FC Cincinnati lost to rival Louisville City FC 1-0 in front of a USL home-opening game record crowd of 25,667 on a cold night in Cincinnati. The lone goal scored by Cameron Lancaster in the 13’.
Cincinnati had a few good chances but nothing ultimately came of them. Corben Bone had a shot cleared off the line in the 25’ and Lance Laing had a long shot sent away by the keeper a few minutes later.
Emery Welshman had the best chance in the second half when he got on a loose ball and sent the shot several feet over the bar. Late in the match, two headers were sent over the bar from good positions.
Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch stated after the game, “ Disappointed to lose the derby. I don’t think anybody, anywhere in this business has been happy to not win a derby when you get to represent your team, your fans, and your city.”
Winger Lance Laing was distraught in the postgame press conference. As Koch was talking he was shaking his head in his hands. He commented, “ I feel like I lost a cup final. It’s my first home game, I just wasn’t expecting this. I had high hopes.” Later saying, “We weren’t great tonight and that’s it.”
Louisville played a very good game by packing it in defensively and cutting down the space Cincinnati had to work in. This was very evident in the later stages of the second half as Cincinnati was trying to find an equalizer. Two Louisville defenders to one Cincinnati attacker were on the end of every cross.
Cincinnati possessed the ball for the majority of the first 10 minutes of the match but the best chance was for Louisville. A diving save from Evan Newton kept the scoreline level in the 10’.
Louisville took the lead minutes later after poor defending allowed Lancaster to put a loose ball into the back of the net. A pass from the right was allowed into the center of the box where three Cincinnati defenders watched the ball land at Lancaster’s feet.
Cincinnati had a chance to equalize in the 25’ after a shot from Corben Bone was cleared off the line. Ledesma did a great job setting up the chance after beating his defender and running 30 yards into space before passing to Bone at the top of the box.
Cincinnati took control around the 30’ mark, possessing a lot of the ball and putting a few shots in the area. Laing had a long shot from 25 yards out but it was comfortably knocked away for a corner.
Early in the second half, Louisville’s Lancaster picked up a yellow card after going down in the box. It was either for diving or dissent after he didn’t get the penalty call.
Cincinnati had a great chance in the 54’ when a loose ball in the box made its way to Ledesma who rocketed the ball over the net from 10 yards out. It was a chance he would have liked to have back.
Chances were very hard to come by for Cincinnati for the last 30 minutes. Louisville did a very good of packing it in and not allowing space for Cincinnati to move the ball comfortably.
After the 80’ Cincinnati had two headers go just over the bar, one from Konig and another from Keinan. A loose ball in the six-yard box at the end of stoppage time was cleared by the Louisville defense as the last chance for Cincinnati.
Cincinnati travels to Pennsylvania to play the Bethlehem Steel next Saturday 4/15 at 7:00 P.M. Bethlehem is currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with three points (1-2-0).
The next home game is in two weeks on 4/21 at 7:00 P.M. when the Pittsburgh Riverhounds come to Nippert Stadium. Pittsburgh is currently in 8th place in the East with five points (1-0-2).
This was not a great game for Cincinnati, but also not the end of the world. In the short term, a loss to your biggest rival always hurts and right now many fans will be upset. Big picture, two wins out of the first three games with only three regular starters returning is huge. Those starters are Bone, Justin Hoyte and Kenny Walker who started the first two matches. Once this team gets a little better cohesion things will come together in a big way.
One thing Cincinnati needs to work on is providing support for the striker up top and not leaving him on an island. Welshman was fed a lot of crosses but was going up against two Louisville defenders every time because he was the only Cincinnati player in the box. Danni Konig was brought on in the second half but he wasn’t able to provide much relief for Welshman due to Louisville packing the box.
This is a loss against the defending USL champions who returned 17 players. There is good reason they are projected to finish at the top of the league again.