Cincinnati Handled By Tampa Bay To End Season

FC Cincinnati bowed out of the USL Playoffs in the first round for a second straight year. This time courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rowdies after being manhandled in a 3-0 defeat. Marcel Schafer scored two goals in the first half and Georgi Hristov added one in the second to continue the rout of Cincinnati.

It was a first half to forget for Cincinnati in another win or go home match in the 2017 season. Two goals from Marcel Schafer in the eighth and 25’ minutes gave Tampa Bay the lead. His first off a weak shot right at Mitch Hildebrandt but somehow got through him. The second was from 25 yards out with a good strike but a late reaction from Hildebrandt again made any save difficult.

A lot of passes from the midfield of Cincinnati didn’t hit their desired target. Cincinnati had 4 shots and all of them off target. Their best chance was a good run from Jimmy McLaughlin on the left side of the box. He chose to pass it off to Djiby instead of taking a shot where the keeper was shielded. Not a sure goal but definitely the best chance.

The second half didn’t go much better. The passing wasn’t crisp and Tampa Bay seemed to outrun Cincinnati all half. A wonder goal from Georgi Hristov in the 67’ that hit the bottom of the crossbar and into the net was the dagger for Cincinnati. After the goal Cincinnati had pressure and a few crosses but only one was dangerous with a header from Kadeem Dacres that was incredibly saved by the Tampa Bay keeper.

Disappointing end to what was a fun year to be a soccer fan in Cincinnati. A great run in the US Open Cup beating USL rival Louisville City, local MLS rival Columbus Crew, beating the Chicago Fire on penalties on ESPN, and leading the New York Red Bulls 2-0 going into the 75’ minute before eventually losing in extra time 3-2. Also the US Women’s National Team played at Nippert due to the excitement generated in Cincinnati.

On the league side of things it was more of a season to forget. Finishing in 6th place in the Eastern Conference was below the expectation of 4th and hosting a playoff match. A very poor road record of (4-8-4) with 16 points didn’t help things. Not exactly what Head Coach Alan Koch would have had in mind when he took over.

Moment By Moment

8’ Marcel Schafer scores to put Tampa Bay up early. Schafer got behind the defense and beat the keeper Mitch Hildebrandt. It was bad from Cincinnati all around, Harrison Delbridge was beat by Georgi Hristov who passed to a cutting Schafer with a weak shot that was able to find its way past Hildebrandt for the goal.

11’ Jimmy McLaughlin got behind the defense and put a shot past the far post, unable to equalize.

25’ Schafer doubles the lead with a shot from 25 yards out. He was unmarked 25 yards out and Austin Berry was too slow to close down and the reaction from Hildebrandt was very slow.

34’ Jimmy McLaughlin had a very good look coming down the left and drove into the box before trying to pass to Djiby, but the pass was intercepted. McLaughlin probably should have shot the ball instead of passing off.

52’ McLaughlin booked for a late challenge on Joe Cole.

54’ Austin Berry gave the ball away to Cole of Tampa Bay and made a very good tackle to stop the shot and make up for his mistake.

63′ Kenny Walker booked for dissent.

67’ Hristov with a shot from 30 yards out hit the bottom of the crossbar and dropped into the bottom of the net.

79′ Kadeem Dacres with a header that was just tipped away by the Tampa Bay keeper Matt Pickens. Was a sure goal off the corner and Pickens comes from far away to tip it over the bar.

84′ Joe Cole booked for time wasting after kicking the ball away after the whistle.

Final Thoughts

Tough loss for Cincinnati tonight even though they were expected to lose due to their seeding and poor road record. It was a good start for the first few minutes, looking like Cincinnati was going to set the tone for the game. Then a horrible defensive breakdown let the ball go over the top and Hildebrandt somehow let the ball through his legs. The second goal Hildebrandt could have been shielded but it looked like a bad reaction. I have just come to expect more from Hildebrandt and both of those I think he wishes he could have back. It was a bad night all around with bad passing and the defense getting beat a few times.

It will be an interesting offseason for Cincinnati with some players who started tonight who will not be back next season. But those moves will happen in the coming weeks and everything will fall into place for season.

Cincinnati Handles New York In Home Finale

FC Cincinnati beat the New York Red Bulls II 4-2 tonight in front of a new USL record 30,417 in their regular season finale.

Goals from Austin Berry, Corben Bone, Harrison Delbridge, and Kenny Walker secured an important three points in their regular season home finale. Florian Valot had two goals for New York and a good performance for his team.

Cincinnati started off fast with a fifth minute goal from Berry off a corner. New York equalized in the 18’ off a corner with a goal from Valot. Bone scored in the 32’ with a pretty shot from outside the box.

The match was very wide open and closely contested until a five-minute stretch in the middle of the second half with Delbridge hitting the top corner in the 67’ and Walker converting a free kick in the 72’ to blow the match wide open. New York grabbed a goal in the 80’ with Valot’s second but it was too little to late.

Walker takes home the player of the match with two assists, on Berry and Delbridge’s goals, and a goal. He was instrumental in moving the ball and starting counters that led to chances for Cincinnati.

Six yellow cards were handed out to Cincinnati tonight by the referee. Including four in the first 26 minutes on five fouls at the time. Djiby was given a yellow card after accumulating two fouls, neither of which were worthy of a yellow.

Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch commented after the match, “Important, very meaningful three points tonight for our organization, for our team. We have nothing but respect for the Red Bulls organization. We have had some great battles with them this year, and last year.” He continued, “We scored some fantastic goals, fed off the energy of our fans.”

Tonight was the first win against New York in Cincinnati’s history. The very bad week when Cincinnati lost in extra time to MLS New York Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup and four days later lost 4-0 to the USL New York Red Bulls II team. Last year Cincinnati lost both matches with New York.

Koch praised Bone and Walker after the match saying, “They are both fantastic players and people too. I have nothing but respect for them as players and people too. It was nice to see both of them get rewarded with goals tonight.” He continued later saying, “You almost appreciate them more when they are not playing. Because sometimes you don’t see a lot of the dirty work they’re doing.”

Corben Bone talked about what this week has meant to him after having his first child born this week and a birthday, “It’s been crazy. It’s been really emotional. Credit to my family and Annie [his wife], and these guys in this locker room, this team. Everyone has picked me up, it has been so amazing to be apart of this thing. For me to end this kind of week on this high, I’m speechless to be honest.”

Tonight was not a must win for Cincinnati, but it felt like it with their recent away form. With their next four matches on the road the win tonight was instrumental in their chances to make the playoffs. In their last five away matches Cincinnati has four points (1-1-3) and they are (2-7-3) all season with 9 points. Compared to a (7-2-6) home record and now sitting in sixth place. Being four of points out of ninth place should guarantee a place in the playoffs.

Three of their next four matches are against teams that are outside of playoff position. Two of those three have chances to make the playoffs with St. Louis FC and Ottawa Fury FC being in 11 and 12 in the Eastern Conference. Toronto FC II is in last in the conference with no chance to make the playoffs. Their other opponent the Charlotte Independence is currently in second place and is three points off Louisville City FC in first.


Cincinnati broke two of their own USL attendance records tonight. The regular season attendance record of 25,308 set against Orlando City B on August 5 earlier this year. Also the single game attendance record set in last year’s playoff loss to the Charlotte Independence of 30,187.


Berry opened the scoring off a corner in the 5’, assisted by Kenny Walker. Ball was put near post and he arced it over the keeper and into the far side of the net.

Minutes later Bone puts a shot just over the crossbar off a counter, a very quick start for Cincinnati.

Berry and Djiby both received early yellow cards. Berry’s in the ninth minute for bringing down a New York attacker and the referee saw it as a counter but a very iffy card at that stage in the match. Djiby received his in the 14’ for accumulation of fouls after he had a few early. Could have been a final talking to from the referee but he opted for the booking.

New York equalized in the 18’ after a well-worked corner. Valot ran from the far post found open space around the penalty spot firing a volley, missing the three charging Cincinnati players. Hildebrandt didn’t see the ball until it was a few feet from him and couldn’t react in time. The corner came after a great diving save

The cards kept coming for Cincinnati after Andrew Wiedeman cleated a New York player shooting a volley in the 23’. In his defense he got the ball but the follow through clipped the charging New Yorker. Matt Bahner also picked one in the 26’ after arriving just late on a challenge.

Cincinnati regained the lead in the 32’ after a rifled shot from Bone into the top of the net from 23 yards out. A free kick was headed out right to Bone who chested the ball down and fired off the shot.

New York came close to scoring off a set piece from 33 yards out in the 51’. Valot found his way behind the Cincinnati defense unmarked but put the header just over. The match should have been tied, very lucky form Cincinnati.

A scary moment for Cincinnati in the 58’ when Paul Nicholson gave the ball away and a New York attacker was able to get a shot off in a one on one situation with Hildebrandt, a good save kept the lead intact.

Delbridge doubles the lead with a rocket into the top corner from just outside the box in the 67’. Delbridge collected a pass from Walker and beat the defender in front of him before burying the shot.

Five minutes later Walker stepped up for a free kick from 20 yards out and placed it perfectly over the wall and past the keeper to bring the lead to three. Delbridge drew the foul leading to the free kick.

New York pulled a goal back in the 80’ with a Valot shot going through the legs of Delbridge and past a diving Hildebrandt.

Final Thoughts

This season can be considered a resounding success for Cincinnati as long as they qualify for the playoffs, which is pretty close to happening. With the incredible Open Cup run and averaging over 20,000 loud and boisterous fans for home matches the MLS has to take notice of what is going on here in Cincinnati. Getting to the MLS is the reason this club was founded and remains the most important thing.

Tonight was a total team effort, highlighted by the performances from Kenny Walker and Corben Bone.Walker showed why Cincinnati had so much trouble early in the season when he was out injured and Bone had to play the defensive midfielder role and wasn’t allowed to come forward like he was tonight.

On a concerning note Austin Berry coming off at halftime is a bad sign if he is out for any of the remaining matches due to his incredible performances. Early in the second half some of the chances New York had I feel he would have stopped including the one on one situation with the keeper.

Cincinnati Back On Track With Win Over Ottawa

FC Cincinnati gets back on track with a hard fought 3-1 win over Ottawa Fury FC. Cincinnati was able to get two first half goals from Danni Konig and Jimmy McLaughlin with Sem de Wit adding one early in the second half. Ottawa got one back shortly after de Wit’s but the defense held to close out the victory.

De Wit’s goal was also his first professional goal of his four-year career. Konig got his ninth of the season and McLaughlin scored his fourth this year.

Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch commented on the match saying, “No league game is more important than any other game. Every game we play is worth three points. But, what we have gone through, as human beings, and players, coaches, a staff was very challenging for all of us. We’ve used the word embarrassed, and we’re embarrassed. But nothing short of proud of every player tonight.”

The match started off pretty even with Cincinnati getting most of the early chances but only one blocked shot.

Ottawa had a goal ruled offside in the 15’. They created the chance with very good buildup play and a few good passes in a tight space but Sito Seoane just strayed past the last man back. Justin Hoyte did very well to stop the first shot and another pass but the rebound ended up falling to Ottawa.

Harrison Delbridge hit the crossbar on a shot from 30 yards out in the 28’. After the ball hit the crossbar it careened about 30 yards away due to the power of the shot.

Konig scored on a cross from Tyler Polak to give Cincinnati the lead in the 34’. A great pass from McLaughlin put Polak into space before he hit a first touch cross to Konig who put it in. Konig also fought off a defender who was pulling him down and was just able to get an outstretched foot on the ball in a spectacular effort.

Ottawa came close to scoring in the 40’. Mitch Hildebrandt punched a corner out that landed at the feet of an Ottawa midfielder whose shot Hildebrandt tipped into the air and Harrison Delbridge did a bicycle kick clear the ball off the line.

McLaughlin doubled Cincinnati’s lead with a 40-yard breakaway before sliding the ball into the corner in the 42’. Sem de Wit cleared a ball up field and a slight touch by Konig at midfield sent McLaughlin streaking downfield into open space.

Directly out of halftime Cincinnati had a chance to score when Corben Bone took the ball into the box and was able to create enough space to get a clear shot but the keeper smothered it.

In the 47’ Ottawa came close to scoring again when a long throw in bounced around and landed for an Ottawa striker at the top of the six yard box. The first shot was blocked by Delbridge and went straight to another Ottawa player who fired right into a rushing Hildebrandt who saved it and then was able to kick the ball away.

Sem de Wit scored off a set piece from Tyler Polak in the 57’. Poor defending from Ottawa allowed de Wit to get goal side of a defender after the corner was deflected allowing de Wit to tap the ball into the net.

Ottawa got a goal back when Ramon del Compo shot a bouncing ball into the corner of the net to cut the deficit to two in the 63’. Off a corner that hit off a Cincinnati defender, falling to the feet of Compo who fired it into the net. Ottawa had a player who was in an offside position but was ruled to not have interfered with play.

After Ottawa scored it became Hildebrandt time. He made a few decent plays, cutting out passes and a save that could have been dangerous if he let it get into the path of an Ottawa player. But his save of the night came in the 82’ off a powerful 30 yard strike where he completely stretched out and tipped onto the post to preserve the two goal lead. If he doesn’t get a hand on the ball it was going into the bottom corner.

At the beginning of stoppage time he again tipped a 30 yard volley just over the bar. It was another spectacular save from the player of the night for Cincinnati.

News and Notes

The win tonight moves Cincinnati into sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 34 points (9-9-7). This was a much needed win tonight due to Ottawa being a few spots behind Cincinnati in the standings and three points behind with two less games played. Cincinnati came into the night in ninth in the conference.

This was the first league win since July 22 for Cincinnati.

Cincinnati will finally get some well-deserved rest after playing a match every four days for the last three months with nine days before their match next weekend. The team is taking the next four days off.

Cincinnati had an incredible 82% passing accuracy in the first half while also holding 54% of the possession. They fell apart in the second half with 56% passing and 35% possession.

Hildebrandt had to make six saves and most of them he was forced to make an acrobatic play to keep the ball out of the net.

Next Up

Cincinnati has a nine-day break before they host the Pittsburg Riverhounds at 4 pm on September 2. This will be the second and final meeting between the two teams this season. Cincinnati won the first match 1-0 on a goal from none other than Djiby Fall, Cincinnati’s leading goal scorer.

Final Thoughts

Tonight was a much needed three points. After losing their last three matches in heartbreaking fashion, lost 5-0 to Louisville, blowing a 2-0 lead against the New York Red Bulls, and 4-0 to New York Red Bulls II. It has been a tough week and a half for Cincinnati and hopefully they can move past this and solidify a playoff position.

Tyler Polak had an incredible game tonight with his two assists and five interceptions. Cincinnati is very good at the left back position with him and Josu.

Hildebrandt had a good game before the goal but after the goal he made a few incredible saves that were the difference between one and three points. Ottawa was playing very well and the defense gave him some help but shots still came in after the passes were deflected and half cleared to open players.

Sem de Wit was a great signing for Cincinnati and tonight he proved his worth scoring his first professional goal and starting the counter that allowed McLaughlin to score. His defense wasn’t incredible but he did well on the right side of the back three before being substituted for Austin Berry.

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Cincinnati’s Cinderella cup run ends after blowing lead

FC Cincinnati’s magical U.S. Open Cup run ended tonight after a 3-2 extra time loss to the New York Red Bulls of the MLS. A new U.S. Open Cup Semifinal record attendance was set tonight with 33,250 packed into Nippert Stadium.

Cincinnati jumped into the lead after Corben Bone fired in a chested pass from Danni Konig in the 31’. They doubled their lead off a corner in the 63’ from Austin Berry’s header he powered into the back of the net. Then the wheels fell off for Cincinnati after giving up two goals in three minutes from Gonzalo Verón and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Wright-Phillips headed home the winner in extra time in the 101’.

After the match Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch commented, “Disappointed, yes. I think anytime you’re up 2-0 in a game and you don’t win you’re going to be disappointed at the end. Throwing that aside, nothing but pride, absolute pride in a group of players that put everything they could out there on the pitch tonight for our team, our club, our city.”

New York head coach Jesse Marsch was very complementary of Cincinnati starting off his press conference saying, “First thing I want to do is congratulate this city and this club. What an incredible environment, what a great performance, what a great run for this team. Well coached, organized, fight, belief, all things good teams are about. And we escaped by the skin of our teeth.”

Cincinnati and New York started the game off evenly with both sides taking possession, but New York got the first shots of the match but both were very ambitious.

In the 13’ New York’s Sean Davis gave Cincinnati real scare when he curled a shot just past the post from outside the box. Keeper Mitch Hildebrandt was diving but it would have been close to whether he would have tipped it wide.

The match was a very evenly contested match after the shot from Davis. Cincinnati was willing to sit back and counter and were able to charge forward but had the ability to hold off taking a bad shot and possessing the ball in the attacking third.

Bone gave Cincinnati the lead in the 31’ firing home a shot from inside the box. A pass from Andrew Wiedeman was chested down by Konig into the path of an unmarked Bone. Both Konig and Bone got in behind the defense and only one defender was back to attempt to stop the ball and Cincinnati capitalized.

Konig and Felipe of New York were involved in a scrum going head to head exchanging of words after Damien Perrinelle pushed Konig after an offside call. The referee had to get in between Felipe and Konig, later calling over Cincinnati captain Kenny Walker to have him calm Konig down.

Cincinnati killed off the last part of the second half by keeping the ball in the attacking corner.

Wiedeman came very close to doubling the lead with a shot from just inside the box off a long clearance pass from the defense. New York keeper Ryan Meara made a good save to keep the deficit at one.

Austin Berry scores a goal off a corner from Kenny Walker in the 63’. Berry was on the far side of net from where the corner was taken and beat his man before powering a header into the back of the net.

New York got a goal back from Gonzalo Verón in the 75’. The initial headed shot from Verón hit Berry directly in the chest and bounced back into the path of Verón who slid it past the keeper.

Bradley Wright Phillips headed a ball just inside the post to even the match. Taking a cross from Tony Adams, Wright-Phillips coolly redirected the ball into the net giving Mitch Hildebrandt no chance to make a save.

New York almost took the lead twice before the full time whistle. First, after Wright Phillips heads a ball right off the crossbar and then a shot from Felipe was fired toward the near post of Hildebrandt who fell to the ground just in time to preserve the tie and head into extra time.

11 minutes into extra time after New York dominated possession Wright-Phillips scores his second, a beautiful header just inside the post again in the 101’.

Marco Dominguez had a good chance two minutes after the goal to even it up. A ball over the top was misplayed by the keeper and went to Dominguez in front of an open net but New York’s Tyler Adams came at the last second to clear the ball off the line.

Kevin Schindler was wide open 30 yards out and put the shot just wide of the post. It would have been a beautiful goal just before the first half of extra time ended.

The second half of extra time Cincinnati had shots from Wiedeman and Bone both go wide before New York was able to ice the rest of the match.

News and Notes

The goal was the first from Bone all season across all competitions. It was also the first scored from a Cincinnati player not named Djiby in U.S. Open Cup play.

Cincinnati had 585 scoreless minutes in their Open Cup run until the goal by Verón.

Koch commented on Bradley Wright-Phillips after being asked how close Cincinnati was to the MLS, “How many goals did Bradley Wright-Phillips score tonight? That was the difference. Big time players step up in big time moments.”

Marsch later commented on how the MLS commissioner Don Garber was in attendance and said, “I hope he takes notice of what’s going on here and I don’t think it will be too long before we are back.”

New York will be playing Sporting KC in the US Open Cup Final in Kansas City on September 20.

Cincinnati was missing Djiby, their leading goalscorer, this evening due to yellow card accumulation by picking up three yellow cards in the cup.

Next Up

FC Cincinnati has a match this weekend against the New York Red Bulls II up in New York at 4:00 pm. There is the possibility that some of the New York players that featured tonight for the first team could also play again this Saturday in the reserves. New York sits right behind Cincinnati in the Eastern Conference Table in eighth with 28 points (8-11-4).

Next Wednesday Cincinnati hosts Ottawa Fury FC at 7:30 pm. Ottawa currently sits one point out of a playoff position in 10th with 27 points (7-7-6). This will be the first match between the two. Ottawa joined the USL this season after three seasons in the NASL. They were one of two teams to make the jump from the NASL to the USL along with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Final Thoughts

Even though this cup run has ended there is no reason that the momentum for soccer in Cincinnati to slow down. They beat two MLS teams in Columbus and Chicago as well as beating Miami FC, the best the NASL has to offer. This has been a magical run and whatever happens Cincinnati now has to use that momentum to make sure they are in the USL playoffs.

In attendance tonight were the two most powerful men in US Soccer in US Soccer president Sunil Gulati and MLS commissioner Don Garber. The MLS looks to be waiting for Cincinnati as long as the stadium deal gets done. The Bailey also brought out a sign asking for the stadium to be built in Cincinnati and not Newport.

In what was a great performance from Cincinnati until the 75′ the first goal was scored there were a few standout players for Cincinnati. Justin Hoyte had a great game and was very aggressive after being released on the counter a handful of times and narrowly missed providing an assist. Danni Konig ran down every clearance and kept pressure on New York’s defense until he was subbed off in the 71′. Andrew Wiedeman was probably the most impressive because he looked to have pulled his hamstring late in original 90 minutes and kept fighting through it all the way through the end of extra time.

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Djiby sends Cincinnati into the semifinals of U.S. Open Cup

FC Cincinnati advances to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals after beating Miami FC 1-0. Djiby Fall scored the lone goal off an assist from Justin Hoyte.

Cincinnati will host the New York Red Bulls on August 15 at 8 p.m. The previous two Open Cup matches Cincinnati hosted against the Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire drew 30,160 and 32,287. Expect a crowd larger than 30,000 and potentially a sell out for this incredible feat by Alan Koch and the Cincinnati players.

This will be the first time since 2011 that a non MLS team is in the semifinal. The Richmond Kickers lost to Chicago that year in the semifinal.

Djiby scored his fourth goal in the Open Cup tonight. He is the only player for Cincinnati to score in the competition. He put Cincinnati past AFC Cleveland in the second round with a late goal in the second half of extra time. He scored the lone goal in the second half against rivals Louisville City FC. Columbus also fell in a second half goal as well. He failed to score in the match against Chicago that ended 0-0, but FC Cincinnati advanced on penalties.

Cincinnati started out defending and their first attack looked promising with a cross from Justin Hoyte that was well punched out by the keeper. In the fourth minute a good ball from Miami put into the box but the shot was missed. Cincinnati was lucky not to be down early.

An interception in the 12th minute by Corben Bone off a bad pass from the Miami keeper gave Cincinnati a great chance early but the shot went just wide.

Aodhan Quinn charged to the end line and put a ball across the face of goal but no Cincinnati player could get a touch in the 20 minute. Djiby and Konig were in the area.

Right before the half Miami had a shot off the corner but Hildebrandt coolly collected the ball. The best chance from Miami since the first 10 minutes.

In the 47th minute Cincinnati players and fans had flashbacks from this past weekend when the referee indicated a penalty for Miami after a handball. But the referee rightly switched the call after a few seconds.

Djiby slides a ball in between the legs of the Miami keeper to give Cincinnati the lead in the 68 minute. Hoyte beat his man on the left and passes to Djiby, who scores on his first touch.

Bone collects a long pass off a free kick in the 86 minute and puts a low cross across the face of goal but no one is there to meet it.

An 86th minute clearance up to Djiby who plays a great pass to Wiedeman charging into space but he is closed down and is too hesitant to take a shot quickly. The eventual shot is right at the keeper.

Miami’s best chance of the night, Poku made a great run past four Cincinnati players before Hildebrandt expertly saves a shot in a one on one situation. The game should have been tied in the 89th minute.

News and Notes

Cincinnati could potentially host the Open Cup final if they beat New York and the San Jose Earthquakes beat Sporting KC.

The attendance tonight was 10,415. It is the highest that Miami has had all season.

Kevin Schindler started his first match for Cincinnati since joining the club. His first appearance was this past Saturday against the Rochester Rhinos where he came on as a sub.

Sem De Wit made his first appearance tonight starting as the middle centreback in the back three.

Next Up

Cincinnati will host Orlando City B at 7:00 pm this Saturday August 5th. Their last matchup ended in a 1-1 draw in Orlando. Orlando currently sits in 11th place with 23 points (5-6-9). Cincinnati will be without Djiby, backup keeper Dallas Jaye, and assistant coach Yohann Demet due to all three being sent off in the loss to the Rochester Rhinos. Djiby received two yellow cards that resulted in a red while Jaye and Demet were sent off from the bench.

Final Thoughts

Cincinnati executed their gameplan to perfection; staying very compact defensively and never letting the best Miami player, Poku, to really have an influence on the match. The attacks were solid and there was a big difference when Matt Bahner came on for Kevin Schindler in the right wing back position. Bahner is much better at getting forward and crossing the ball while Schindler is better defensively. It was the opposite wing back in Hoyte who provided the assist on Djiby’s goal.

Hildebrandt had a good game with his first two saves being fairly easy but the save on Poku in the one on one was incredible and saved Cincinnati from having to endure extra time.

The three man back line of Cincinnati has gotten a lot of credit this season, but the more they play it the better Austin Berry and Harrison Delbridge seem to play. Both made great tackles to stop a one on one with the keeper.

Cincinnati hosting another MLS team in two weeks and there will be another great crowd at Nippert. I would expect ESPN will attempt to come back and show the incredible atmosphere. The match against Chicago attracted a viewing audience close to MLS.

Relive the two MLS opponents here.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Cincinnati loses amid questionable officiating

FC Cincinnati lost to the Rochester Rhinos 3-2 amid many questionable decisions from the referee. Wal Fall converted two penalties for Rochester including the winner after they got out to an early lead from a Jochen Graf goal. Jimmy McLaughlin provided an equalizer and Danni Konig converted a late penalty for Cincinnati.

10 yellow cards, one being a second yellow, and one straight red were given out tonight along with three penalty kicks. Eight of the yellows went to Cincinnati, with two for the visitors who didn’t receive one until the second half when Cincinnati already had four. The fouls were fairly even with Cincinnati earning 18 while Rochester had 17. In the first half Cincinnati had three cards on six fouls.

Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch commented on the match saying, “I guess I have more questions than comments.”

Koch later said, “We all are expected to come to work in this business to go out and deal with the elements. It is important for a coach to be nice and calm and collected during the game. It is also important for his players to go out and embrace the game, to go in and put in a good shift. It is also important for the officials in the game, not to get caught up in the game and lose control. Unfortunately some of those things did not happen tonight.”

He did later comment on the positives he saw tonight, “The fact that we played a man down for 60 minutes and were right in it until the end.”

Cincinnati started off slow and on their heels for the first 15 minutes of the game. They allowed Rochester to attack on the left leaving Austin Berry to stifle any of the attacks. He handled the responsibility well and most of the attacks were stopped quickly.

Graf gave Rochester the lead with a shot off the post after a mishandled clearance from Justin Hoyte in the 12’. A cross was headed down at Hoyte’s feet and it bounced right to the striker. Mitch Hildebrandt had no chance to stop the shot.

Djiby picked up his first yellow for hitting a Rochester defender in the head as they jumped for a header. This was his first foul of the match and the yellow was probably based on Djiby’s reputation.

Cincinnati looked promising on the attack after the 20’. They were finally looking to take the game to Rochester instead of sitting back and absorbing pressure.

McLaughlin equalized in the 29’ passing the ball into the back of the net from 20 yards out. A bad back pass from Rochester to the keeper allowed McLaughlin to get to the ball before the keeper.

Everything changed in the match in the 42’ when Djiby picked up his second yellow going for a 50/50 ball with Wal Fall of Rochester. Fall hit the ground grabbing his leg and Djiby was given his second yellow and marching orders. The replay showed Djiby hit the ball but his follow through also hit Fall. The Cincinnati captain commented on the foul after the game, “I have seen that given a yellow, I’ve seen that not given a yellow.” From the moment the foul happened Fall was given a chorus of boos every time he touched the ball until the end of the match.

Coming out of the half Cincinnati played a tight defensive formation and played very well keeping Rochester at bay.

Hoyte picked up a yellow card on a normal tackle where he was a little late getting to the ball and hit the Rochester player. He received the yellow while laughing at the referee.

Rochester received a penalty in the 78’ after Andrew Wiedeman clattered into the back of Fall conceding the penalty. It was the only call the referee seemed to get right all game. Fall stepped up and converted the penalty to another chorus of boos from the crowd. Celebrating he put his hand over he ears and then taunted the crowd to receive a yellow card.

Four minutes later Rochester was given a penalty for a handball that hit Kevin Schindler in the center of his chest. Fall converted his second penalty this time running back to his half with his hands over his ears taunting the crowd.

Cincinnati caught a break right off the kickoff when a handball from Rochester was called for a free kick just outside the box initially. After protests from the Cincinnati players and a conversation with the assistant on that side the call was changed to a penalty.

In the time after the handball was given and the call changed to a penalty there was pandemonium on the Cincinnati sideline. Assistant coach Yoann Damet was sent off as well as substitute keeper Dallas Jaye.

After everything was settled Danni Konig stepped up to covert the penalty in the 86’.

News and notes

The attendance tonight was 23,548. The attendance tonight pushes the average above 20,000 for the season.

Cincinnati moves to (8-7-6) with 30 points. They dropped to sixth place in the Eastern Conference subsequently switching places with Rochester.

Cincinnati is now second in the USL in red cards with 4. They are tied for 14th in yellow cards with 32.

Kevin Schindler made his first league appearance tonight after debuting against Valencia CF on Monday.

Next Up

Cincinnati travels to take on Miami FC for the replay of the US Open Cup match that was postponed on July 12 due to rain. This will be the first meeting of between the two clubs. Miami is in the NASL and won the Spring Season by an incredible 10 points going (11-2-3). They will be the best team Cincinnati has seen all competition with the players put on the field.

Orlando City B comes into town next weekend August 5. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Orlando is currently in 11th place with 22 points (5-6-7). Their last meeting was a 1-1 draw in Orlando on July 1.

Final Thoughts

Cincinnati was robbed of a decent chance to win this game after Djiby was sent off. The first yellow was definitely questionable but was 50/50 on a card or not due to hitting Rochester’s Bradley Kamdem Fewo in the face. Fewo went to the ground holding his face with some embellishment. Also the assistant referee was adamant on the yellow card because head referee allowed play to continue for a couple seconds before calling the foul.

Rochester does deserve credit because they knew that Cincinnati doesn’t play well to start matches and tonight was no different. The first 20 minutes or so Cincinnati was slow to everything and were on their heels. The first goal was a product of good passing and a lucky break in Hoyte mishandling the clearance.

Miami FC is far from a must win and the lineup put out this Wedensday will be better than the one originally planned for the match. An hour before the scheduled kickoff Cincinnati announced that three key players would not be starting. Andrew Wiedeman, Harrison Delbridge and Justin Hoyte were the three and all three of them could start the match this time around.

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Takeaways from FC Cincinnati’s friendly with Valencia

FC Cincinnati lost their international friendly match with Valencia C.F. 2-0 on Monday. Here are the takeaways from the match:

Not The Event It Was Last Year

Last season’s summer international friendly was the event of the summer; this year’s not so much.

Crystal Palace brought a sold out crowd of 35,061, which is still the record for FC Cincinnati for a single match. This match also brought the pedigree of England’s Premier League that is by far the most popular league in America. It is very accessible through NBC, NBC Sports Network and NBC Live Extra, their streaming platform where every EPL match was broadcast live. Crystal Palace made the FA Cup Final last year against Manchester United, which definitely didn’t hurt the buzz around this match.

Takeaways from FC Cincinnati's friendly with Valencia

Photo of the crowd during the second half.

Valencia comes from Spain a league that is only broadcast on BEIN in the US. BEIN is a channel that is included in extra cable packages and tough to find for casual soccer fans.

Valencia has also had a few down years since their highs of the early 2000s. But what a set of highs those were, two Champions League Finals and a pair of La Liga titles are nothing to skip past. The 12th place finish last season gave them their first finish outside the top half of the table since 1986.

Putting the match on a Monday night didn’t help and kept a handful of fans away. This season the biggest moments of the season could have already happened with the U.S. Open Cup matches. In their match against Columbus, Djiby scored an incredible header to give them the victory. Mitch Hildebrandt stopped three penalties as Cincinnati advanced over Chicago. With three extra Open Cup matches and the U.S. Women’s National Team friendly in September, which has already sold more than 20,000 tickets, there is only so much disposable income soccer fans in Cincinnati have to go around.

At the end of the day this was a good event but not the event of the summer like last season.

Omar Cummings Retirement

 Omar Cummings made his final appearance as a professional soccer player tonight. In a fantastic ceremony at halftime surrounded by family, his wife and daughter, and General Manager Jeff Berding and Owner Carl Linder III he was given a video tribute and framed jersey. As he was subbed off in the 73 minute he was given a standing ovation from the crowd. Every player and staff member was standing as he exited the field.

Cincinnati is losing one of their inaugural signees as a player, but he will be moving into the front office working with the development academy and community involvement.

Backup Keepers

Granted, two goals were scored tonight but we saw some very good play from Dallas Jaye and Dan Williams, FCC’s second and third keepers. Jaye made a great save by jumping to grab a ball that was fired above his head and made a diving save on a shot from Simone Zaza that was offside. He gave up one goal but there was nothing he could have done in the one on one situation he was put in.

Williams had one good save tonight but gave up an open net goal after being called up for an offensive corner. To his credit he did hustle from box to box after the ball was cleared, but he never had a chance to stop Zaza before it was tapped in.

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Cincinnati loses to Valencia, says goodbye to Cummings

FC Cincinnati lost an international friendly with La Liga side Valencia CF 2-0. Nando and Simone Zaza both scored to give their team the victory. An impressive 23,114 showed up to witness the special event at Nippert Stadium.

Nando scored on a beautiful ball over Cincinnati’s back line from Dani Parejo and buried a shot into the side netting. There was little the back line or keeper Dallas Jaye could do to stop the perfect run and flawless strike. Zaza scored into an open net in stoppage time after Cincinnati brought everyone up for a corner in an attempt to tie the game.

Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch commented on the match, “It’s not very often when you lose a game it’s okay to smile. I think we all hate losing but tonight was more than winning or losing. It was obviously a great experience for our entire group.” He continued, “We managed to get some good minutes for guys that played a lot and managed to get some minutes for guys who haven played that much.”

Valencia Head Coach Marcelino García Toral said through a translator, “It was a great experience playing here before and during the match. It was a great experience with a great atmosphere.”

The retirement of Omar Cummings was an exceptional spectacle that coincided with the match. He was given a framed jersey during a halftime ceremony with his family and some front office staff. He subbed in to start the second half and played 28 minutes before being subbed off to a standing ovation from the Nippert Crowd.

Commenting on his final match Cummings said, “It doesn’t feel like it has quite hit me yet.” On going out in Cincinnati, “The opportunity to go out in front of my adopted home, in front of this fan base, community. Against a team like Valencia, it was awesome.”

Cincinnati started the match with a lot of possession as Valencia sat back in a very defensive formation. The first good chance of the match came from Cincinnati’s Aodhan Quinn’s long looping volley that was parried away by keeper Neto before sliding under the bar into the top corner in the 13 minute.

Starting keeper Mitch Hildebrandt was brought off in the 31 minute for backup Dallas Jaye. Jaye had to endure the onslaught that Valencia brought late in the first half. First he caught a hard shot from Alvaro Negrado that was placed directly above him but the ball could have easily slipped through his hands. Then he made a diving save to stop a shot from Zaza but it didn’t count due to Zaza being offside. Lastly Zaza was able to chip one over Jaye but again couldn’t stay onside.

The second half started with two changes for Cincinnati including bringing Cummings on for his final appearance. He drew a yellow card in the 48 minute from Aymen Abdennour who took him down from behind while running down the line. He came off in the 73 minute to a standing ovation from the crowd and his teammates.

Valencia got onto the score sheet in the 62 minute after an amazing long ball from Dani Parejo went over the back line of Cincinnati, landing perfectly in stride with a streaking Nando who took a couple touches and buried it into the side netting.

After the goal came mass substitutions from both teams. Then good up and down play was had, but very little in good scoring chances for Cincinnati.

At the end of stoppage time Cincinnati earned a corner and sent everyone up to try to equalize, including keeper Dan Williams. The ball was cleared and ended up to a wide-open Zaza who took a few touches in the open field before tapping into an open net. Williams did give chance the entire way but was unable to catch up to the striker.

News and Notes

Omar Cummings appeared in 20 matches for Cincinnati and scored three goals in his time here. He was a regular starter until hurting his knee last season in an ugly challenge causing his knee to hyper-extend. Now moving into a role with the front office with the development academy and community involvement.

The only Cincinnati players not to appear tonight were Harrison Delbridge, Justin Hoyte and Josu. Josu had knee swelling while both Delbridge and Hoyte have been struggling for fitness due to the congested match schedule. Delbridge also just came back from an abdominal injury.

On the artificial turf Toral commented he was happy no one was injured. Wilfried Zaha left in a walking boot after last season’s friendly with Crystal Palace.

This was Valencia’s second game on a two game tour of North America. The New York Cosmos hosted them in Saskatchewan, Canada in front of a little more than 15,000 with New York winning 2-0.

Koch also stated, “Valencia is an amazing team, there is a reason they are the club they are, there is a reason they play in the league they do. You could see their team was a little rusty, it’s their preseason that’s to be expected. But you could also see some individual moments that were sheer brilliance.”

Next Up

This Saturday the Rochester Rhinos come to town for a USL matchup at 7:00 pm. Rochester currently sits in seventh in the Eastern Conference (6-3-7) with 25 points. In their first match of the season Rochester squeezed out a 1-0 win off a goal from Bradley Kamdem Fewo.

Final Thoughts

A good showing compared to what I feel should have happened against a top La Liga team that played their starters for most of the match. Even though they were in preseason, Valencia had their moments and they outclassed Cincinnati. Credit the defense and positioning of the back line and wing backs because they held firm and didn’t allow easy shots and passes in the final third were hard to come by.

The best player on the pitch tonight was Dani Parejo. He was all over the pitch and made more than a handful of balls over the top of the Cincinnati defense and it Zaza could have stayed onside he would have had two or three assists.

Hosting Crystal Palace last season and Valencia this season are huge grabs. Along with the home playoff win last season and U.S. Open Cup run this year hosting Columbus and Chicago the crowds have been coming out and given something to cheer about from their players. This has been a promising start for Cincinnati and bodes well for an MLS call up if the stadium situation gets resolved. It is hard to remember that FC Cincinnati is less than two years old.

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Cincinnati Takes Down Harrisburg After Two Delays

FC Cincinnati won a twice-delayed match against the Harrisburg City Islanders 3-0 at Nippert Stadium. Djiby Fall, Danni Konig and Jimmy McLaughlin scored the three goals for Cincinnati. An impressive 18,334 were in attendance tonight.

Djiby scored the opener after a bad back pass from Mohammed Abass collecting the ball at the top of the box, cutting back and curling a shot into the far corner giving the keeper no chance. Djiby assisted on Konig’s goal with a great defender splitting pass letting Konig slide it right though the keeper’s legs to secure the second goal.

McLaughlin scored a late goal after collecting a pass at the top of the box and beautifully cutting into space dead center and sliding the ball into the bottom corner.

Coach Koch commented on the match, “Very happy to get the three points. Very happy with our players reactions with the delay, don’t think we were good for the first 27 minutes. We adjusted a couple things. I think the players response was absolutely brilliant, allowed to get ourselves into the game.”

Cincinnati played very poorly for the first 27 minutes before the first delay creating more chances than Harrisburg but the best was a shot from outside the box that Mitch Hildebrandt made a good reaction on to keep it scoreless in the seventh minute. But the possession was mostly in their half with a lot of misplayed passes. Defensively, crosses from the sides were allowed to get to their target but luckily Cincinnati wasn’t punished. In the 27’ lightning in the area caused a 71-minute delay.

After the first delay things turned around as Cincinnati came back with Djiby scoring his 11 of the season on the bad back pass from Abass in the 32’. A few chances came close in the minutes after the goal but no second goal.

In the second half Cincinnati continued to play well. Coming close to scoring in the 59’ when a great double save from Harrisburg’s Brandon Miller denied Djiby and Andrew Wiedeman.

Konigj doubled the lead with a silky smooth finish between the keeper’s legs in the 69’. A defense splitting pass from Djiby set up the goal.

Kyle Grieg made his debut for Cincinnati in the 77’ replacing Djiby. Grieg is on loan from Coach Koch’s old club the Vancouver Whitecaps until the end of the season.

Unfortunately in the 84’ lightning in the area stopped play again but this time for only 30 minutes. Right out of the delay sub McLaughlin collected a pass from Kenny Walker and found open space before a cool finish into the bottom corner to ice the match and three points.

News and Notes

Cincinnati moves to fifth in the Eastern Conference with 30 points (8-6-6). Harrisburg came into tonight with 10 points from their last five matches. A very good win in the quest to the top four and a home playoff match.

New signing Kevin Schindlr was on the bench tonight but did not make his debut. Sem de Wit the third addition for Cincinnati may play on Monday in the friendly.

Djiby scored his 11 goal in the USL and 14 across all competitions. He also provided his first assist as a Cincinnati player.

Jimmy McLaughlin scored his second goal of the season, his first was May 6 against Richmond. He has come so close in recent matches and finally one found the back of the net.

Most of the fans stayed after the first weather delay, but after the second there were just a smattering of fans were left.

Up Next

Cincinnati next plays Valencia C.F. in an international friendly on Monday July 24 at 7:30. Valencia is one of the top teams in the La Liga, the top Spanish division, last winning in 2003-04 season and making the Champions League final in 2000 and 2001. You can read more about that matchup here.

This Saturday the Rochester Rhinos come to town for a USL matchup at 7:00 pm. Rochester currently sits in seventh in the Eastern Conference (6-3-7) with 25 points. In their first match of the season Rochester squeezed out a 1-0 win off a goal from Bradley Kamdem Fewo.

Final Thoughts

Whatever the adjustments made during the first weather delay won this game for Cincinnati. After looking horrible for the first 25 minutes they came back after the delay and took over the match.

Austin Berry had a good match tonight. He covered well for Justin Hoyte who on the left of the three centrebacks Cincinnati had. Hoyte was the player picked on for crosses from the right and he was lucky not to give up a goal. He needs to improve on his abilty to deal with crosses if he wasnts to keep Paul Nicholson from taking his place in the starting 11 or move back out to his left wing back position.

Also a big thank to Jason of Our Kettle Runneth Over for the bag of kettle corn during the first weather delay.

Cincinnati Pushes Past Richmond 2-0

FC Cincinnati beat the Richmond Kickers 2-0 on a warm evening in front of 21,769. An early goal from Djiby Fall and a late converted penalty by Aodhan Quinn led Cincinnati to victory.

Tonight’s win moves Cincinnati up to sixth place with 24 points (6-6-6) and three points behind the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the fourth position and a home playoff match.

Djiby scored in the third minute after an incredible ball from Kenny Williams that landed perfectly in front of the box. Djiby just set his feet and fired it past the keeper. A straight red card in the 87’ from Richmond’s Fred Owusu Sekyre after he threw an elbow into the face of Aodhan Quinn gave Cincinnati a man advantage. Then a stoppage time penalty due to a handball gave Quinn the opportunity to put Cincinnati up by two and ice the match.

Coach Koch commented on the match, “Great result for us, I was very happy with the performance. Scary game because when you are on top as much as were today, a lot of the time it takes one moment and before you know it you slipped up.”

Cincinnati completely dominated from the kickoff through the halftime whistle. Djiby put a corner just over the bar in the second minute and then gave his team the lead in the third.

After the goal Cincinnati controlled the ball for long periods of time and kept Richmond’s chances to a minimum. Their best chance of the first half came from a free kick from Raul Gonzalez from 23 yards out but the shot hit the wall and was cleared successfully by Cincinnati.

Jimmy McLaughlin had a fantastic chance after a good long ball from Paul Nicholson sent McLaughlin into the box where the shot was directly at the keeper. Unfortunately for Jimmy he went near post, if he goes far post Andrew Wiedeman could potentially have tapped it home.

Djiby almost got his second of the night hitting the crossbar with a thunderous shot but he was ruled offside late in the first.

The second half started with much of the same from Cincinnati, absolute domination with chances being saved or just wide. McLaughlin put a curler on target that took a diving save from Richmond’s keeper Matt Turner.

Wiedeman put a shot on target but again right a Turner in the 52. Another good pass over the top of the defense pass from Walker set up the chance.

A few more good shots were taken from McLaughlin but like the rest there was no getting him a goal.

Then Cincinnati’s wheels fell off for an eight minute stretch when the ball was kept in their defensive third with a few shots coming dangerously close to going in after deflections. A handful of fouls allowed free kicks that were in dangerous areas luckily the Richmond shooters put them either into the wall or crossed poorly allowing half clearances to somewhat reset the defense.

Cincinnati was still shaky late bringing Wiedeman off for midfielder Quinn who had an almost immediate impact due to drawing the red card from Owusu Sekyere. Quinn was playing Owusu Sekyere physically in the midfield, fouling him at the center circle and as Owusu Sekyere he threw an elbow at Quinn’s face drawing a straight red from the official who was feet away from the incident.

After the red Cincinnati was able to salt away the time and got to ball into the Richmond box where a hard shot from Danni Konig was saved by the keeper, but redirected directly into the arm of Braeden Troyer for a penalty. Quinn stepped up and buried the penalty, but Konig was ruled to be in the box too early and it had to be retaken. Quinn then stepped back up and fired into the opposite corner of the net to seal the three points for Cincinnati.

News and Notes

Cincinnati has played 13 matches in 53 days due to their US Open Cup run. Coach Koch was very adamant to bring this up during the postgame press conference. He commented on this run being, “I’ve never been though that before, I’d somebody to tell me someone who has. To show the endurance and character our group showed to get through this is nothing short of remarkable.”

Djiby scored his ninth league goal tonight in 12 appearances. Bringing him to 12 across all competitions in 15 appearances continuing his impressive run of form.

Jimmy McLaughlin can’t buy a goal right now having great chances but he hasn’t scored since May 6. Coincidentally the last time Cincinnati played Richmond.

Final Thoughts

Cincinnati got a huge three points tonight after a disappointing trip to Florida with one point from two matches. Going to play Miami FC in the US Open Cup Quarterfinals will be one of the toughest challenges to date. The NASL leaders who trounced the second place San Francisco City FC 7-0 over the weekend.

Harrison Delbridge was the only starter missing tonight due to an injury. Justin Hoyte stepped in to the central defensive role and played well.

Kenny Walker is proving to be the solid rock in the midfield for Cincinnati, his passing was incredible putting three balls over the defense assisting Djiby with his goal and creating a great chance that McLaughlin couldn’t finish. He is a player that Coach Koch is happy to have back.