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Cincinnati Advances Past Chicago On Penalties

FC Cincinnati beat the Chicago Fire 3-1 in a penalty shootout after playing 120 scoreless minutes in the Round of 16 of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Mitch Hildebrandt was the player of the match making 10 saves during the match and saving three of the four penalties. An electric 32,287 showed up to set Cincinnati record for a competitive match and the second highest attendance in the US Open Cup.

Hildebrandt reacted to many incredible shots over the course of the night. He made unbelievable saves throughout the match. He was also the beneficiary of a great performance from his backline, particularly Harrison Delbridge who made more than his fair share of tackles, winning six.

Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch commented on the match, “We managed a lot of moments, we grew as the game went along we got ourselves into it creating opportunities. I thought we could have gotten something in extra time, [referring to the Wiedeman no goal] unfortunately we didn’t.”

The Chicago players were visibly upset after the penalties. Their Head Coach Veljko Paunović commented after the match, “We now have to adjust our goals, we wanted to win this competition it is important for our club to get trophies and get trophies for our club.” He later commended Cincinnati saying, “Once again congratulations to FC Cincinnait, best of luck, win it.”

Cincinnati started out pressuring for the first few minutes charging the ball down after every pass but were able to possess little of the ball. Unable to keep that sort of pressure up they fell back and parked the bus and looking more like a back five at points with Josu and Bahner joining the back line.

Chicago had two chances just miss with shots from Brandon Vincent and Matt Polster both going wide. The back line of Cincinnati was incredible; making more than a handful of inch perfect tackles in the box to either block a shot or take the ball away at the last second. Cincinnati started pushing back late in the first half getting the only shot on target by way of Danni Konig. Each of the shots before Konig’s was from 30 or more yards out and off target never worrying the Chicago keeper.

The second half was much more of an even affair with Cincinnati able to possess the ball more and put their footprint onto the match. Bringing on Corben Bone and Jimmy McLaughlin shored up the defense and brought the pacey McLaughlin on the left hand side.

McLaughlin then got to work running up and down the field with fresh legs giving Cincinnati a target on every counter. He was sent into open field due to passes from Austin Berry and Kadeem Dacres both leading to shots on target with good saves from Chicago keeper Matthew Lampson.

A penalty shout in the second half was waved off by the referee. The ball looked to have gone off the hand of a Chicago defender in the box.

Bone had two chances right in injury time that could have ended the match with one shot being saved and another just missing the top corner. But, to extra time we went.

Extra time was a flurry of activity with both teams going for the win. Andrew Wiedeman scored a goal that was ruled out due to him being ruled offside, which replays showed he was onside. After the fans and the players settled down Chicago put a few shots on target prompting Hildebrandt to make a few more fantastic saves. McLaughlin had a chance to seal the match late but is shot was knocked away by the foot of Lampard.

In penalties Cincinnati sent up Aodhan Quinn who fired his first over the bar before Josu, Delbridge, and McLaughlin all sank theirs. Hildebrandt saved three of the four penalties he faced with World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger the only one to score.

News and Notes

Cincinnati has advanced to play against Miami FC (NASL) on July 12 in the US Open Cup Quarterfianals. Miami advanced after beating Atlanta FC (MLS) 3-2 tonight.

After the match Coach Koch praised the fans saying, “There is a lot of passion in our sport across the world, that was pretty unique tonight,” continuing, “The energy tonight was fantastic.” Mitch Hildebrandt echoed his coach’s sentiments saying, “This city is unbelievable.”

Koch also said they have practiced penalties and the takers were due to the stats that have been compiled from the practices.

Cincinnati’s leading scorer Djiby Fall did not play tonight due to a sprained ankle suffered in the St. Louis FC match over the weekend.

Corben Bone and Austin Berry both started their careers with Chicago and both played tonight.

Cincinnati won tonight with 30% possession to Chicago’s 70%. They also were barely outshot 26 to 20 by Chicago.

Moment By Moment

16’ Matt Bahner saves a ball off the line after a great play by Chicago. A great one, two pass before a cross across the face of goal was just missed by the sliding attacker and cleared out by Bahner.

18’ A a deflected shot from Chicago went just wide for a corner. Two great chances for Chicago within two minutes.

39’ Danni Konig beaks away and gets inside the box, his shot is saved by Matthew Lampson and bounced off Konig for a goal kick.

40’ Arturo Alverez takes a shot from outside the box that just bounced wide.

46’ Matt Polster picks up the first yellow of the match after smacking Josu in the face inadvertently

55’ Josu picks up Cincinnati’s first yellow card after kicking the ball away after he disagreed with a foul call.

63’ Mitch Hildebrandt diving save off the shot from Nikolic.

64’ Hildebrandt with another diving save to his right after a shot from Nikolic A cross just long finds the feet of Nikolic whose shot was saved. Harrison Delbridge was behind Hildebrandt on the line and may have stopped the shot.

73’ Nikolic picked up a yellow card after colliding with Marco Dominguez of Cincinnati. Dominguez was down for a minute and received treatment before continuing.

76’ Jimmy McLaughlin with a shot saved by Lampard. A counter started after a great tackle on Bastian Schewineteiger from Austin Berry who then cleared up to an open McLaughlin who charged down into the box and created a little space before putting it off the keeper.

86’ Hildebrandt with another diving save on a good shot from Michael de Leeuw. A careless pass from Justin Hoyte right to de Leeuw led to the chance.

90 + 1 Corben Bone with the breakaway shot just saved by Lampard again. A great pass from Jimmy McLaughlin set Bone free.

90 + 3 Corben Bone just missed the top corner with a shot from outside the box.

97’ A cross from Kadeem Dacres in front of goal was just tipped to safety by Polster before McLauhglin could get his foot on it. Another incredible chance for Cincinnati.

105’ Nikolic has a great chance but it is saved by another great play from Hildebrandt.

110’ Andrew Wiedeman puts a ball into the net but was ruled offside. He received a yellow card for taking his shirt off in celebration.

120’ McLaughlin let loose by a cross from Dacres, but the shot saved by Lampard. Another great ball from Dacres and the shot from McLaughlin almost went in again.


Cincinnati – Aodhan Quinn: Missed, Over the bar

Josu: Goal

Harrison Delbridge: Goal

Jimmy McLaughlin: Goal

Chicago – Nikolic: Missed Saved

Arturo Alvarez: Missed Saved

Bastian Schweinsteiger : Goal

Junhino: Missed Saved

Final Thoughts

Tonight was an incredible statement for this city to gain an MLS bid. An impressive victory against one of the better teams in the MLS. 32,287 is quite the achievement and will open many eyes to the special thing this club and city have to offer the top league in America. Both Taylor Twellman and Julie Stewart-Binks made comments on the ESPN telecast complementing the fans and how intelligent they were.

In what looked to be a throw away match for Cincinnati due to starting four players from their great performance last Saturday against St. Louis, Cincinnati was able to get a great win. This shows the incredible depth that Cincinnati has and there are little excuses for not finding a way into the top four in the Eastern Conference for a home playoff game.

The backline tonight of Harrison Delbridge, Justin Hoyte, and Austin Berry was incredible. They closed down almost every attacker and outside of one bad pass from Hoyte were perfect playing the ball out of the back.

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