Cincinnati Grinds Out Win Over Toronto

FC Cincinnati grinded out a 1-0 victory over Toronto FC II in front of 18,214 at Nippert Stadium. Danni Konig headed home the winner early in the 18 minute off a cross from Tyler Polak.

Head Coach Alan Koch after the match said, “We had ample opportunity to finish the game much earlier than we did, but glad to pick up three points.” He later commented on the clean sheet saying, “Based on what I saw tonight it certainly wasn’t the perfect defensive performance. We got the clean sheet, which is huge, it gives us confidence. But there were a couple moments where we didn’t do what we need to do.”

Cincinnati dominated possession and controled the game for very long stretches but was only able to muster a few good chances. Toronto was on their heels most of the match but their best chance from Shaan Hundal was put off the post after a shot slid past Cincinnati keeper Mitch Hildebrandt.

Konig’s goal gave Cincinnati the lead with a header off a cross from Polak from the left. Jimmy McLaughlin received the ball on the left and ran down the side of the field before passing back to a wide open Polak who put a cross in that was headed home by Konig.

Less than a minute before the goal Konig was forced to come off the field after a collision with Toronto’s Brando Onkony due to bleeding on his forehead. After the bleeding was stopped he was allowed back on and ran into the box just in time to score the goal.

Koing had a chance to double his lead before halftime off a corner but the ball looked to surprise him after just getting over the keeper’s outstretched arms. He thrashed at it putting it up over the bar.

Toronto had their best chances early in the second half when a corner was hit too far but ended up at the feet of an unmarked Luis Pereira who put a shot past Hildebrandt but Polak was on the line to send it out of the box. On the next attack Cincinnati’s other fullback Matt Bahner stopped a shot from inside the 18-yard box when the defense looked out of position.

Hundal of Toronto hit the post in the 64 minute after Hildebrandt had to come all the way out of his box to stop the one on one chance.

Cincinnati was then able to grind out the match until a late foul from Jimmy McLaughlin in a very dangerous position. But a poor free kick squandered the last chance for Toronto.

News And Notes

Konig’s goal tonight gives him his third in his last three games for Cincinnati.

Coach Koch praised his medical staff saying, “Danni was off, took one to the head, Dr. Brian Grawe and Athletic Trainer Aaron Powell patched him up as quickly as they could, they got him back in and literally he ran on and scored the goal. It’s not just the 11 players playing on the pitch. We’re a team and we’re a club and we go to battle for each other. I give my medical staff a lot of credit tonight to help us get the three points.”

Cincinnati kept their third straight clean sheet across all competitions, second straight in the USL. Hildebrandt earned his third of the season tonight as well.

Harrison Delbridge and Aodhan Quinn were given their third yellow cards of the season. At five yellow cards there is a one-match suspension. Victor Mansaray is also on three yellow cards.

Moment By Moment

18’ Danni Konig heads home the cross from Tyler Polak from the left. After moving the ball down the left Jimmy Mclaughlin passed back to an open Polak who fired a cross behind the defense where Konig headed it home. Konig scored less than a minute after having to come off the field due to a head to head collision with a Toronto defender around midfield.

28’ Harrison Delbridge picked up the first yellow of the match on an offensive corner where he ran though a Toronto defender.

36’ Aodhan Quinn picked up a yellow for kicking the ball away after he committed a foul in the midfield.

39’ Konig almost got his second off a corner when the ball in just got over the keeper but he touch put it up over the bar. Looked like he didn’t expect the ball to fall to him and a late reaction to put it over.

49’ Delbridge puts a header over the bar from inside the box, it was a good cross from Corben Bone shortly after a corner.

52’ Ball cleared off the line by Cincinnati’s Polak after a corner. The initial corner was too long but got out to an unmarked Luis Pereira at the top of the box whose shot was just past keeper Mitch Hildebrandt but Polak was well positioned to kick the ball away.

64’ A shot from Toronto’s Shaan Hundal hits the post. Hildebrandt came all the way outside the box but was able to cut the angle down enough. Shortly after Matt Bahner stopped a shot from inside the box in a dangerous situation. This ended a great run of possession and play for Toronto.

67’ Cincinnati defender Austin Berry picked the ball up in the midfield dribbled past two defenders getting into a one on one situation in the box, but the shot was right at the charging keeper.

84’ Toronto’s Oyvind Alseth picked up the first yellow card for his team of the day after a challenge on Marco Dominguez who was down for a little while holding his ankle.

90+3’ Toronto’s Asleth earned a free kick in a dangerous position just right of the box after a foul by McLaughlin.

Up Next

This Wednesday May 31 Cincinnati hosts rival Louisville City FC in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Third Round at 7:00 p.m. Cincinnati reached this round due to their extra time win against AFC Cleveland on May 17. Louisville reached the third round the same night after a 9-0 thumping of Tartan Devils FC.

Djiby Fall is eligible to play against Louisville and it will be his and Cincinnati’s first match since the biting incident. Coach Koch said that Justin Hoyte could be available again after injuring his hamstring.

Both Danni Konig and Tyler Polak said the game feels like a rivalry and that it is a big deal for the players to win.

Next Saturday June 3 Cincinnati travels to New York to play the Rochester Rhinos at 7:00 pm. Rochester currently sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Final Thoughts

Cincinnati did what they needed to do against a Toronto team that is in last place in the Eastern Conference. But, the defense looked worrying at times and there was a feeling that like last year a goal would be given up late due to a defensive lapse. Cincinnati dropped over 10 points in the final 10 minutes last season.

Louisville will be a huge match for both sides with their Head Coach James O’Connor never having anything nice to say about Cincinnati after Aodhan Quinn and Kadeem Dacres both left Louisville for the short trip up North to Cincinnati. The biting incident with Djiby Fall on April 22 just more fuel on the fire. It will be a hotly contested match this Wednesday and expect both teams to field close to full strength teams.

Konig Leads Cincinnati In Lightening Shortened Win

FC Cincinnati won a lightening shortened match against the Bethlehem Steel 2-1 at Nippert Stadium in front of 18,441. Danni Konig scored both goals for Cincinnati. Bethlehem’s Seku Conneh converted a penalty for their lone goal.

A good match for the front three of Konig, Jimmy McLaughlin, and Kadeem Dacres led Cincinnati to the victory. McLaughlin assisted the first goal with a beautiful cross and Dacres played the final pass to Konig before he scored his second.

“3 points,” Is how Coach Alan Koch started his press conference. He continued, “Finally our players are rewarded for all the hard work they put in”. When asked how he handled the break he commented, “Walked around a lot, sat down had chats with the guys. Made sure they were nice and relaxed, which they were.” Later he commented on the length of the break, “Kind of ridiculous we had to wait that long and obviously it is still lightening outside, I just saw lightening again. But if that’s what we have to do to finish up the job we’ll wait that long.”

The first half was very back and forth in the beginning before Cincinnati gained the upper hand and had five minute stretch with several shots and culminating in Konig’s first goal for Cincinnati. Bethlehem’s first attack off the kickoff led to two back-to-back chances with Mitch Hildebrandt saving the first shot and Harrison Delbridge clearing the second off the line to preserve the lead.

Bethlehem tied it up after Conneh drew and converted a penalty, chipping it the opposite way of Hildebrandt. Conneh looked to be pulled down from the referee’s point of view by Aodhan Quinn just inside the box.

Right before the half Bethlehem’s Chris Nanco gathered a through ball from the midfield and split the defense giving him a one on one with the keeper. But, one errant touch sending the ball too far away allowed Hildebrandt to easily corral the ball.

Konig supplied his second of the night after a great Quinn long pass from his side of the field up to Dacres who slid the ball over to Konig making a run down the center before putting past the keeper on his near post.

As Bethlehem was pressuring late a lightening delay was called for almost two hours before the decision to call off the final four minutes of stoppage time.

News and Notes

Konig commented on his goals saying, “Every goal is amazing. I live on scoring goals and everyone is amazing.” On his goal that was waved off he said, “I was frustrated, I didn’t think I did anything wrong. I jumped higher than the keeper and I scored a good goal.”

Konig became the second Cincinnati player to score more than one goal tonight. Djiby Fall currently leads Cincinnati with six while three others have one.

Mitch Hildebrandt made five saves tonight and punched away a handful of crosses in a superb performance to get the win.

Romario Williams of the Charleston Battery, who scored his seventh goal, eclipsed Djiby Fall as the USL goal leader tonight. It has been four weeks since Djiby has last played due to suspension.

Moment By Moment

14’ Danny Konig heads a ball into the net but is called for a foul negating the goal. Corben Bone’s cross from the endline was deflected into the air where Konig and the Bethlehem keeper Jake Mcguire

18’ Danny Konig scores the first goal for FC Cincinnati. A beautiful header off a cross from Jimmy McLaughlin to give Cincinnati the lead.

19’ Mitch Hildebrandt makes an initial save but the rebound falls to a Bethlehem striker whose shot if cleared off the line by Harrison Delbridge to stifle the attack directly after the goal. Hildebrandt got a piece of the ball on the second shot deflecting it right to Delbridge.

33’ Seku Conneh converts a penalty to bring the match level. Aodhan Quinn clumsily pulled down Conneh on the edge of the box.

43’ Daryl Fordyce of Cincinnati is given a yellow card for running into James Chambers after he kicked the ball away.

45+1’ Cincinnati keeper Mitch Hildebrandt stops a one on one breakaway from Chris Nanco. After a through pass splitting the Cincinnati center defenders he made let the final touch get too far away from him allowing Hildebrandt to corral the ball right before halftime.

47’ Seku Conneh earns a yellow card for pushing Delbridge in the back off a Bethlehem goal kick.

53’ Quinn put a long ball up to Kadeem Dacres who coolly collected the ball and passed to a streaking Konig who slid it past the keeper to regain the lead.

64’ Ken Tribbet picks up a yellow for bringing down Dacres on the counter.

67’ Counter attack for Cincinnati is stopped by a great save from Bethlehem keeper McGuire. A long ball from the midfield up to Konig who collected and passed to a streaking McLaughlin whose shot was blocked by a diving McGuire.

86’ Quinn earned a yellow card after a hard challenge in the midfield.

90’ Andy Brown was given a yellow after stepping on the back Konig’s leg after he won the ball and was going to attempt to run into open space to wind down the clock. As Konig was down receiving treatment the match was stopped for an hour and 50 minutes due to lightening in the area until it was finally called. Four minutes of stoppage time was canceled.

Up Next

Cincinnati hosts Toronto FC II next Saturday May 27 at 5:00p.m. Toronto is currently in last place in the Eastern Conference. This will be the first meeting of the season between these teams. Last season Cincinnati won both matches 2-1.

The week after Cincinnati travels to play the Rochester Rhinos on June 3 at 6:05p.m. Rochester currently sits in 11 place in the East.

Final Thoughts

Cincinnati looked very good tonight in attack with the top three of Konig, McLaughlin, and Dacres. It will be a tough decision on who to drop when Djiby comes back from his suspension. All four look like possible starters.

Aodhan Quinn gave up the penalty tonight but also played the ball that resulted in the second goal. This is the second time he has had a bad defensive play and then followed up with a great offensive play. The first being against Louisville City when was beaten by Brian Ownby for a goal only to later score the equalizer late.

The rain and thunder was apparent tonight. We waited until 10:45 to decide to call off the final four minutes of stoppage time. Below is a picture of the rain from the press box during the hardest of the rain.

Rain during the delay of the match tonight.

Djiby Saves FC Cincinnati Late

FC Cincinnati beat AFC Cleveland 1-0 in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Djiby Fall scored the long goal in the 116 minute of extra time in front of 12,790 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati.

In a game heavily dominated by Cincinnati where they fired an incredible 44 shots putting 16 on target forcing the Cleveland keeper Alex Ivanov to make 15 saves in an outstanding performance. 16 of those shots were taken by Djiby, who put nine on target.

Cincinnati dominated the early part of the first half getting shots off and pressuring Cleveland. The Cleveland defense blocked a handful of shots early and won the headers in the box. But the longer the half went on the more comfortable Cleveland became creating a few chances but nothing to get a lead.

Early in the second half Cleveland created an early chance putting a shot off the crossbar and then minutes later a header off the corner had to be cleared off the line by keeper Dallas Jaye. Cincinnati regained control around the 70 minute barely letting the ball come back into their half of the field for the remainder of the 90 minutes. A few free kicks outside the box in dangerous positions all went harmlessly wide. Also a few shots late all went way wide from Corben Bone and Jimmy McLaughlin.

In extra time Cincinnati continued where they left off by possessing the ball and keeping in their attacking end. Djiby went down in the box but all appeals for a penalty were waved off by the referee much to the fans displeasure. Djiby was able to finally break the deadlock with a header in the 116 minute to send Cincinnati into the next round.

Head Coach Alan Koch commented on the game. “For 120 minutes we really took it to them. We should have finished the game earlier than we did. I’m going to give our players a lot of credit tonight. Other teams may go thought games like that and not win it.”

The win tonight moves Cincinnati into the third round of the U.S. Open Cup and will play Louisville City FC on May 31 home at Nippert. Louisville and Cincinnati last played on April 22 in feisty 1-1 draw. Djiby was given a red card that match for a flying challenge that took out a Louisville player and in a scuffle after receiving his red he bit one of the Louisville players in the face prompting a six game suspension (one for the red card and five for biting).

Djiby was allowed to play tonight, missing the last three, due to the suspension only being in USL matches. He will be eligible for the third round game but is still be out for the next three USL matches and will be eligible to return on June 10 against the Charlotte Independence.

Tonight Jaye, Derek Luke, Marco Dominguez, and Garrett Halfhill all made their first appearances of the season. Halfhill also made his team debut after being officially signed earlier in the day. Commenting on his performance coach Koch said, “That was brilliant, kid that played at Xavier, came in his first game and played like that.” His defensive partner Harrison Delbridge added, “Garrett played out of his skin.”

Playing 120 minutes was the last thing Cincinnati needed due to being on a short week playing the Bethlehem Steel this Saturday in what is as close to a must win game for Cincinnati due to being in 9 place today, one out of the playoffs, and having the expectations of being in the top four and getting a home playoff game coming into the season. The only starter to go the full 120 was Delbridge but other players who will most likely start Saturday are Kadeem Dacres, Bone, and Jimmy McLaughlin who all played over 50 minutes. Coach Koch joked, “For the guys who played a lot we are going to be working to develop the next Michael Phelps,” in response to how training will be for the next two days.

Moment by Moment

Cincinnati had a goal disallowed due to a foul on Victor Mansaray. The cross from Andrew Wiedeman was too close to the keeper who was able to get his hands on it and Mansaray collided with the keeper for a foul in the seventh minute.

Cleveland’s Ryan Ware gets a pass off a quick free kick and runs down the left side of the field getting into the six-yard box and puts the shot into the side netting for a goal kick in the 24 minute.

Harrison Delbridge chased down a Cleveland attacker and puts in a last second challenge at the top of the box to stop any chance of a shot in the 32 minute. A good play by Delbridge that would have resulted in a chance.

Eric Stevenson shot just wide from the top of the box after a great back pass from Fall in the 35 minute. One of the few shots that was not blocked.

A shot from Derek Luke is tipped by the keeper into the path of Fall who has his shot blocked by a desperate sliding challenge from a Cleveland defender. Fall was called for a foul due to kicking the Cleveland defender in the 37 minute. Fall was given a yellow card either for dissent or for the foul.

Cincinnati drew a foul about 23 yards out dead center from the goal. The shot from Wiedeman curled just wide in the 52 minute.

Dallas Jaye came up big in the 59 minute after a corner for Cleveland was headed on target and saved off the line. The ball was luckily cleared by Cincinnati to keep the game scoreless.

Delbridge made a fantastic run into the midfield splitting two Cleveland defenders and drawing a foul from a third defender after a hard collision about 20 yards out and left of goal in the 72 minute. The free kick from Wiedeman went harmlessly wide of goal.

Kadeem Dacres picked up a yellow card in the 90 minute after pulling back a Cleveland player on a counter.

In the four minutes of first half stoppage time Cincinnati kept up the pressure but a poor corner which failed to beat the first man and shots from Bone and McLaughlin go way wide.

Dacres has the first real chance of extra time for Cincinnati after cutting in from the right and unleashing a low shot that is just tipped wide by the keeper in the 95 minute.

Djiby Fall goes down in the box and the referee waves off penalty appeals in the 97 minute. He looked to be fouled and the crowd voiced their displeasure.

Djiby heads one home to break the stalemate in the 116 minute to give Cincinnati the lead. Assisted by Wiedeman who crossed in a perfect ball from the left as Djiby nods the ball into the lower corner.

After the goal Djiby had a pair of chances to double the lead, first he put a shot inside the six-yard box directly at the keeper and a few minutes later he fired a shot off the bottom of the crossbar.

Up Next

This Saturday May 20 Cincinnati hosts the Bethlehem Steel at 7:00 p.m. Their last match was a 1-0 defeat on a late goal off a corner in a match Cincinnati dominated but couldn’t get the goal after all of their chances. Bethlehem is currently in 8 in the Eastern Conference, one spot ahead of Cincinnati.

The following Saturday, May 27, Cincinnati hosts Toronto FC II at 5:00 p.m. and the following Wednesday, May 31, will be the Third round of the U.S. Open Cup against Louisville City FC at 7:00 p.m.

Final Thoughts

Even though tonight was a tough match you have to give credit to Cleveland for sitting back and not letting Cincinnati have anything easy. Ivanov played an incredible game with the saves becoming more acrobatic as the game went on. Fans will be concerned that it was a team from the fourth tier NPSL but Cleveland played extremely well and cut out chances and blocked shots all night. When the vast majority of shots are being taken outside the box with players closing the shooter down it will always be a tough night.

Louisville won 9-0 against their NPSL opponent but two USL teams and two NASL team lost tonight against NPSL opponents showing it is not easy to win a game you should win. Those teams are the Pittsburgh River hounds, Richmond Kickers, New York Cosmos, and Indy Eleven.

On a more humorous side note we found out tonight that the game clock at Nippert can’t go above 100 minutes.

Clock at Nippert in the 115 minute of extra time only showing 14:15

FC Cincinnati Loses Physical Match Amid Inconsistent Refereeing Decisions

FC Cincinnati lost 2-0 in an extremely physical match against Orlando City B. Orlando’s Pierre Da Silva converted a penalty he earned for the winning goal in the 75 minute. The attendance at Nippert Stadium was 19,310 on a warm evening in Cincinnati.

Kadeem Dacres conceded the penalty unfortunately due to him having a solid match on the right flank for Cincinnati. The second goal at the start of stoppage time from Richie Laryea sealed the three points for Orlando. He was able to cut down the right side of the field with the ball banking it off Mitch Hildebrandt’s inside post and in.

A very physical match that had nine bookings and 36 fouls meant the referee was a huge presence in match and the way it was played. Both benches were warned inside the first 30 minutes and from then on cards seemed to come flying with both teams trading fouls. When the referees left the field at the half and end of the game, it was to a chorus of boos from the home crowd.

Cincinnati’s Head Coach Alan Koch said after the match, “We have a group of players who are very frustrated with how the game went.” Then immediately talked about the referee saying, “I guess I’m not allowed to speak about the referee so I won’t speak about the ref.” But later elaborated when pressed, “Yellows that are handed out inconsistently… Sometimes it was a foul, sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes it was just play on.” Adding, “We preach to our players consistently to take care of the details, I as a coach has to take care of the details. I think we expect the same from officials.”

Cincinnati captain commented on the officiating, “Continuous disrespect to me as a captain, of not speaking to me and them yelling at my players before coming to me,” adding, “If you blow up on my player before talking to me that is kind of disrespectful.”

There were only 14 shots in the game from both teams with most of them being easy to handle for the respective keepers. Cincinnati’s best chances came from Aodhan Quinn whose shot just rolled wide of the post in the 57 minute and then forced a pretty acrobatic save late in stoppage time.

The unsung hero of today’s match for Cincinnati is Jimmy McLaughlin who was all over the field and was able to carry the ball into dangerous positions as well as getting back and defending. He had a chance to put Cincinnati up early in the match after he fired in a shot from the top of the box after a pass from Danni Konig.

Konig made his debut after being acquired on Thursday this week in a trade for Andy Craven from the OKC Energy. He is a forward very similar to suspended Djiby Fall who holds play up and can change a match in an instant. Look for him to be the starter until Djiby gets back in June. Coach Koch commented on his match today saying, “Training for two days and being asked to lead a line is very difficult. He is a quality player and a professional.”

Cincinnati dropped to eighth place in the Eastern Conference with the loss today getting nine points in nine matches. For comparison Cincinnati had nine points in five matches last year.

Harrison Delbridge commented on the recent results, “It’s time for this group to start getting results, we have to many good players not to be.” Cincinnati has not won since Fall’s four goal performance against St. Louis FC on April 15.

Moments of the Match

Jimmy McLaughlin puts a rifle in the top corner, but Danni Konig passed back to him from an offside position in the third minute. It was Konig’s second touch as a Cincinnati player.

Cincinnati’s Matt Bahner picked up the first yellow card of the match after pulling back Pierre Da Silva on a counter in the 15 minute. It was the end of a handful of fouls from Cincinnati, which is probably why the yellow was given.

Seb Hines had a very hard challenge on Kadeem Dacres in the center of the field. Play was allowed to go on and a ball was played to McLaughlin who couldn’t get on the end of it in the 33 minute. A yellow was given to Hines for the challenge.

Aodhan Quinn picked up a yellow for a hard foul in his defending third in the 35 minute.

Danni Konig picked up a yellow as well after mimicking the referee, or better known as talking back but a booking nonetheless in the 39 minute.

Quinn puts a shot just wide of the post after a good back header from Konig and a cross from Baher in the 58 minute. The first real chance on the first half.

McLaughlin got a questionable yellow what may have not been a foul in the middle of the field in the 59 minute.

Cincinnati’s Corben Bone received a yellow card for dissent after walking by the referee with his head in the 67 minute.

Pierre Da Silva was brought down on the in the box by Dacres for a penalty. Da Silva steps up and buries it from the spot to give Orlando the lead in the 75 minute.

Another yellow for Orlando’s Richie Laryea after a sliding challenge on Berry in the center of the field in the 80 minute.

Harrison Delbridge went in for a rough challenge on Laryea . Play was allowed to continue and a great double save from Mitch Hildebrandt kept Cincinnati from going down by two goals in the 85 minute.

Orlando’s lead was doubled after Laryea puts one off the near post at the start of stoppage time to ice the match.

Cincinnati tried to get a consolation goal late but two shots were blocked and a very good shot from Quinn was saved by the Orlando keeper.

Up Next

Cincinnati hosts AFC Cleveland this Wed May 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Lamar Hunt Open Cup at Nippert Stadium. Cleveland is in the National Premier Soccer League in the fourth tier. A win could see Cincinnati face off again with rivals Louisville City FC. This is a match that is not going to be televised or streamed so the only way to watch is in the stadium.

This Saturday May 20 at 7:00 p.m. Bethlehem Steel FC comes to town. Bethlehem beat Cincinnati on a late header the last time they met on April 29 in Bethlehem. Currently in ninth place Cincinnati needs a win to get back on track.

Final Thoughts

Cincinnati did not play very well tonight regardless of the refereeing. They did not deserve to win but should have had a draw. The need to get some results is key because five matches without a win is not a good look for a team that came into the season looking to hoist the USL Cup at the end of the year.

But today the refereeing was horrendous and some of the bookings were questionable. For Jimmy McLaughlin’s card for dissent, he only put his hands on his head walked past the official after a foul was called he didn’t agree with.

In the press conference after the game Coach Koch, Austin Berry and Harrison Delbridge all commented on how frustrated and disappointed they were after today’s match. Cincinnati needs to get back to scoring goals and winning. Look for some fire on Wednesday but, June 3 when Djiby Fall comes back cannot come soon enough.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

FC Cincinnati Battles Back To Secure A Point Against Louisville City FC

FC Cincinnati and Louisville City FC each earned a point after a 1-1 draw at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati in front of 20,437 fans.

Louisville’s Brian Ownby scored first with a laser from 20 yards out that banked off the post and in. Cincinnati was able to equalize with a goal from Aodhan Quinn. Cincinnati went a man down after star striker Djiby Fall went jumping in with his studs up to pick up a red in.

Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch said of the match, “Louisville was defiantly the better team in tonight’s game. But what I was impressed with was the character to come back.” He also applauded the fans saying, “I take my hat off to the fans, I think they were absolutely excellent. When we went down they picked it up. I think that is a big part of why we got something out of the game tonight.”

Cincinnati had a very frustrating first half starting off slow for the first five minutes. After getting a little control of the game they were able to put on pressure on. Louisville was able to grab the lead after a great play from Ownby to cut in from his left to beat Quinn and shoot from the middle of the field giving Mitch Hildebrandt. Louisville looked to go for a second and put Cincinnati under pressure for a long time. Matt Bahner had Cincinnati’s best chance in the half with a shot that was acrobatically tipped over the bar by the Louisville keeper late in the half.

In the second half Cincinnati made two subs to bring on two attacking players to attempt to even up the game. Right after the subs Cincinnati pilled on pressure but the strong Louisville back line shut down every attack. Kyle Smith and Tarek Morad both had incredible games for Louisville on the right side of the field. Cincinnati finally broke thorough after a cross from Andrew Wiedeman on the left was half cleared to Corben Bone who passed it to Quinn who evened up the game. Fall’s red card came shortly after and put Cincinnati in a tough position to finish the final few minutes of the match.

Tonight’s match rounds out a tough week for Cincinnati after played three of the toughest teams in the Eastern Conference. Cincinnati goes to (2-2-2) and gets five points out of nine on the week after a win and two draws. Cincinnati heads to fifth place in the East with eight points. When asked about the week Koch said, “Big picture I’m very happy with the results, if it was three games against teams from the bottom of our conference I wouldn’t feel that way. But to play three top teams and get 5 of 9 points.” He also said, “The performance tonight wasn’t going in the right direction but the character is.”

Fall’s red card was the third straight red for Cincinnati this season with the first two being Paul Nicholson and Kadeem Dacres. Fall’s red happened the latest all season after Nicholson’s was in the 26 minute and Dacres in the 72 minute. Fall will be out for the match against the Bethlehem Steel next Saturday the 29 of April.

Quinn scored his first goal for Cincinnati against his former team. He did not celebrate, a common thing to do against former employers “I knew if the opportunity came up I wouldn’t celebrate. I have a lot of respect for that club, the coaches, and the players. I still talk to a lot of them there was no chance I would celebrate.”

Notably absent tonight was Kadeem Dacres due to his red card against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday. He missed his chance to play his former team in Louisville where he played the last two seasons. Victor Mansaray started in his place and played well getting a few decent crosses but was unable to get one to find Fall.

Summary

Cincinnati had another slow start to the match letting Louisville dictate the first minutes of the match. Cincinnati was able to gain control, looking dangerous and piling on pressure but to no avail.

Louisville’s Brain Ownby cut to his left in from the right flank and buried a laser that careened off the post and in to take the lead in the 20 minute. Cincinnati keeper Mitch Hildebrandt had no chance at saving it.

Sean Totsch of Louisville picked up the first yellow card of the match in the attack after the goal taking down Harrison Delbridge just outside the box in the 21 minute. The resulting free kick ended up in the side netting for a goal kick.

Victor Mansaray picked up the first yellow for Cincinnati after a late challenge on George Davis IV in the 31 minute.

Mat Bahner had a great chance for Cincinnati with a shot from outside the box that demanded a good save from Louisville keeper Tim Dobrowolski who tipped it over the bar in the 40 minute.

Austin Berry picked up a yellow card for holding up a Louisville attacker stopping an attack in the 52 minute. Good foal because if he lets the attacker go it could have been a very good chance. Free kick goes wide resulting in a goal kick.

Luke Spencer almost doubled Louisville’s lead after a bad giveaway from Harrison Delbridge inside the six-yard box in the 64 minute. A very good save from Hildebrandt keeps the score where it is.

A header from Delbridge just misses wide off a free kick from Quinn in the 66 minute. It was also just out of reach for Matt Bahner who almost tapped it in.

Kenny Walker’s tackle from behind earned him a yellow in the 70 minute. It was a nice break for Louisville because Cincinnati was piling on the pressure looking to equalize.

Cincinnati equalized after a goal from Aodhan Quinn from inside the six-yard box in the 79 minute. A ball from Andrew Wiedeman from the left was half cleared to the top of the box and sent back in from Daryl Fordyce.

Djiby Fall was given a straight red after leaving his feet and showing his studs in a tackle trying to regain the ball in the midfield in the 85 minute.

Louisville put a ball into the box in the 88 minute that Hildebrandt was able to knock to himself. As he grabbed it a Louisville attacker swung his leg and almost caught Hildebrandt. A small exchanging of words ensued but no cards were given and plat continued.

Cincinnati had one chance just before fulltime after a dangerous cross into Andy Craven that was grabbed by the keeper.

Next Up

Cincinnati travels to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to take on the Bethlehem Steel next Saturday April, 29. Bethlehem currently sit in last place in the Eastern Conference with three points (1-2-0). Last year Cincinnati won both games against Bethlehem and will look to continue their unbeaten record.

They come back to Cincinnati Saturday May 13 to play Orlando City B at 7:00pm.

Final Thoughts

Cincinnati had a rough game tonight but it was a welcome sight to see them grab points late rather than last season where they were dropping points in the final 10 minutes.

Djiby Fall was given a very deserved red card and there is no chance of an appeal. The only question now is if a further suspension comes from the USL offices. I don’t see this happening but it is a possibility. Victor Mansaray or Andy Craven will fill in for Fall next weekend.

They need to get back on track against Bethlehem after two tough physical draws to probably the best two teams in the Eastern Conference. It was a good week but not great, they need to get back to great if they want a home first round playoff game.

Andy Craven was handing out donuts tonight to kids after the game. That is how you endear yourself to you fans.

Cincinnati and Tampa Bay Draw In Physical Affair

FC Cincinnati hosted the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a very physical 1-1 draw at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio in front of 15,227.

Darwin Jones of Tampa Bay scored in the seventh minute on a screamer from 30 yards out that hit the post and careened in. It will be a definite USL “Goal of the Week” candidate. Harrison Delbridge headed in a corner to equalize in the 36 minute. Cincinnati’s Kadeem Dacres was sent off on a straight red after a high-legged challenge on Jones hitting him in the stomach.

Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch on the result stated, “At the end of the night we will take 1 point, something to build on for Saturday.”

An extremely physical night where there were five yellow cards, a straight red, and 31 fouls between both teams. It started early with both teams picking up fouls early on and the first card coming inside the first 20 minutes. Tampa Bay led the way with 20 fouls. Both teams seemed to be up for the match. When asked whose style of play resulted in the physical nature of the match Koch said, “A little more of them…They tried to impose themselves from the start of the game…It probably was part of their gameplan.”

There were a couple scuffles, one inside the first 15 minutes, another that spilled into the Tampa Bay bench with Dacres and a defender. At the end of the match Joe Cole kicked Cincinnati’s Jimmy McLaughlin in the head inside his own box in the 85 minute with no call from the referee.

Cincinnati started the game slow and allowed Tampa Bay to control the opening few minutes. The Tampa Bay goal was a combination of a great strike and no one stepping up to close him down after a giveaway in the midfield. They finally were able to get their flow going around the 30 minute and getting a goal shortly after. Coach Koch said, “We weren’t very happy with how we started tonight.”

The second half both teams came out strong and both teams looked dangerous but couldn’t give their team a lead. Cincinnati started to take over the game around the 60 minute possessing a lot of the ball and looking extremely dangerous. All of that changed after the red card to Dacres. The final 15 Tampa Bay took over and was able to create plenty of chances but couldn’t break through.

This was the second straight red card for Cincinnati this season; Paul Nicholson against Bethlehem Steel had the first. In that match Cincinnati was down a man for 4 minutes. Koch remarked on that match giving them the resolve to close out this one. On potentially appealing the red he said, “We’ll probably have a discussion tonight as a club and see what the right way is to go about addressing that.”

McLaughlin and Dacres both covered a lot of ground on the wings for Cincinnati tonight. Both were able to make good plays on both sides of the ball. Dacres had a great tackle just outside the box on the wing to start a counter attack in the first half that led to a chance. Due to the red card Dacres will be out for the match this Saturday against Louisville City FC.

Djiby Fall was unable to continue his incredible goal scoring streak, with it almost impossible to repeat his four goal performance from last Saturday. Delbridge’s goal was the first one not scored by Fall this season.

Summary

Marcel Schafer hit a gorgeous shot from about 30 yards out to give Tampa Bay the lead in the 7’. The chance was created due to a bad giveaway from Cincinnati in the center of the park.

Tampa Bay was the better team though the first 15 minutes creating chances and winning the ball in the midfield.

Tampa Bay’s Luke Boden picked up the first yellow card of the night for a foul on Kadeem Dacres in the midfield in the 20 minute. It was coming for a little while due to the physical nature of the game to that point. Both sides had been called for a few fouls up to that point.

Cincinnati finally found their attacking legs creating chances and playing well defensively around the 30 minute mark.

Harrison Delbridge equalized off a corner from Kenny Walker into the six-yard box jumping over a Tampa Bay defender.

Jimmy McLaughlin put a shot just wide in the 44 minute. He was able to split two Tampa Bay defenders and just missed on the shot to put it wide. Would have been a great play if converted.

The start of the second half both teams looked dangerous held the ball well but no chances from either side.

Matt Bahner picked up Cincinnati’s first yellow card of the evening after a foul in the midfield attempting to break up a counter attack. Play went on after the foul and he made a block on a cross to slow down the attack.

Michael Nachoff picked up a yellow in the 64 minute for Tampa Bay after a late foul on Fordyce.

Daryl Fordyce had a great chance in the 65 minute after a brilliant bit of trickery from Bahner to set up the one on one chance. His one on one chance was saved after trying to slide it under the charging keeper.

Scuffle in the 68 minute after a coming together between Dacres and a Tampa Bay defender spilled into the Tampa Bay bench area.

Tampa Bay’s Damion Lowe picked up a yellow in the 70 minute after foul on Dacres to stop his great run. Free kick from Walker went just wide but should have been saved by the keeper.

Dacres was given a straight red card in the 78 minute after a hard foul on Jones. Dacres went in with a high straight leg into the midsection.

Jimmy McLaughlin went down in a heap in his own box after getting kicked in the head by Tampa Bay’s Joe Cole in the 85 minute. Play went on and Delbridge closed down where McLaughlin would have been, forcing a cross to go out for a goal kick. McLaughlin was given some medical aid and came back on as play resumed.

Fulltime came after five minutes of extra time where Cincinnati was able to close down the final few minutes only giving up one good chance in extra time that was headed over the bar for a goal kick.

Next Up

Louisville City FC comes to town in the River Cities Cup on Saturday April 22. Louisville is coming off a 2-1 home win against Tampa Bay to stay unbeaten. Currently in second place in the Eastern Conference with 10 points (3-0-1) tied with points with Tampa Bay and down on goal differential. Kickoff is slated for 7:00p.m. for what right now looks like it could be a cold wet one with a 100% chance of rain and high of 52 as of this writing. Check here for weather closer to the match.

Last season Cincinnati won the River Cities Cup on goal differential due to having a win, draw, and loss to Louisville. This will be their first match of the season.

Final Thoughts

Cincinnati had the chances to win tonight but one point against what very well could be the best team in the Eastern Conference after the poor start and red card. I think it was a harsh red card but the referee was forced to make a decision and it went against Cincinnati. Also when Jimmy McLaughlin was kicked in the head there should have been a card there as well, maybe not a red but at least a yellow. The five yellows could have been several more due to the amount of fouls from both teams.

Cincinnati should bounce back against a very tough Louisville City team who has former forward Luke Spencer leading their line.

FC Cincinnati Routs St. Louis FC In Home Opener

FC Cincinnati ran all over St. Louis FC to win 4-0 at Nippert Stadium. Djiby Fall scored all four in an incredible performance.

After a slow start the entire Cincinnati team put in a very good performance being able to shut down St. Louis despite not having the majority of possession. Matt Bahner and Corben Bone both had fantastic games putting passes in dangerous areas and both having assists. The back line was in the right place at the right time consistently stopping build up play or making a key tackle before passes could be put in dangerous positions. Cincinnati had 12 shots putting eight on target in a good performance.

Fall commented on his performance by saying, “I want to congrat my teammates without them I can’t score four goals.” He also added this was his first time scoring four goals.

Head Coach Alan Koch praised his team, “Congratulations to Djiby [Fall] for scoring the four goals and congratulations to the whole team. The service into him tonight was very good. I think we looked dangerous.” He also said, “The positive is on the flip side, we really put in a good performance out of possession. Our group was very sound defensively.”

Mitch Hildebrandt got his second clean sheet of the season. He had five last season, he is on his way to bettering that total.

Andy Craven made his FC Cincinnati debut tonight coming on in the 80’ for Fall. Victor Mansaray had his first start tonight and played 66 minutes before coming off with an injury. Corben Bone also had his first start of the season after coming on as a sub in two previous games.

Another USL attendance record was broken tonight after 23,144 fans showed up to provide a noisy atmosphere. Koch praised the crowd, “I have been in this game for a long time, that was a pretty special environment tonight. You could feel it, the players could feel it.” Fall gave a very nice complement after being asked about the crowd saying. “When I play a Europa League game in England when we played Fulham.”

Bahner, a Cincinnati native, talked about his homecoming, “I had a lot of friends, a lot of family. I’m thankful have them supporting me.” After throwing out the first pitch for the Cincinnati Reds on Friday and the good performance tonight he commented, “Maybe I should throw out the first pitch every Friday night.”
Summary

The first half started off slowly with a large amount of Cincinnati possession and many long balls forward where only one was able to produce a chance. Fall was fairly physical early on picking up a few fouls and being on the receiving end of a few. One foul causing an exchange of words when he pushed a St. Louis defender into the keeper who threw the ball out of bonds in frustration and so his defender could get some treatment.

Fall broke the deadlock in the 35’ with a header off a cross from Matt Bahner. Victor Mansaray picked up his yellow card in the 39’ on a straight-legged challenge on the touchline that brought a few words to be exchanged. Fall’s second goal came off a corner where the initial ball was headed up to Harrison Delbridge who headed it down to Fall’s feet who turned and slid it into the net before halftime.

The second half started off with a bang after an early goal from Fall to complete his hattrick. An easy tap in after a great passes from Kenny Walker and Corben Bone to set it up. A few minutes after the goal St. Louis coach Preki used all three subs trying to get any sort of offense. Fall’s fourth goal came off a header in the box off a good cross from Kenny Walker who had all day to cross the ball in.

St Louis’ Octavio Guzman picked up his team’s only yellow card after a hard foul on Kadeem Dacres in the 64’. Dacres was down for a few seconds but was able to get up and finish the match. Cincinnati never stopped looking for goal after their fourth but were notably cautious.

Next Up

Cincinnati hosts the Tampa Bay Rowdies and former Chelsea FC star Joe Cole on Wednesday night at 7:00 at Nippert Stadium. This is the first time the two teams will play each other due to Tampa Bay moving to the USL from the NASL.

Final Thoughts

After a rough start this win should get Cincinnati in the right mode to take on a very good Tampa Bay who are currently in second.

Djiby Fall is going to surpass the club record of 16 goals, set by Sean Okoli, this year barring any injures with 6 through his first four games. He is a substantial upgrade over Okoli and if the balls coming into him are consistent like they were tonight 25 goals does not seem out of reach.

Cincinnati needs to find goals from someone else at some point because teams are going to be keying in on Djiby in the future. Look for Mansaray and Kadeem Dacres to score a few in the coming weeks.

On a final note #WengerOut has made it to Cincinnati.

Charleston Battery down FC Cincinnati in Season Opener

FC Cincinnati lost their season opener to the Charleston Battery 2-1 in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston’s Justin Portillo scored the deciding goal and assisted on the other in a Man of the Match performance.

Djiby Fall scored the lone Cincinnati goal in the 58’, heading in a corner from Andrew Wiedeman. Charleston’s Forest Lasso scored the first goal and picked up the only booking of the match for a foul on Wiedeman.

On a night where they dominated possession, poor finishing doomed Cincinnati. FCC hit 14 shots, but only got five on target. Only two were put on target in the second half, including the goal. Many seemed to be off target the moment they were hit and didn’t trouble the Charleston keeper. If this issue is corrected Cincinnati will be a dangerous team to watch and should be able to score quite a few goals.

The defense was shaky for parts of the game. Charleston was able to exploit the flanks and make runs into the box and create chances. The big moment coming when Austin Berry made an ill advised sliding challenge from behind in the box giving up a penalty. Harrison Delbridge, on the bright side, was able to make a great sliding challenge to stop a one-on-one chance with the keeper in the first half. It looked a lot like some of the tackles he made last year to stop one-on-ones.

Five new faces made their debuts tonight: Matt Bahner, Kadeem Dacres, Fall, Daryl Fordyce and Adohan Quinn. Fordyce and Quinn were able to make impacts most of the game. Fordyce had a few chances and good passes, but wasn’t able to get his best chance on target, a diving header after a misplayed free kick. Quinn has made himself the main free kick taker, putting one on target from 20 yards out.

Summary

Cincinnati came out of the gate controlling the vast majority of possession during the first 15’. Fall took the first shot of the year with a volley that was way over. A yellow card came in the 8’ to Charleston’s Forest Lasso who fouled Wiedeman 20 yards out. The following free kick was put on frame from Quinn but saved comfortably by Tambakis.

Charleston was able to create few good chances, but they ultimately came to nothing. Cincinnati was still in control creating a few good chances. Their best being a header by Fordyce that came off a poorly handled free kick by the Charleston defense.

Charleston broke the deadlock off a Lasso header from the corner. Justin Portillo put in a great ball to the six-yard box that Lasso headed in. The following few minutes saw Charleston create a handful of chances including a dangerous free kick that was caught by Hildebrandt.

To start the second half Cincinnati was able to get a really good chance off a corner where Harrison Delbridge was able to put a header on target, but was cleared by a defender. Fall equalized for Cincinnati in the 58’ with a header off a corner from Wiedeman. In the resulting minutes Cincinnati took control of the game.

In the 68’ Austin Berry conceded a penalty, fouling Neveal Hackshaw in the box from behind. Hildebrandt saved the penalty, but was unable to stop the rebound that Portillo put in to give Charleston the lead once again. Again after the goal Charleston was able to keep pressure on Cincinnati, not letting them try to get a goal.

Cincinnati brought on attackers Dacres and Omar Cummings to try to get a goal in the 80’. Two long shots and an off balance volley were all that could be mustered. There was a small sliver of hope with a penalty shout late when the ball bounced up to hit a Charleston defender’s arm, but waved off by the referee.

Next Up

Cincinnati’s next match is away at 7p.m. on April 1 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium along the Ohio River. Cincinnati had two wins and a draw last year against Pittsburgh including a win and draw in Pittsburgh.

Final Thoughts

This team is far from where they will be at the end of the season. Dominating possession and getting the ball in dangerous positions is good but, the finishing needs work. Don’t be upset at one loss from a playoff team last year even though it would have been nice to get revenge for knocking Cincinnati out.

I’m very excited about the addition of Djiby Fall and his ability to hold up the ball and get his head on it in the box. Also the more I see of Harrison Delbridge the more I like him. He is good on the ball and comes up big stopping one-on-one situations. My player of the year for last season looks to be in for another year.

The fan support for what is essentially a minor league team still amazes me. In every stadium Cincinnati plays there always seems to be at least a handful of fans wearing orange and blue.

FC Cincinnati Officially Running For MLS Expansion

FC Cincinnati owner and CEO, Carl Linder III, delivered Cincinnati’s proposal to MLS headquarters Tuesday. Joining 11 other cities in announcing their intention for one of the four expansion slots. This was a widely expected move for FC Cincinnati and many of the other cities.

One of the two big surprises were Phoenix, who currently have the newly re-branded Phoenix Rising FC in the USL. The other was Indianapolis, Indiana who is currently the home of the Indy Eleven in the NASL and also the Indy Eleven II in the NPSL. Phoenix was added to the running last week and Indianapolis was a shock addition on Monday night Jan. 30 (one day before the deadline).

A new soccer-specific stadium is most likely what will hinge on Cincinnati being awarded a MLS team. The biggest way to get a stadium passed would be to have it all privately funded due to the taxpayers already paying off stadiums for the Bengals and Reds. Also a list of potential sites was supposed to be provided to the Cincinnati City Council before the end of January, but most likely won’t be released to the public.

Even though Nippert Stadium has a large capacity and FC Cincinnati has spent $2 million to widen the playing surface to the FIFA regulations, it is still controlled by its main tenants the University of Cincinnati Football team.

Coming off a fantastic season on and off the field FC Cincinnati is considered to be a front-runner for a call up to the MLS. On the field, it ended prematurely in the first round of the playoffs, after a third place finish in the Eastern Conference, in front of USL playoff record 30,187.

In the stands it was an incredible season with a total attendance of 259,457, 17.3% of the league total. They averaged 17,296 in league games and setting a league attendance record in their second home game with 20,497 and breaking that mark two more times later in the year, capping the record at 24,376.

The crown jewel of the season was the friendly match against English Premier League club Crystal Palace where a sold out 35,061 crowd witnessed a Palace 2-0 win.

Image courtesy of Tana Weingartner of WVXU

The blueprint that FC Cincinnati seems to be following is that of Orlando City SC who played in the USL from 2010-2014 and set attendance records along with solid average attendances over their four years in the league before moving to MLS in 2015. Solid ownership and a plan for a stadium in a soccer crazy environment was able to get a team to the MLS, Cincinnati can repeat this process.

Assuming FC Cincinnati gets a stadium, there is a decent shot that the MLS could come to Cincinnati but it will be very tough. St. Louis and San Diego both had their NFL franchises leave and have a large hole in their market of the professional sports world.

Also, the close proximity to the Columbus Crew won’t help.

Due to the outstanding ownership group and rabid fan support last year, with having already sold 9,000 season tickets for the season, it doesn’t look like FC Cincinnati going anywhere soon. But like most things in US professional sports, things will be decided behind the scenes instead of on the field.

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Changing U.S. Soccer Landscape

 

The U.S. soccer landscape is changing on an eventful day. First, the MLS commissioner, Don Garber, arrived in Cincinnati to view the FC Cincinnati soccer facilities, a USL franchise, potentially for future inclusion in the U.S top tier. Second, the New York Cosmos, a second tier NASL franchise, are reportedly on their last leg and in serious danger of folding operations. Third, rumors are the NASL could fold entirely and their remaining teams may join the USL.

With Garber in Cincinnati many have put FC Cincinnati in the running to receive a MLS franchise. The second round of additions are scheduled after 2018, possibly 2020, when the league will expand to 23 teams, or maybe 24 if the Miami affiliate headed by David Beckham pull the proper resources together. If measures fall through in Miami, Cincinnati could be the next team included due to their excellent attendance and terrific fan support. It’s only necessary to see how many people showed up for Garber’s arrival at a local airfield to understand the support in Cincinnati.



The New York Cosmos had been rumored to be in trouble for a while. Reports coming out today have verified those rumors. Once the flagship franchise of the original NASL, which folded in 1984 returned under the same name in 2010, taking the field in 2013. They were successful on the field with three NASL Championship trophies, but a different story off the field with lagging attendance and no progress securing their own stadium.

Sad news surrounding the Cosmos was met with more bad news from the league. Reports from the league meetings suggest a possible NASL and USL merger. This is good for a league currently with ten teams scheduled to play next season, but bad for two of those teams in financial trouble, which could leave the league with eight.

If the merger goes through with all of the teams remaining there will be 39 teams in the new league. This is too many teams for one tier, but it can work in the short term. Long term, splitting into two tiers will be huge for the promotion relegation fight in the U.S. This long-term model would not be sustainable without the support of a television contract and the leadership of U.S. Soccer, including President Sunil Gulati.

A television contract will be the most important asset owned by MLS. This will be the surest way to expand the sport in the U.S. and pay the designated player salaries that drive attendance. For any USL/NASL potential merger to succeed there has to be either a partnership with the MLS or their own television contract to survive.

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