FC Cincinnati beat the New York Red Bulls II 4-2 tonight in front of a new USL record 30,417 in their regular season finale.
Goals from Austin Berry, Corben Bone, Harrison Delbridge, and Kenny Walker secured an important three points in their regular season home finale. Florian Valot had two goals for New York and a good performance for his team.
Cincinnati started off fast with a fifth minute goal from Berry off a corner. New York equalized in the 18’ off a corner with a goal from Valot. Bone scored in the 32’ with a pretty shot from outside the box.
The match was very wide open and closely contested until a five-minute stretch in the middle of the second half with Delbridge hitting the top corner in the 67’ and Walker converting a free kick in the 72’ to blow the match wide open. New York grabbed a goal in the 80’ with Valot’s second but it was too little to late.
Walker takes home the player of the match with two assists, on Berry and Delbridge’s goals, and a goal. He was instrumental in moving the ball and starting counters that led to chances for Cincinnati.
Six yellow cards were handed out to Cincinnati tonight by the referee. Including four in the first 26 minutes on five fouls at the time. Djiby was given a yellow card after accumulating two fouls, neither of which were worthy of a yellow.
Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch commented after the match, “Important, very meaningful three points tonight for our organization, for our team. We have nothing but respect for the Red Bulls organization. We have had some great battles with them this year, and last year.” He continued, “We scored some fantastic goals, fed off the energy of our fans.”
Tonight was the first win against New York in Cincinnati’s history. The very bad week when Cincinnati lost in extra time to MLS New York Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup and four days later lost 4-0 to the USL New York Red Bulls II team. Last year Cincinnati lost both matches with New York.
Koch praised Bone and Walker after the match saying, “They are both fantastic players and people too. I have nothing but respect for them as players and people too. It was nice to see both of them get rewarded with goals tonight.” He continued later saying, “You almost appreciate them more when they are not playing. Because sometimes you don’t see a lot of the dirty work they’re doing.”
Corben Bone talked about what this week has meant to him after having his first child born this week and a birthday, “It’s been crazy. It’s been really emotional. Credit to my family and Annie [his wife], and these guys in this locker room, this team. Everyone has picked me up, it has been so amazing to be apart of this thing. For me to end this kind of week on this high, I’m speechless to be honest.”
Tonight was not a must win for Cincinnati, but it felt like it with their recent away form. With their next four matches on the road the win tonight was instrumental in their chances to make the playoffs. In their last five away matches Cincinnati has four points (1-1-3) and they are (2-7-3) all season with 9 points. Compared to a (7-2-6) home record and now sitting in sixth place. Being four of points out of ninth place should guarantee a place in the playoffs.
Three of their next four matches are against teams that are outside of playoff position. Two of those three have chances to make the playoffs with St. Louis FC and Ottawa Fury FC being in 11 and 12 in the Eastern Conference. Toronto FC II is in last in the conference with no chance to make the playoffs. Their other opponent the Charlotte Independence is currently in second place and is three points off Louisville City FC in first.
Cincinnati broke two of their own USL attendance records tonight. The regular season attendance record of 25,308 set against Orlando City B on August 5 earlier this year. Also the single game attendance record set in last year’s playoff loss to the Charlotte Independence of 30,187.
Berry opened the scoring off a corner in the 5’, assisted by Kenny Walker. Ball was put near post and he arced it over the keeper and into the far side of the net.
Minutes later Bone puts a shot just over the crossbar off a counter, a very quick start for Cincinnati.
Berry and Djiby both received early yellow cards. Berry’s in the ninth minute for bringing down a New York attacker and the referee saw it as a counter but a very iffy card at that stage in the match. Djiby received his in the 14’ for accumulation of fouls after he had a few early. Could have been a final talking to from the referee but he opted for the booking.
New York equalized in the 18’ after a well-worked corner. Valot ran from the far post found open space around the penalty spot firing a volley, missing the three charging Cincinnati players. Hildebrandt didn’t see the ball until it was a few feet from him and couldn’t react in time. The corner came after a great diving save
The cards kept coming for Cincinnati after Andrew Wiedeman cleated a New York player shooting a volley in the 23’. In his defense he got the ball but the follow through clipped the charging New Yorker. Matt Bahner also picked one in the 26’ after arriving just late on a challenge.
Cincinnati regained the lead in the 32’ after a rifled shot from Bone into the top of the net from 23 yards out. A free kick was headed out right to Bone who chested the ball down and fired off the shot.
New York came close to scoring off a set piece from 33 yards out in the 51’. Valot found his way behind the Cincinnati defense unmarked but put the header just over. The match should have been tied, very lucky form Cincinnati.
A scary moment for Cincinnati in the 58’ when Paul Nicholson gave the ball away and a New York attacker was able to get a shot off in a one on one situation with Hildebrandt, a good save kept the lead intact.
Delbridge doubles the lead with a rocket into the top corner from just outside the box in the 67’. Delbridge collected a pass from Walker and beat the defender in front of him before burying the shot.
Five minutes later Walker stepped up for a free kick from 20 yards out and placed it perfectly over the wall and past the keeper to bring the lead to three. Delbridge drew the foul leading to the free kick.
New York pulled a goal back in the 80’ with a Valot shot going through the legs of Delbridge and past a diving Hildebrandt.
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.