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.
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.
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 save tipping a hard shot over the bar from Mensah in the 81’.
In additional time Matt Pickens is forced to make a nice diving save after a hard long shot from 30 yards out.
Bone broke the deadlock in the 95’ with a shot outside the box that found the far side of the net, getting past a diving Pickens. Good passing down the right hand side of the field Jimmy McLaughlin passed back to Walker who found Bone in space for the shot.
Bradley Bourgeois scored the equalizer in the 116’ after a ball was bouncing in the box and he hit a looping shot that just snuck in under the bar. Richey had no shot at saving that.
Right after the goal Richey came up big with a one-on-one save of a point blank shot on Brandon Allen.
- Doyle: Goal
- Allen: Goal
- Winn: Goal
- LaGrassa: Goal
- Tyrpak: Goal
- Davis: Miss
- Adi: Goal
- McLaughlin: Goal
- Smith: Goal
- Hoyte: Goal
- Lasso: Goal
- Walker: Goal