Header image courtesy of Saint Louis FC
FC Cincinnati earned a valuable 2-1 victory in St. Louis on Saturday night, gaining important points prior to their week and a half break from USL league play.
Omar Cummings had an epic performance as a starter in this match. He opened the scoring in the 8th minute and had the assist on Stevenson’s game winning goal. The subtle feigning of a far post strike followed by his near post blast was a delight to watch, a true striker’s goal. The former Jamaican international and MLS standout has 2 goals in 3 assists in only 298 minutes played this season. It’s great to have a super-sub like Cummings but its increasingly difficult to see how he’s not in the starting lineup.
Normal starters Wiedeman and Stevenson started on the bench making way for Cummings and Omar Mohomed, with the team’s formation shifting to a 4-4-2.
Cummings did appear to be offside for the first goal. There wasn’t a video replay where you could see the line well enough to tell whether the far fullback was playing him on. Perhaps a bit of luck for FC Cincinnati on the no-call.
FC Cincinnati executed the 3 P’s to perfection in the first half. They pressed Saint Louis FC high turning the ball over regularly, then passed well leading to periods of long possession. Critically, they were able to turn that possession into quality chances and a goal.
After grabbing the two goal lead in the 78th, we saw the team concede another late goal in the 85th minute which precipitated another nervy finish. Fortunately, they had the insurance goal they needed and held on to collect all 3 points.
The FC Cincinnati back line and defensive midfield almost completely shut off the supply to SLFC’s Irvin Herrera, the USL’s 4th leading goalscorer. Herrera didn’t have a single shot in the match. Saint Louis FC only had 2 shots on target in the match.
Austin Berry entered the match as a substitute again and played 28 minutes plus stoppage time. Will he start in their next USL league match against NY Red Bulls II on July 20th?
FC Cincinnati dominated the offensive statistics with more shots and shots on goal than Saint Louis FC. USL doesn’t keep possession or number of passes stats, but they almost certainly dominated there as well. It’d be nice if the Orange and Blue could turn those statistical victories into bigger margins of victory occasionally. 9 of their 11 wins (including the US Open Cup) this season have been by 1 goal. 7 of 11 wins have been by this same 2-1 scoreline, as Charlie Hatch of the Cincinnati Enquirer points out.
Omar Cummings was fantastic, but we’ve already said that. It’s worth pointing out that Ugo Okoli dispossessed the opposition and played a well weighted thru ball to assist on Cumming’s goal.
Jimmy McLaughlin kept Saint Louis’ defense on their heels all night with his aggressive runs and interplay with the other attacking players.
Corben Bone was a monster in the middle of the park, passing and tackling with aplomb, and ensuring the Orange and Blue won the battle in midfield. He very rarely wastes the ball. He also won the ball in Saint Louis FC’s half and started the move that led to FCC’s second goal.
This weekend’s results were good to FC Cincinnati. The 1st and 4th place teams dropped points as Louisville City drew 1-1 with Charleston Battery. 2nd place NY Red Bulls II continued their good form banging 4 goals past FC Montréal and earning a vicotry away from home. They are certainly bringing a high powered offense to Nippert on July 20th for that crucial Eastern Conference matchup. 5th place Charlotte were beaten 2-1 at Ramblewood by the Wilmington Hammerheads. These results combined with FCC’s victory in St. Louis help to minimize the damage caused by losing to Rochester midweek. Click for the full USL standings.
Next, the Orange and Blue turn their attention to “the highest level soccer match to ever be played in the city of Cincinnati”, as FC Cincinnati take on Crystal Palace at Nippert Stadium on July 16th. With over 27K tickets sold already and the prospect of reaching an attendance near 32K, next Saturday’s match should prove to be quite a spectacle. If you don’t have tickets yet, there are still a few left and you can pick them up at the usual spot, the FC Cincinnati website.