Cincinnati Fights Back To Draw With Pittsburgh

FC Cincinnati played to a 2-2 draw with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Danni Konig and Kenny Walker provided the goals for Cincinnati. A crowd of 24,505 was in attendance to watch the match.

Pittsburgh jumped out to an early lead with a goal from Jordan Dover in the sixth minute. It took until the second half for Cincinnati to equalize with a goal from Konig in the 59’. Pittsburgh again took the lead in the 72’ from Thomas Vancaeyezeele. Walker pulled Cincinnati level again in the 78’ with the final goal of the night.

A match between two of the best defensive teams in the USL went from being what looked like a low scoring affair turned into a thrilling 2-2 draw. Cincinnati conceded two goals coming into tonight while Pittsburgh had given up zero.

Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch said after the match, “To come from behind twice to a team that hadn’t conceded so far this season is certainly not an easy challenge.” Later he said, “We literally took the script and threw it out the window at halftime. We changed everything, in the second 45 minutes.”

Cincinnati started slow giving up the early goal to Dover who was able to score off a small deflection off defender Forest Lasso. Pittsburgh was able to keep Cincinnati in their half for long periods. It was a lot of possession for Cincinnati with 62% for the half; a lot of it was swinging the ball across their backline or down the sides of the field with few scoring chances.

Coming out in the second half they displayed a sense of urgency and looked to be able to score on every attack in the first 20 minutes of the half. The passing play from midfielders Corben Bone and Nazmi Albadawi were opening up space for the full backs and wingers to get forward and cross the ball into the box.

Konig was the major beneficiary of the ball movement when Bone collected a loose ball at the top of the box and slid a ball to him in space where he scored in the 58’. Two minutes later Konig almost scored again putting a shot just wide of the net.

Another defensive breakdown led to the second Pittsburgh goal. The attacker was able to carry the ball to the endline and play a pass to an open Vancaeyezeele who slotted the ball home in the 72’.

Walker was able to equalize in the 78’ when a Albadawi shot was blocked and landed right. An easy finish from Walker into the far side of the net.

Cincinnati went right back to controlling the pace of play after the equalizer with a few good chances but couldn’t find the go ahead goal.

If Cincinnati could start matches quicker they could potentially have four more points. This is the third match in a row that Cincinnati has given up a goal in the first 15 minutes. They lost to Louisville City FC 1-0 and drew with Bethlehem Steel FC 1-1 in the last two matches.

Walker saw his first action since his concussion against the Indy Eleven on March 31st . He was slow at first and was outplayed in the lead up to the second Pittsburgh goal but was able to make amends minutes later.

Jimmy McLaughlin and Konig both got their first starts of the season tonight.

Moment By Moment

6’ Jordan Dover game Pittsburgh an early lead. Dover collected the ball inside the box his shot had a small deflection off Cincinnati defender Forest Lasso and by the outstretched hand of keeper Evan Newton.

10’ Danni Konig was called for a foul in the Pittsburgh box. He gave the Pittsburgh defender a knee below the belt, no card given.

36’ Jimmy McLaughlin starts a counter and has two great touches to run 30 yards before being brought down by Dover, who earns the first booking of the night. The resulting free kick was a little too far for a Cincinnati player to get on the end of it and harmlessly goes out for a goal kick.

45’ Free kick for Cincinnati in lone minute of stoppage time in a dangerous

50’ Penalty shouts for Cincinnati as Konig goes down in the box. The referee decides against giving the penalty and the Cincinnati bench was furious.

55’ Konig with a shot that goes just over the bar from eight yards out. His first touch was poor and allowed the ball to bounce and he got under it a bit too much.

59’ Goal Konig fires a ball past the keeper to tie up the match. A loose ball falls to the feet of Corben Bone at the top of the box, he picks out Konig in space, incredible vision from the midfielder.

61’ Konig taps a ball over the top just wide of the goal, almost two goals in two minutes for him.

68’ Emmanuael Ledesma picks up the first yellow of the night for Cincinnati after a late challenge at midfield.

73’ Pittsburgh retakes the lead with a goal from Thomas Vancaeyezeele. Kenardo Forbes got to the end line and played a pass back to Vancaeyezeele who was able to slide the ball into the net easily.

78” Kenny Walker scores to tie up the match, putting a rebound into the back of the net. Ledesma passed back to an open Nazmi Albadawi whose shot was saved but landed at the feet of Walker who was wide open in the box.

88’ Dekel Keinan is booked for pulling back on a Pittsburgh attacker on a counter attack.

Up Next

Cincinnati travels to Ottawa on next Saturday April 28 for a match at 2:10 pm.

Then traveling to Indianapolis for the second time this season on Wednesday May 2 at 7:00 pm. Cincinnati won the first matchup this year 1-0.

Returning home to Nippert on Saturday May 5 at 7:00 pm to play Atlanta United 2. This could see the return of former keeper Mitch Hildebrandt as he is currently a backup keeper for the MLS club and is working his wat back from an injury.

Final Thoughts

Cincinnati played their best half all season in the second half. The ball movement was incredible and players were getting in the right positions. The only drawback was the crossing was a problem all night, with most of the crosses being very easy for the Pittsburgh keeper to catch.

Lance Laing continues to impress even when being played out of position. He is normally a left winger but tonight he played as the left back with Jimmy McLaughlin as the left winger. There were a few growing pains with Laing back there, the first goal was scored from his side of the field, but his overlapping runs led him into a ton of space and he looked very dangerous for long stretches of the night.

FC Cincinnati Falls To Louisville City FC

FC Cincinnati lost to rival Louisville City FC 1-0 in front of a USL home-opening game record crowd of 25,667 on a cold night in Cincinnati. The lone goal scored by Cameron Lancaster in the 13’.

Cincinnati had a few good chances but nothing ultimately came of them. Corben Bone had a shot cleared off the line in the 25’ and Lance Laing had a long shot sent away by the keeper a few minutes later.

Emery Welshman had the best chance in the second half when he got on a loose ball and sent the shot several feet over the bar. Late in the match, two headers were sent over the bar from good positions.

Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch stated after the game, “ Disappointed to lose the derby. I don’t think anybody, anywhere in this business has been happy to not win a derby when you get to represent your team, your fans, and your city.”

Winger Lance Laing was distraught in the postgame press conference. As Koch was talking he was shaking his head in his hands. He commented, “ I feel like I lost a cup final. It’s my first home game, I just wasn’t expecting this. I had high hopes.” Later saying, “We weren’t great tonight and that’s it.”

Louisville played a very good game by packing it in defensively and cutting down the space Cincinnati had to work in. This was very evident in the later stages of the second half as Cincinnati was trying to find an equalizer. Two Louisville defenders to one Cincinnati attacker were on the end of every cross.

Cincinnati possessed the ball for the majority of the first 10 minutes of the match but the best chance was for Louisville. A diving save from Evan Newton kept the scoreline level in the 10’.

Louisville took the lead minutes later after poor defending allowed Lancaster to put a loose ball into the back of the net. A pass from the right was allowed into the center of the box where three Cincinnati defenders watched the ball land at Lancaster’s feet.

Cincinnati had a chance to equalize in the 25’ after a shot from Corben Bone was cleared off the line. Ledesma did a great job setting up the chance after beating his defender and running 30 yards into space before passing to Bone at the top of the box.

Cincinnati took control around the 30’ mark, possessing a lot of the ball and putting a few shots in the area. Laing had a long shot from 25 yards out but it was comfortably knocked away for a corner.

Early in the second half, Louisville’s Lancaster picked up a yellow card after going down in the box. It was either for diving or dissent after he didn’t get the penalty call.

Cincinnati had a great chance in the 54’ when a loose ball in the box made its way to Ledesma who rocketed the ball over the net from 10 yards out. It was a chance he would have liked to have back.

Chances were very hard to come by for Cincinnati for the last 30 minutes. Louisville did a very good of packing it in and not allowing space for Cincinnati to move the ball comfortably.

After the 80’ Cincinnati had two headers go just over the bar, one from Konig and another from Keinan. A loose ball in the six-yard box at the end of stoppage time was cleared by the Louisville defense as the last chance for Cincinnati.

Up Next

Cincinnati travels to Pennsylvania to play the Bethlehem Steel next Saturday 4/15 at 7:00 P.M. Bethlehem is currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with three points (1-2-0).

The next home game is in two weeks on 4/21 at 7:00 P.M. when the Pittsburgh Riverhounds come to Nippert Stadium. Pittsburgh is currently in 8th place in the East with five points (1-0-2).

Final Thoughts

This was not a great game for Cincinnati, but also not the end of the world. In the short term, a loss to your biggest rival always hurts and right now many fans will be upset. Big picture, two wins out of the first three games with only three regular starters returning is huge. Those starters are Bone, Justin Hoyte and Kenny Walker who started the first two matches. Once this team gets a little better cohesion things will come together in a big way.

One thing Cincinnati needs to work on is providing support for the striker up top and not leaving him on an island. Welshman was fed a lot of crosses but was going up against two Louisville defenders every time because he was the only Cincinnati player in the box. Danni Konig was brought on in the second half but he wasn’t able to provide much relief for Welshman due to Louisville packing the box.

This is a loss against the defending USL champions who returned 17 players. There is good reason they are projected to finish at the top of the league again.

Cincinnati falls to Sacramento in final preseason game

FC Cincinnati lost to Sacramento Republic FC 2-1 after a very poor performance at Nippert Stadium. Cameron Iwasa gave Sacramento the lead in the 31’ and Villyan Bijev scored the winning goal in the 71’. Dekel Keinan got one back in the 84’, but it was too little too late.

Alan Koch, Cincinnati’s head coach, was visibly frustrated in the post-game press conference. “We are very disappointed with the performance today. It wasn’t even close to being where we need to be at this stage of out preseason.” Later he commented, “We have been humbled.”

Cincinnati started slow again allowing Sacramento to control the first 20 minutes of the match. Cincinnati keeper Evan Newton had a good first half, making a very good diving save in the third minute off of a corner to deny an early goal. He had a second good diving save in the 32’ minute, but the rebound landed too close to Iwasa who was able to slot home the first goal of the match. Iwasa just beat Cincinnati defender Blake Smith to the ball.

The first shot on target for Cincinnati came in the 44’ when Justin Hoyte was put into a one on one situation with the keeper, but the shot was right at the keeper. Dekel Keinan had a very good header a minute later that was sent away with an incredible diving save.

Cincinnati looked strong coming out for the start of the second half, picking up from where they left off from the end of the first. Passing was fluid and the midfield looked solid for the first long stretch all match. Sacramento took control again around the 60’ and was off and running. In the 71’ Villyan Bijev slid a shot past Newton to give his team a 2-0 lead.

Keinan headed home a corner in the 84’ to give Cincinnati a little hope, but it was not to be; Sacramento parked the bus well, allowing only one chance in the final few minutes. Tomi Ameobi was put into a one on one situation with the keeper, but the ball was a little too far in front of him and he collided with the keeper who closed down well.

Takeaways

Cincinnati looked very poor today with bad passing, being out of position at times and bad touches either squandering promising chances or giving the ball right to the opposition. Tomi Ameobi did not look very good as the lone striker today. He had four bad touches in promising attacking areas that he should have done better with. If Konig and Welshman go down this year at the same time it will be very difficult to score from the striker position.

The only player who can say they played well was Justin Hoyte. He had a couple good defensive plays stopping a shot or getting a crucial takeaway at the last second. Mixed service on his overlapping runs was a big issue. He had a few where no one saw him and his effort went unrewarded. When he was given the ball he produced two good chances, one on the first Cincinnati shot on target in the 44’ and another early in the second half when he carried the ball down the right side of the box and a low cross was knocked away from Ameobi.

More than a few Cincinnati players’ starting positions will be questioned by the coaching staff heading into the first regular season game this Saturday. Hustle late in the game was a huge issue and it looked like a very uninspired team after the second goal. Daniel Haber was brought on right after the goal and he showed some hustle, but was largely ineffective during the run of play with very little help around him. He did provide a fantastic assist for Keinan’s goal.

On a positive note, the Centreback pairing of Keinan and Forest Lasso is going to win most balls off set pieces this season. It was proven multiple times tonight in both penalty areas.

Jimmy McLaughlin was evaluated for an injury after the match. He was seen holding his left shoulder after a collision with the keeper in the second half. He finished the game but his left arm was dangling as he ran and during a stoppage of play he was talking to a Sacramento player pointing at his shoulder and not moving his arm at all.

Moments

3’ Evan Newton makes a great diving save to stop a good header from going into the bottom corner for Sacramento.

20’ Forest Lasso picks up the first yellow card of the match after a hard tackle on Sacramento’s Keven Aleman.

25’ Sacramento’s Jermey Hall picked up a yellow card after taking down Tomi Ameobi around the center circle.

33’ Sacramento goal for Cameron Iwassa. After a diving save from Newton the rebound was pushed into open space and Iwassa beat Cincinnati defender Blake Smith to the ball and slotted it home.

44’ Cincinnati finally got their first shot on goal after a great ball from Corben Bone to put Justin Hoyte into space but the shot is right at the keeper and out for a corner.

45’ After the corner was sent away by Sacramento, Cincinnati worked the ball around to the right wing. The cross to Dekel Keinan was perfect and he put a header toward the bottom corner, but a fantastic diving save kept the ball out.

71’ Sacramento goal for Villyan Bijev. The ball got away from Kenny Walker and Bijev was able to bounce the ball off a Cincinnati defender and into the net.

84’ Cincinnati gets their first goal from Dekel Keinan with a header off a corner. Daniel Haber put the cross in and Dekel out jumped his marker and put it into the top corner.

 

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Cincinnati and Nashville play to preseason draw

FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC played to a 2-2 draw in a preseason match at Gettler Stadium in front of a sell out of 1,400 fans.

Nashville opened the scoring with a goal from Matt LaGrassa inside the box shortly after a corner. Lance Laing equalized for Cincinnati just before halftime with a stunning 25 yard curling volley that landed in the far corner of the net.

Cincinnati took the lead in the 65th minute with a goal from Emery Welshman off a throw in. He allowed the ball to roll all the way to the end line before sliding it past the keeper for the goal. A late penalty for Nashville, converted by Alan Win, tied the match up in the 87th minute. A Cincinnati defender took down a Nashville attacker with a bad tackle.

After the game Head Coach Alan Koch said, “I think it was exactly the way we needed it to be. To be honest I am glad we didn’t win because if we left the pitch today winning, some people, some players, some fans, maybe some of my staff would leave today with a bit of a false sense of confidence. It is exactly what we needed it to be today. That’s exactly what a USL game will look like. That’s why we played Nashville today.”

 

Takeaways

Lance Laing impressed the entire 70 minutes he was on the pitch. Besides the goal, he put in a few very good crosses for Welshman that were just too far away for him to put into the net. His strength fighting for the ball gave Cincinnati a chance to keep every ball that was played long down the left side of the field. He has pace to run down long balls, which led to his goal. Left back Blake Smith was able to play a few very nice balls to him; this could be the beginning of a very nice partnership this season if it continues.

Set pieces are going to be the strength of Cincinnati this season. Large defenders Dekel Keinan and Forest Lasso both attack corners and free kicks incredibly well on both offense and defense. Keinan even bashed heads with a Nashville defender and received a nice cut above his eye that had to be stitched up on the field. He came off for a few minutes to get cleaned up and played until the mass substitution in the 72nd minute.

It was a decent performance from Cincinnati today against a physical team that fell down a lot begging for calls when the physicality was given back to them. Nashville had two tall forwards that were handled well by the defense and Evan Newton made a fair share of good saves to keep Cincinnati in game. There will be comparisons to Mitch Hildebrandt, but Newton is going to be better.

The service to Welshman was lacking through the first 30 minutes of the game and he seemed to be on an island for long stretches. When the ball was played to him he was muscled off by the larger Nashville defenders. He barely missed getting his head on two very nice crosses from his wingers in Laing and Emmanuel Ledesma. The bright side is when he gets the perfect ball he is able to put a good shot on target which he showed with his goal.

 

Moment By Moment

6’ Kienan was down for a long time after colliding heads with a Nashville defender. He had a nice cut above his eye. He rejoined the match in the 14minute.

19’ After a giveaway in the midflied that could have been called a foul Nashville put in a good shot from from outside the box hit the crossbar. The rebound was cleared for a corner.

21’ Nashville’s Matt LaGrassa scored the first goal just outside the six-yard box to give Nashville the lead.

41’ Evan Newton with a good save on a close shot off corner. The sun in his eyes made things tougher but he handled it well.

44’ Newton with another good save in a one on one situation. After the ball bounced around a little bit after a corner in landed in front of Nashville’s Hume. The low and hard shot was parried away by Newton.

45’ Off the counter from the good save by Newton, Blake Smith carried the ball out of the area and passed to Laing who hit a beautiful curling volley into the far corner.

65’ Welshman collects a throw in inside the box lets the ball roll close to the goal line and slides the shot past the Nashville keeper. After the goal was counted the keeper pleaded to the referee that the ball had gone out of play but to no avail.

87’ A penalty was conceded by Cincinnati to Nashville after a bad tackle in the box. Win stepped up and buried the penalty into the corner to pull Nashville level.

88’ Nashville’s keeper made a great diving play to stop a Matt Bahner cross to a sitting Tomi Ameobi.

 

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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.

Attendance

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.

Recap

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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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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