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Soccer Sports

Cincinnati Struggles To Draw With Charlotte

FC Cincinnati hosted the Charlotte Independence in a 1-1 draw in Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium in front of 21,115 fans. Charlotte’s Alex Martinez scored early and right before halftime Justin Hoyte drew level. Cincinnati was unable to capitalize on Enzo Martinez’s second yellow.

Both goals were fantastic with Alex Martinez gathering a great pass and firing the ball over the top of keeper Mitch Hildebrandt from a tight angle. Hoyte had one almost as pretty where he chested a ball down to Jimmy McLaughlin who played a pass back that was intercepted by a defender but poorly cleared. Hoyte one timed a curler into the bottom corner.

“Feels like a loss,” Is how Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch started his postgame press conference. “Off the success we have had at home we play here and expect to win.” He further critiqued his team saying, “Individual little mistakes prevented us from really getting on top of the game tonight.”

Cincinnati started slow early again giving up some early chances where the defense seemed to not want to close down Charlotte players with the ball, particularly Enzo Martinez. Luckily nothing came of them due to two being right at Mitch Hildebrandt and an acrobatic save on another.

The goal from Alex Martinez was just one more chance after a long period of domination by Charlotte, including the chances mentioned above. It was the result of Enzo Martinez once again cutting though the Cincinnati defense and making a good pass to Jorge Herrera, who quickly passed it to Alex Martinez for the goal.

Later in the first half Cincinnati was able to to put pressure on and create chances with two good shots from Danni Konig and Kenny Walker. A defender blocked Konig’s off the line, while Walker’s was just over after an intercepted pass.

Hoyte leveling the game just before half gave Cincinnati the goal and momentum they needed going into the break. McLaughlin was not rewarded an assist due to the pass first being intercepted.

The second half was not the open affair with both defenses being able to pack it in and chances dwindled. Cincinnati had more possession in the second half but quality chances were few and far between. Charlotte had a corner just go over the bar as their best chance. McLaughlin had Cincinnati’s best chance in stoppage time when his shot from inside the box was blocked by Luke Waechter, who was injured blocking the shot.

Enzo Martinez’s red card didn’t have much of an impact due because it was so late and a Cincinnati player was unable to get on the end of a good free kick from Aodhan Quinn.

News and Notes

The result tonight gives Cincinnati 16 points (4-5-4) on the season and puts them in the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

In the post game press conference Coach Koch, Hoyte, and Harrison Delbridge all looked disappointed after the result and all commented how they wanted to come away with a win and three points.

Delbridge commented on the noise level tonight saying, “People don’t realize I’m trying to talk to (Quinn) in front of me, sometimes he doesn’t hear me because the crowd is so loud.”

Justin Hoyte scored his first goal for FC Cincinnati and his first since 2012 when he played for Middlesbrough FC. This was his second appearance since coming back from his pulled hamstring and his third total.

Josu made his home debut tonight coming on in the 64 minute. His second for the club after his debut last weekend.

Former Cincinnati forward Casey Townsend made his first appearance against his former club registering one shot.

Moment By Moment


10’ Charlotte intercepted a pass in the midfield and was able to make a break toward goal and Alex Martinez had the field open up in front of him and fired a shot but it was pushed wide by the diving keeper, Mitch Hildebrandt.

17’ The first yellow card of the game went to Charlotte’s Enzo Martinez for throwing the ball on the ground after being called for a foul by the referee.

18’ Charlotte’s Alex Martinez scored the first goal of the match firing the ball into the roof of the net from. He received a pass inside the box from Jorge Herrera and was able to dribble a couple times before firing up and over Hildebrandt.

27’ Danni Konig had a shot from inside the box saved off the line by a Charlotte defender. Dacres received the ball on the right and was able to get around his defender and pass to Konig whose shot was saved by a Charlotte defender. Jimmy McLaughlin was behind him unmarked and if the ball had gone though it would have been a good chance on goal.

31’ Charlotte’ David Estrada hit the post on a shot after a good pass up and Cincinnati’s backline again letting Charlotte walk through again.

36’ Kenny Walker of Cincinnati had a Charlotte clearance go directly to him outside the box and he fired a shot just missing the top corner.

43’ Walker receives a yellow after a kicking a Charlotte midfielder while he was on the ground in a dirty tackle.

45’ Justin Hoyte scored his first goal for Cincinnati with a curler just before the half to level the score. He chested down a pass to Corben Bone on the left side of the box who played a leading pass back to Hoyte before a nice curler was sent into the bottom corner of the net.

55’ Austin Waechter picked up a yellow for taking down Konig. The resulting free kick was close to the corner flag and the ball was almost headed in by Waechter but was a saved by his keeper, Cody Mizell, kept it out.

75’ Free kick from Cincinnati is headed just wide by Harrison Delbridge. Delbridge’s header was likely meant to be sent across to Djiby Fall but was over his head.

90’ A second yellow card was issued to Enzo Martinez after he cut down Djiby in the midfield. The resulting free kick was headed on by Delbridge but was easily corralled by the keeper.

90′ +2 McLaughlin fires a shot that is blocked by the Charlotte defense. The deflection soars into the air and is allowed to bounce out for a goal kick. It looked like the ball was not touched after the deflection but the call stood as a goal kick instead of a corner.

Up Next

Cincinnati hosts the Columbus Crew in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round this Wednesday June 14 at 7:00 pm. In what is being called the “Hell is Real” derby by supporters of both clubs this is looking to be a fiery affair with Cincinnati trying to prove that they are ready for the MLS both on and off the field and Columbus trying to stamp out their new neighbors to the South.

Cincinnati’s next USL match will be this Saturday at 7:00 pm at Nippert Stadium. Charleston is currently the top team in the Eastern Conference with 27 points (8-2-3). In the first meeting of the season Charleston won 2-1 in the season opener.

Final Thoughts

This was a disappointing draw for Cincinnati and they are running out of time to get results having played two or three more matches then the teams around them in the standings. It is more likely they fall out of playoff positions than move up the table.

It was a poor first 20 minutes for Cincinnati where they never closed down Charlotte’s leading scorer Enzo Martinez letting him get off two shots, with one forcing a spectacular diving save from Mitch Hildebrandt. The shot from David Estrada that hit the woodwork was another example of bad defense after he was allowed to drive in. The early struggles need to be fixed by Coach Koch.

Cincinnati put pressure on around the 35 minute per usual and dominated the final 10 minutes of the first half. This has always been their best part of the game and they need to figure out how to expand the time frame where they can create chances.

A win against Columbus this Wednesday could go a long way to win a little goodwill after the frustrating start to the season. But I recognize that is unlikely.

But hey at least the fans got to see fireworks after the game.

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