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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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