don’t take it for granted.” Townsend also stated, “That is the best crowd I have played in front of in awhile, you can’t for much more than that.”

The first half had Cincinnati dominating possession and dictating the pace of play but, unable to find the net. Sean Okoli had two good chances and several shots from very far out that were not close enough to worry the keeper. Their attacking chances were mainly through the middle early in the half and down the left where the best looks came from by either crossing it in or getting to the end line and passing back to a waiting attacker. There were two good chances where Cincinnati failed to capitalize, one off a cross that Okoli headed to Austin Berry that was popped up and easily saved. Mark Ridgers saved the other off a ball that fell to Okoli.

Orlando had two very good chances both caused by miscues from Cincinnati players. The first, on a breakaway after a bad ball from Austin Berry that was intercepted in the midfield and led to a long run by Michael Cox that was stopped by a sliding tackle form Harrison Delbridge. The other off a corner that Delbridge tried to chest the ball down in front of goal and it dropped right to Cox whose shot was saved by Mitch Hildebrandt.

Again the second half was dominated by Cincinnati with a bunch of chances that were missed but they were able to get the deciding goal late. Before the goal they were able to get chances from all angles but none of their shots were able to find the net. Ridgers played a good game for Orlando to keep Cincinnati to one goal.

Orlando was on their heels trying to counter until the goal scored where they had to go on the offensive. They had a couple chances but Hildebrandt and the backline was able to stop all of attacks.

The clean sheet tonight makes three in a row and gives Hildebrandt his eighth of the season.

Sean Okoli is still in the lead for the USL Golden Boot, given to the top goal scorer, with 15 goals. He is just above LA Galaxy II striker Jack McBean who is currently on loan to Coventry City in the third tier in England. There are also two players with 14 who can catch him next week if he doesn’t find the net.

Moments of the Match

6’ – Cincinnati had a good chance after a free kick when Tyler Polak crossed the ball into Sean Okoli who found himself open but botched the header popping it up where Austin Berry got underneath it but couldn’t find the net.

11’ – An errant pass from Berry was intercepted in the midfield and passed up to Michael Cox who had a lot of open space into the box. Harrison Delbridge came up with a great tackle to stop the attack.

17’ – Big save from Hildebrandt after a bad chest down from Delbridge falls to the feet of Cox.

34’ – Okoli had a shot and a rebound header saved by Orlando Keeper Mark Ridgers who made a good first save and was able to get back to his feet to catch the weak header.

44’ – Wiedeman found the back of the net but was ruled offside when the ball was played to him from Polak.

52’ – Delbridge with the first yellow of the match for Cincinnati.

54’ – Delbridge gets his head on a corner that goes to the far post where Okoli gets his foot on it but Ridgers saved the shot.

62’ – Pat McMahon picked up a yellow for Cincinnati after a foul that

63’ – Cox almost got lucky with a shot from 30 yards out off a throw in that just went wide of the post.

70’ -Okoli passed off to Wiedeman who just missed with the volley. Another missed shot for Cincinnati

81’ – Cincinnati’s Townsend heads home a cross from Stevenson from the right. A perfect ball in that Townsend was able to slide into the left corner of the net off a slight touch.

90’ – Townsend picked up a yellow card.

Cincinnati has their last match of the season next Saturday September 24, away against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at 7pm. It will be interesting to see how they line up with nothing on the line.

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