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New York Ends Cincinnati’s USL Run

FC Cincinnati was knocked out of the USL Playoffs by the New York Red Bulls II 1-0. Armando Moreno was the lone goalscorer off a counter attack in the 12’. Cincinnati’s run in the USL has ended tonight with MLS looming on the horizon. After setting multiple attendance records including highest attendance at a match and the highest average over the course of a season. Winning the Regular Season title this year will be the only trophy they have, but the US Open Cup run last year to the Semi-finals against the New York Red Bulls will remain in fans minds for years to come. Coach Alan Koch commented after the match, “The game is about managing moments, of course. We have done a fantastic job this year this year of managing moments. But obviously we were on the wrong end of managing one individual moment tonight.” That moment being the only goal in the match, Moreno latched onto a clearance off a Cincinnati free kick and drove at three Cincinnati defenders who were unable to stop him from scoring from 25 yards out. Spencer Richey had no chance to stop the shot despite a fully stretched dive. It was a very chippy first half between Cincinnati and New York with both sides going at it. It all started with Fatai Alashe being kicked in the head by New York’s Christopher Lima. Alashe was down for a few minutes holding his head before playing on. On the resulting free kick Alashe and Lima came together again and Lima was left on the ground and words were exchanged between the teams. Right before halftime Forrest Lasso had his legs taken out from under him at the top of his box and there was no call or advantage after Cincinnati made the clearance. Cincinnati had a very lackluster first half creating very few chances and only having one shot, which was far off target. On their positive attacking moves they always ended up being just offside tallying up five in the half. The second half was much better for Cincinnati creating chance after chance but unable to find the back of the net. There were more than a handful of crosses that found no one in a scoring position. Adi was battling for position all half but only received one good ball in and was unable to put the ball in the back of the net due to a great save by the New York keeper. Late in the match New York had more than a handful of players cramp up in the later part of the half. Cincinnati players were yelling to have them stop wasting time, which a couple were. News and Notes Cincinnati without their third leading goalscorer again tonight, who was out due to dealing with a personal issue. He missed the game against Nashville SC last week as well New York played four players who are on their MLS roster but combined they had just one appearance this season. The attendance tonight was 16,617, the lowest of the three playoff matches in team history. This was also the lowest home attendance since April 19th 2017. Recap New York took the lead with a goal from Amando Moreno in the 12’. A Cincinnati free kick was cleared and Moreno latched onto it driving into his attacking third with three Cincinnati defenders in front of him. As his supporting help showed up he took a long shot and slotted the ball into the bottom corner past a diving Spencer Richey. Richey made two good saves in the 47’ and 49’. The first he was shielded by his own defenders and good positioning and a quick reaction with his arm. The second he made a nice diving save Adi almost pulled Cincinnati level in the 50’ with a shot inside the six-yard box but a spectacular kick save kept the ball out. Ledesma did a great job creating the chance. Corben Bone hit the crossbar in the 68’. After a corner was bouncing around the top of the box he ripped a hard shot that went off the top of the crossbar. Lasso had a great chance off a corner in the 85’ with an open header but the ball went wide. He was in disbelief after the ball went wide and held his head in his hands. In the final minute of stoppage time Lasso had a header on target but it was from too far out to be a real threat on goal. Final thoughts It was a great run in the USL but the MLS is on the horizon. That is the one of the few positives I can find after tonight’s match. This is a team that would usually find one or two moments of individual brilliance in tough matches like this to get a result. We saw it happen more than a handful of times over the course of the 24 game unbeaten streak. The usual suspects of Adi and Emmanuel Ledesma couldn’t find a way to put the ball in the back of the net. Adi was left on an island at points during the match and couldn’t get any help to take a defender away from him on crosses. Credit to Hassan Ndam who was tasked with marking him during the match, he did a fantastic job of being just physical enough to not pick up a foul. Ledesma couldn’t seem to get anything clicking all night. Many of his crosses were long and his free kicks have been off the last few games. He is taking shots from tough angles that he passed for assists earlier in the season. Lasso and Barrett both had good games tonight. Lasso was all over the defensive third blocking shots and making lunging tackles. Barrett played a very simple game and kept the pressure off his keeper. This has been an unforgettable season. Next year beings the real test of what Cincinnati has been building over…

Cincinnati Advances Past Nashville On Penalties

FC Cincinnati got their first USL Playoff win tonight over Nashville SC after playing 120 minutes to a 1-1 draw and winning 6-5 on penalties. Corben Bone was the lone Cincinnati goal scorer in the 95’ with an assist from Kenny Walker. Nashville’s Bradley Bourgeiois scored the equalizer in the 115’ off an assist from Kris Tyrpak. “I thought we deserved to win in 90 minutes, I thought we deserved to win in 120 minutes, and penalty kicks is a lottery.” Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch stated after the match. It was the night of Spencer Richey with five saves and a few of them being game savers. He had a nice tip over of a shot in the first half but it was in the second he shined. He made point blank reaction saves in the 48’ stopping a shot from inside the six-yard box and in the 117’ to keep the game level in a tough one-on-one situation. Without him this is a completely different game to start the second half or is over in the 117’ with Nashville scoring a quick double late. Cincinnati had a good first half in terms of possession, with 67%, but they were frustrated by Nashville sitting back and stopping and couldn’t get a shot on target. A few chances at the end of the half gave them some hope when striker Fanendo Adi put a shot wide and Emmanuel Ledesma put a half volley wide of the net. Getting their first shot on target in the 56’ with a long reaching effort from 27 yards out that was easily saved led to a handful of shots that put pressure on a stout Nashville backline. Cincinnati seemed to find a false sense of security after their run of shots until a scary moment in the 73’ when Nashville hit the underside of the bar with a shot from the top of the box. It was on from that point forward with both teams having chances late but Nashville with the best in the 81’ but another good save from Richey kept it scoreless. In extra time Cincinnati started very strong with a goal from Bone in the 95’. The final three originals set up the goal with Jimmy McLaughlin passing to Walker who found Bone in space for the goal. Coming out in the second half of extra time Cincinnati tried to ice the final 15 minutes of the match passing around and frustrating Nashville. But that all ended in the 114’ when Bourgeois corralled a pass just inside the box and hit a soft looping shot that just slid in under the bar. In the penalty shoot out it was all tied through five rounds when Nashville’s Justin Davis put his over the bar and a premature Cincinnati celebration could have derailed everything Cincinnati had done this far. Walker coolly walked up and sent the Nashville keeper the wrong way to allow the real celebration to begin. News and Notes Bone scored his 12th goal of the season tonight. Walker had his third assist. This win takes Cincinnati to 24 USL games unbeaten. Striker Danni Konig was absent from tonight’s match; he is back home in Denmark dealing with a personal issue. The club declined to comment further. Up Next Cincinnati will host Quarterfinal match this Saturday October 27th against the winner of the Charleston Battery and New York Red Bulls II. The time has not been announced yet. Final Thoughts Tonight was a frustrating game for the team, but they walked away advancing to the next round and at this stage that is all that matters. After having draws in all three of the regular season matches and even one in the preseason, this is not a surprise in the slightest. Ledesma didn’t have the best of nights tonight but there were points where Nashville was forcing other players to beat them instead of the USL Assists Champion with 16. Adi had a good game even though he wasn’t able to get on the score sheet. Nashville always had a defender around him and he still was able to make an impact creating the best Cincinnati chance in the first half with Ledesma just missing his half volley. I don’t know what is going on with Danni Konig but whatever it is has to be important and his impact on the locker room was evident after the match when Lasso was wearing his jersey while signing autographs. Moment By Moment Forrest Lasso and Ropapa Mensah clashed heads in the fifth minute and both needed medical treatment. Lasso took the worst of it and came away with a large bump on his head. A Nashville clearance hit Ledesma’s leg and went into open space in the box for Adi to chase down but keeper Matt Pickens charged out and got a hand on the ball to keep Adi from scoring an easy tap in in the 17’. In the 24’ Spencer Richey tips headed shot over the bar after Nashville won a few headers in the Cincinnati box after a free kick. Nashville’s height gave them a large advantage but a good reaction from Richey kept it scoreless. Fatai Alashe and Adi exchange head passes before Adi shows great strength to muscle upon his marker and flick a header to Ledesma whose half volley went just wide in the 42’. That would have been an incredible goal for Ledesma and one we would have seen on Sportscenter tonight. Richey had a point blank save in the 48’ after a cross was flicked into the path of Nashville midfielder Alan Winn inside the six-yard box. Richey with a second fantastic save to keep it scoreless. Nashville’s Mensah hit the crossbar in the 74’, shooting between two Cincinnati defenders who were backpedaling. Richey made a courtesy dive but had that ball been a few inches lower it would not have mattered because he had no chance at saving it. Richey with another incredible…

Germany can turn around their national team with these two changes

France has triumphed over Germany yet again. However, there were some positives to take from the game. Through the first half of the UEFA Nations League game, Germany controlled much of the pace and possession. Their newly utilized formation offered a much more solid defense against France’s quick counter attacks. This is because a 3-4-3 formation transitions into a 5-2-3 in defense, which allowed Germany to better thwart the counter attacks that have been troubling them in recent games. Early in the first half Germany was awarded a questionable handball penalty which allowed them to take a 1-0 lead when Toni Kroos converted. However, once the second half rolled around France’s Antoine Griezmann scored a miraculous header which opened up the game. After that, the French National Team was awarded a penalty that would have surely been reversed in VAR. Griezmann converted and France held on for their 2-1 lead. Germany can not blame the loss solely on the penalty award though as they attempted 11 shots and only managed to get three on goal. This continues a troubling trend of Germany. They lack composure in the final third. There is no clinical finisher on Germany’s roster and striker Timo Werner is not a target man. This means that all of Germany’s crosses into the box result in nothing except a turnover. In addition, on defense, they allowed too many shots with France shooting 14. Fortunately, they did do well in limiting extremely dangerous scoring opportunities like the ones the back line was exposed by in Amsterdam. Keep experimenting with formations Germany trying a 3-4-3 was a smart move by Jogi Low. He doesn’t change formation often, but he saw that his back line was a weakness and at least attempted to address it. Maybe Low would have gone with a different formation had some more choices been available for selection as Marco Reus and others were held out of this international break. Try a 4-3-1-2 A formation that could bring success for Germany is a 4-3-1-2. This formation allows for very effective link-up play and the two strikers create space for each other in the middle of the field. One of Germany’s main issues has been that they are unable to break through the middle of their opponent’s back line. The use of one of the strikers as a false 9 in the 4-3-1-2 means that it is much easier to separate the center backs and open up space between them. This allows for through balls to advancing midfielders through the back line and also opens up lanes for the more direct forward. This would perfectly suit Germany who has a perfect false 9 in Thomas Muller and a field-stretching striker in Timo Werner. The attacking midfielder position is the most important spot is in this formation. That is because much of the play channels through them, they will be able to take many shots from drop off passes or runs into space and will help to direct the play into dangerous areas. At this point, Marco Reus is Germany’s best goal scorer. Using him as the 10 ensures Germany of high danger chances every game. If Reus had to be played on the flank with Leroy Sane two other candidates for this position are young Kai Havertz or Leon Goretzka who were also injured during this international break. Either would provide a spark of creativity that is needed by Die Mannschaft. Adapt to today’s soccer Germany simply must adapt to soccer the way it is played now. They do not necessarily have to switch to a counter-attacking scheme, although that may not be a bad idea with all the young pacey players on the roster. However, Germany needs to use faster defenders if they are going to play the possession game. Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels are solid but slow. This means that they need support when matched up against fast forwards like most teams today employ. A switch towards younger and faster players like Thilo Kehrer and Antonio Rudiger could go a long way towards stopping the M’bappes of the world. Featured image by Sky Sports You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jacob. “From Our Haus to Yours”  

Soapbox: The Bundesliga is the best and most fair league in the world

You hear it from most pundits and fans; the Premier League is the best league in the world. I am here to refute that point, and show that the German Bundesliga is the actual best, and most fair, league in soccer (or football) today. The rise of youth players that play every week, along with the high level of competition show how the Bundesliga is much better league. Youth As an American, this point is easily found for me. American youth talent seems to be rampant in the Bundesliga. From the week-in, week-out players such as Christian Pulisic for Borussia Dortmund, Bobby Wood of Hannover 96, and Weston McKennie of Schalke 04, all the way to the up and coming talents, such as Joshua Sargent of Werder Bremen. These young Americans are getting time in a competitive league, on all levels. If you look at young talent from other nations as well, they are getting time. Take Jadon Sancho, the 18 year old England international playing for Borussia Dortmund this season. At 18, he has played six games in the Bundesliga, with a goal and five assists to his name. Many Premier League teams are neglecting their youth players, such as Chelsea. They have such a tight, expensive squad, it is impossible for youth to break through. That is why Chelsea has 38 players out on loan this season. Everyone Can Compete Take Hoffenheim. In the 2015/2016 season, Hoffenheim finished in 15th place, one above the relegation playoff. The following season, the finished fourth, in a Champions League spot. Last year they finished third, and currently this year they are back to 11th. This shows the rise and fall of just one team over the course of four seasons. An opposite example would be Schalke 04. They ended up placing second last year. However, they are second to last as of now this season. In the Premier League, the good teams are good, while the bad teams stay bad. Other than the miraculous runs of teams such as Leicester City in 2015/2016 season, only five teams have won the Premier League since its introduction. While Bayern Munich has won the league for the past six years, the competition for those Champions League spots has always been intense. The games themselves are also very exciting for neutrals. Just this past weekend, there were no 0-0 draws and only 1-0 game. From a neutral standpoint, the games are exciting, and there will always be goals to be scored. The level of competition is much higher in these games. In the Premier League, good teams stay good, mediocre teams stay mediocre, and bad teams stay bad. There are few instances where this changes, such as Everton, a typically mid-table level team, qualified for the Europa league in the 2017-2018 season, where they failed miserably. Overall, the level of play is much closer, and the competition is more interesting than the Premier League. While there has been one winner over the last six season, the fight across the board has been more interesting. Champions League spots that are up for grabs, and teams that can go from the bottom of the table, to top spots over the course of a season or two. Youth players also have more opportunities for playing time not only in the cup ties but the league games as well.   Need More? Follow me on Twitter @awheatondude I would love to hear your thoughts.  Featured Image Courtesy of the Bundesliga Follow The Game Haus for more sports and esports coverage. Twitter: TGH Esports Facebook: The Game Haus “From our Haus to Yours”

Premier League vs Europe, the best vs the rest

The fifth week of fixtures in the Premier League had fewer surprises than the first month of the season. Manchester United ended Watford’s perfect season in a contest that was closer than the 2-1 final tally, as the Hornets scored with 25 minutes to go and only heroics from the league’s best keeper, David DeGea kept them from leveling late. Wolves continued to impress, dispatching an out of sorts Burnley team 1-0 in a tilt that was in no way as close as all that. Wolverhampton dominated possession and their seven out of thirty shots considered “on target” equaled the Clarets attempted shots. And the West Ham United Hammers banked their first points of the season as Andriy Yarmolenko took advantage of his first Premier League start to ripple the net twice in a 3-1 upset of a shocked Everton squad.  Champions League Kickoff The rest of the list, while fun to watch had little-unexpected impact on the table, so this week I thought I would turn our attention to the rest of Europe. With the UEFA Champions League kicking off today (Tuesday, September 18th for you time travelers,) I thought it would be useful to do a quick primer on the leagues that will supply opponents for Liverpool, Man City, Man U and Tottenham in the worlds biggest club football competition. Ligue 1 (France) The game I’ll be watching this afternoon (on TNT) will feature Liverpool versus Paris St. Germain, winners of five out of the last six Ligue 1 titles. PSG can boast a front line to rival the Reds electric threesome, Edinson Cavani flanked by the French National Team’s breakout star Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. American super prospect Timothy Weah may get some time off the bench. AS Monaco were the only team to spoil PSG’s recent dominance with a stunning 2016/17 season that probably spurred PSG ownership to back a dump truck full of  Euro’s to Neymar’s house. Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseilles round out the top four, with a pretty serious 19 point drop separating them from the mid-table. The league is definitely top heavy, with a history that features long championship dynasties. You can catch Ligue 1 action on beIN sports if you spring for the right cable or streaming package. La Liga (Spain) Spanish football orbits around the countries two major cities. Real Madrid, who have won the last three Champions League titles, and Barcelona have been trading the league title back and forth for most of the league’s history, with only Valencia in 2001 and 2003, and Athletico Madrid  in 2013 spoiling the big two’s monopoly on trophies. There may be some shuffling of that pack though. The Los Blanco’s of Madrid bade adios to GOAT candidate Cristiano Ronaldo, who took his services to Juventus over the summer. While still stocked to the gills with superstars like Gareth Bale, Tony Kroos and Marco Acensio, they stumbled in the new season by failing to defend the UEFA Super Cup title from rivals Athletico. With their own batch of superstars, including a front two who flashed a ton of talent in the World Cup in veteran Diego Costa and wunderkind Antoine Griezman, Athetico are making noise about it being their turn. FC Barcelona will stand in their way, led by Lionel Messi they already have a 14-3 goal differential on the young season. beIN Sports is also your location to catch La Liga matches. Serie A (Italy) Serie A is dominated by La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady,) Juventus. The team from Turin haven’t finished out of first place since 2011. Juventus added Ronaldo to an already potent attack featuring Douglas Costa and a dominant midfield of Sami Khedira, Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic. And there are whispers that there might be a swapping of Pauls in the works, as a disaffected Pogba may seek a return to Italy, with Manchester United receiving talented Argentinian attacker Paul Dybala, who is finding playing time scarce despite his abilities. Despite Juventus’ domination of first place, Serie A isn’t as top heavy as some other leagues. Roma made it to last years Champions League semifinals, and talented teams from Napoli, the two Milan squads Internazional and AC Milan, and even Atalanta make the fight for Champions League and Europa League spots interesting. Serie A is available with an ESPN+ subscription, which at $4.99 a month is the best deal going for a soccer fan. They feature live games and replays of Italian Serie A and US Major League soccer, plus English Championship, NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer, and even the occasional Dutch Eredivise games. Bundesliga (Germany) I will always have a soft spot for the Bundesliga. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, back when soccer on TV was almost non-existent, our only window into the world game was the PBS program Soccer Made in Germany, which brought an hour of German soccer highlights into our living room once a week. Once again, the German league has been dominated by one superteam over the last decade. Bayern Munich has won the last six titles and seven of the last ten. Led by Polish striker Robert Lewandowski and ageless winger Arjen Robben, the Bavarians are consistently one of the top clubs in Europe. The Bundesliga has been a popular place for American international, with  FC Schalke’s Weston Mckinnie and Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic on display in this years Champions League. Fox Sports is the home of the Bundesliga in the US, featuring games opposite NBC’s Premier League weekends. The Premier League has Parity Compared to the rest of the world, the Premier Leagues rotation of its top six teams through the first place slot looks like the wild west. Manchester United was the last team to repeat as champions, winning three in a row from 2006 to 2009. Since the turn of the century, five different teams have hoisted the Barclay’s trophy, including the ultimate Cinderella story Leicester in 2015-16. It will be interesting to see whether Man City can end that era of parity if they continue to dominate the way they did last year….

FC Cincinnati Comes Back To Beat Toronto FC II

FC Cincinnati beat Toronto FC II coming back from a goal down in the last 12 minutes. Corben Bone had a brace late to seal the victory. The win tonight extends the unbeaten streak to 18 matches. Forest Lasso had the first goal for Cincinnati in the 31’ with a header. Fanendo Adi scored in the second minute of first half stoppage time. Bone scored his two in the 79’ and 88’. Toronto’s Tsubasa Endoh had a hat-trick scoring all three for Toronto. He had the first strike in the 24’ second in the 45+4, and his third in the 73’. Emmanuel Ledesma had three assists tonight and set the USL Single Season assist record with 15. The previous mark was 12 set by Matt Dallman in 2013 when he played for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch commented on the match, “I might be getting old and grumpy I guess, I’m not happy. Wasn’t happy with our performance, wasn’t happy how we managed the game collectively and individually. We made some horrendous decisions in the game.” All three of the goals from Endoh were shot from outside the box and curled into corners. His first two goals not one Cincinnati defender was within three yards of him. On his third goal there were two defenders closing him down and a fantastic strike found the back of the net. The first half Cincinnati had a definite game plan of hitting long balls over the Toronto back line and letting their top attacking players in Ledesma and Adi go get the ball but that was derailed when both players were offside multiple times. After switching to playing through the midfield they were able to manufacture their two goals. In the second half Cincinnati had the majority of possession again and were on the front foot for most of the half. The offense was clicking but it took until the 78’ for the breakthrough goal. News and Notes Endoh has played 25 matches for Toronto at the MLS level, 21 in 2016 and four in 2017. He was signed to a USL contract on August 2nd and he has scored eight goals in eight matches. Adi made his first start at Nippert Stadium tonight and played 75 minutes before being subbed off for Danni Konig. Michael Lahoud played 70 minutes after coming off international duty with Sierra Leone. Pa Konate was also on international duty with Guinea but he was not in the 18 tonight. Bone’s two goals tonight brought his season total to eight. Lasso scored his third goal of the season, all off set pieces. McLaughlin tallied his second assist of the season. Tonight’s attendance was 27,275. Moments of the Match Emmanuel Ledesma stretched out and got a touch on a Corben Bone cross but not enough to get it across the line. A Toronto defender cleared the ball off the line as it was slowly rolling in the 18 minute. Tsubasa Endoh gave Toronto the lead in the 24’ with a beautiful shot from 26 yards out hitting the top corner. Spencer Richey stretched out as far as he could but the ball was a little too far away. Forest Lasso equalized in the 30’ with a thumping header off a free kick from Ledesma. A free kick from 30 yards out to the left of goal, Lasso was one of three Cincinnati players that got behind the line who had a chance to convert. Adi gave Cincinnati the lead in the second minute of stoppage time. Adi chested down long pass from Ledesma, flicked it over toward goal, headed the bouncing ball down to his feet and slid the ball into the corner. A beautiful goal from the future MLS designated player. Endoh equalized two minutes later in the position off the kickoff. Toronto possessed the ball well and Endoh found space to the left of goal feigned a shot getting Kenny Walker to jump past before cutting back and curling a shot from 20 yards out inside the near post. Adi was close to a brace in the 47’ with a point blank header but a good reaction save and a strong hand from the keeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell kept the shot out of the net. Endoh got his third goal in the 73’ with a curling shot that again was just inside the post. He was being closed down by two Cincinnati defenders but was able to get the shot past them and put it in past a diving Richey. Corben Bone equalized in the 79’ chipping the ball past the keeper. A few quick passes between Bone and McLaughlin allowed Bone to collect a pass behind the defense and chip the ball past the keeper. Bone notched his brace and the go ahead goal in the 88’. A perfect cross from Ledesma from the left wing bounced once in front of goal and Bone met it in stride heading it in. Up Next Cincinnati travels to Pennsylvania to take on Penn FC this Saturday September 22nd at 7:00pm. Penn is on the outside looking in at the playoffs in the Eastern conference currently sitting in 11th place and six points out of eighth. In the only match between them this season Emmanuel Ledesma scored the lone goal in the 80’ to give Cincinnati the victory. Final Thoughts Cincinnati walked away with three points but this was not a good performance. The ability to stay onside was a huge issue tonight with Cincinnati being off seven times, Adi was off four of those and only once was it in the run of play. Koch mentioned “handling the the moments” in his post-game press conference and he was referring to the final few minutes of the match after getting the lead. Cincinnati was winning free kicks and putting the ball into the box instead of passing it short keeping possession Jimmy McLaughlin had a fantastic match tonight. After coming on in the 62′ he changed the…

FC Cincinnati and Louisville City FC Match Postponed

FC Cincinnati and Louisville City FC match tonight has been postponed to a later date. The match will restart at 37:43 with Cincinnati leading 1-0 after Corben Bone put a volley off the post and in. After playing 38 minutes in a downpour that kept getting harder a lightning delay was called by the referee. When the delay was called there was a puddle in the middle of the field and it stopped the ball dead in its tracks a couple minutes before the delay was called. Well after the match was called some of the Louisville operations staff were kicking a ball at it was getting stuck after a few yards on the turf or stopping dead in its tracks in the air due to the amount of water. Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch commented, “I will congratulate the officials and I’ll congratulate the operations staff for making a smart decision. It was weather based or surface based it’s in a terrible [condition].” Earlier he said, “This is obviously one of the poorest playing surfaces in professional soccer anywhere in the world. That’s obviously not a positive for us or for Louisville anyways. But having to come play when the weather was as bad as it is you could see how dangerous is on that field, it’s a huge challenge for us and for Louisville.” The field was dangerous from the first kick after it rained all day in Louisville. In the seventh minute Corben Bone was on the infield of the baseball field and he slipped and fell without being touched. Other players were slipping or running carefully whenever they were on the insert over the infield. In the 38 minutes of play we had tonight Louisville was on the front foot and had the majority of chances. Spencer Richey made a few very nice saves in keeping his net empty. Louisville had 60% possession and had seven shots with four on target verses Cincinnati’s three shots and one on target, with that being the goal from Bone. Corben Bone gave Cincinnati the lead in the 23’ with a nice volley off the post. After 12 passes off a throw in Emmanuel Ledesma put in a looping cross from the right side of the box to Bone 10 yards out. Bone’s goal was his sixth of the season while Ledesma tallied his 11th assist on the season. Up Next Next Sunday at 4:30 pm Cincinnati hosts Toronto FC II. Toronto is currently in last place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points (3-20-3). Their first match-up this season resulted in a 3-3 draw where Cincinnati blew a 3-1 halftime lead. This will be their final match due to Cincinnati moving to the MLS next year. There is not currently a reschedule date for the match played tonight.  

Cincinnati clinches playoffs and unbeaten streak moves to 16

FC Cincinnati extended their unbeaten streak to 16 after a 2-1 comeback win over Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. The win clinched a playoff spot with seven matches to play confirming that every season Cincinnati was in the USL they made the playoffs. Pittsburgh took the lead in the 57’ with a goal from Romeo Parks. Dekel Keinan equalized in the 80’ for Cincinnati and Fanendo Adi scored the game winner in the 88’. Adi’s goal was his first since joining Cincinnati to a lot of fanfare as their first Designated Player signing in anticipation to their move to MLS next season. Pittsburgh outplayed Cincinnati over long stretches tonight and created more than a handful of very good chances on the counter. If Spencer Richey doesn’t make three huge saves this match could have turned into a rout for Pittsburgh. In the first half Cincinnati held the lion share of possession with 67% but only managed three shots with one on target. Their best chance, a shot from Emmanuel Ledesma, was cleared off the line by a defender. Pittsburgh executed a perfect gameplan of packing it in and exploding on the counter where they created come very good chances. The second half started with a penalty miss from Pittsburgh’s Kay Banjo firing the shot way over the bar after Forest Lasso brought him down in the box. Pittsburgh predictably sat back after their goal and forced Cincinnati to make something happen. The offense was stagnant until Adi was brought on in the 75′ he created a chance for Ledesma within the first minute he was on the field with a chest pass. A minute later he put a header into the side netting after a great cross from Jimmy McLaughlin. Keinan’s goal was set up by a foul on Ledesma outside the box and Ledesma put a nice ball in for Keinan to head into the back of the net. Adi added the winner late after a long ball from Kenny Walker. Recap Pittsburgh had the first chance of the evening on a counter after a bad pass from Forest Lasso in the 12’ minute. Ledesma collected a ball over the top of the defense and beat two defenders and chipped the goalkeeper but the ball was cleared off the line by a Pittsburgh defender in the 27’. Kenny Walker played the pass over the top of the defense. Richey kept the match scoreless after a great save from a tough angle in the 30’. Pittsburgh countered well again and got the ball into the box where Walker made a challenge from behind and got a piece of the ball. There were penalty shouts but the referee let play go on. Seconds later a very good shot from a tough angle was parried over the bar by Richey’s outstretched hand. Richey made another incredible save, this time with his leg in the 35’. A good turn and a hard shot from Kay Banjo originally sent Richey the wrong way but a last ditch leg kick sent the ball away from goal. Pittsburgh’s Banjo skied a penalty over the bar in the 49’. Forest Lasso brought down Banjo after a couple very nice dribbles; a penalty was the right call. The stalemate was broken in the 57’ with a goal from Romeo Parks giving Pittsburgh the lead. Three quick passes from Pittsburgh opened up space in the box that Parks filled and hit a first time shot into the back of the net. Adi put an unmarked header into the side netting in the 76’. Jimmy McLaughlin put in a fantastic cross but the header was just wide. Dekel Keinan equalized in the 80’ with a header from a free kick. Emmanuel Ledesma put in the free kick over the top of the defense and Keinan beat his man to the ball. Richey made another very good save in the 82’ after a counter attack with Pittsburgh’s leading goal scorer Neco Brett put a good shot on frame. Adi gave Cincinnati the lead in the 88’ with a great individual effort. After collecting a long ball from Kenny Walker he fought off two defenders at the top of the box and put a shot into the bottom corner. News and Notes Emmanuel Ledesma tallied his 11th assist of the season taking the lead as the USL assist leader. He was previously in a three-way tie for first with Kyle Bekker of North Carolina FC and Jared Stroud of New York Red Bulls II. Dekel Keinan scored his second goal of the season in the 80’. Kenny Walker earned his second assist of the season on the Adi goal in the 88′. Forest Lasso earned his seventh yellow card of the season. He is one yellow card away from a one game suspension. Fanendo Adi picked up his first yellow card in the 88’, seconds before his goal. The attendance tonight was 25,735. The season average is 25,230. Up Next Cincinnati travels down to take on local rival Louisville City FC. Louisville has won both of the matches between the two, including providing the last loss for Cincinnati on May 26th. Louisville has a new head coach in John Hackworth after James O’Connor left for Orlando City SC in the MLS. Sitting in 2nd place in the Eastern conference after a draw with the third place Charleston Battery on Friday night. Final Thoughts Tonight was a big moment for Cincinnati in multiple areas: first clinching the playoffs, second getting a come from behind win against a top three team in the conference, and Adi getting his first goal for the club. Clinching the playoffs is just step number one to ultimate goal of winning the USL Cup but it makes it so they are in the picture. This is a team that has trailed for a total of 95 minutes during the first 15 games of the unbeaten streak. After trailing for 23 minutes tonight it shows the resolve of a team to grind…

Premier League 2018-19: Top 4 and Bottom Three

Are you ready for some Association Football? After one of the most thrilling World Cups in recent memory, I certainly am. The best teams in English soccer kicked off last Friday with Manchester United besting Leicester City by a solid but unspectacular 2-1 margin. Much like the first week of NFL games, the opening of the Premier League campaign should be celebrated by jumping to conclusions and the making of rash predictions. Who am I to buck tradition? The Top Four Besides chasing after the fancy Barclays trophy for finishing first, the top four in the Premier League qualify for the UEFA Champions League tournament. Facing off against the best teams in Europe is a profitable privilege, Just ask Chelsea, who fell on their face in a 0-3 debacle against Newcastle to close last season in 5th. Liverpool: Let’s start our rash predictions right at the top. The Reds spent a bundle over the transfer window adding talented midfielders like Fabinho, Naby Keita, and Switzerland’s World Cup hero Xherdan Shaqiri. Adding Allison in front of net plugs one of the biggest holes in their defense. The electric front line of Mane, Firmino and Mo Salah returns intact to terrorize keepers around the league. This might finally be the year for Jurgen Klopp to push his men across the finish line. Unless these guys have a say… Manchester City: Last years champions weren’t as splashy with their spending as the Reds, but Pep Guardiola’s squad will welcome Ryad Mahrez to their attacking midfield, joining Kevin DeBruyne and Leroy Sane. Kun Aguero will compete for the Golden Boot as usual. Captain Vincent Kompany, will lead a defense that has to play perfectly considering it’s often just the 4 four of them covering the break with all those midfielders attacking. And that’s the crux of the season. Last year City played practically the perfect season. Repeating that kind of performance is simply unlikely. Some regression to the mean is inevitable. Plus they may be distracted by that shiny Champions League trophy they are also chasing. Tottenham Hotspur: The Spurs became the first team in PL history to make not a single signing in the summer transfer window. Instead, they focused on extending their talented young core and not disrupting the chemistry they have been building. Harry Kane, the top scorer in the World Cup just turned 25, Christian Eriksen is just 26, and Dele Alli is twenty freaking two. The Spurs played well in the last Champions League and may be willing to settle for a good run there, competing for the domestic cups and continuing to solidify a solid team with an eye for long-term success. It’s not fancy, but it’s a plan. And if either of the top two teams implodes, they might be able to use the savings to make a big splash with a midseason signing in January. Manchester United: This pick pains me because I don’t really think they deserve the spot. Jose Mourinho spent the summer feuding with his ownership, demanding an upgrade at center back, which shouldn’t fill the current defenders, Victor Lindelof and the talented Eric Bailly with much confidence. World Cup winner Paul Pogba is the new captain and is trying to put on a brave face, but you can’t seem to avoid “Pogba is unhappy” stories in the press. The team has too much talent to fall completely out of contention. Heck, they had 80 points last year to place second. But chemistry is important in the top tier and if they don’t get all these egos to gel into a team they may leave an opening for the rest of the league. The Rest of the League: Ok, in reality, the rest of the league aren’t even chasing one of these spots. Two years removed from their 1st place 16/17 season Chelsea are scrambling after firing their manager Antonio Conte. They added some good players, Jorginho came over from Napoli and Mateo Kovacic on loan from Real Madrid, but it is unknown how the Blues will react to new manager Maurizzo Sarri. Arsenal is also working with a new man up top, as the legendary Arsene Wenger retired in the offseason. Other teams that might flirt with the top four could be Leicester City or Everton. The Bottom Three At the bottom of the table, which teams will end their season with the heartache of relegation? Cardiff City: Of the three teams promoted from the Championship after last season, the plucky Welshmen of Cardiff are the best candidates to go right back down. The Bluebirds simply don’t have Premier League talent and play a very backwards long ball style that won’t crack modern defenses. Huddersfield Town: The Terriers dramatically staved off relegation in the last game in 17/18. They will need a lot of luck to repeat that feat. I’ll be rooting for them, but simply don’t see a way for a team with no scoring threat to compete with the big boys. Watford:  Their best player, Richarlson, is scoring goals for Everton now,  and they have a moose on their logo but their nickname is the Hornets. Makes no sense, off you go! So there are my bold predictions. There will be other stories to follow over the season. Can Wolves and Fulham surprise in their return to the top flight? How will plucky Burnley react to the experience on the continent in their first ever Europa League tourney? I’ll be tuning in each weekend to find out and report back! You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Lou “From our Haus to Yours”

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