FC Cincinnati played the Charleston Battery to a 1-1 draw in front of a crowd of over 19K at Nippert Stadium on Saturday. For play-by-play details of the game’s events, see the sources referenced in our recap roundup segment.
Special thanks to photographer Joe Craven for the images in this week’s match notes.
Don’t Fix It – The Orange and Blue lined up in the same formation they used with such success against Louisville City last weekend. One personnel change came in the form of Derek Luke starting at right back in place of Pat McMahon. Kenney Walker and Paul Nicholson were unavailable for the match due to injury.
Scoreless First – Both goalies came up with 1 big save in the first half to keep the score level at 0’s. The Battery had a very good chance to go up a goal in the 16th minute following quality combination play between Williams and Garbanzo, but Hildebrandt denied the opportunity. Andrew Wiedeman had a right-footed rocket from 25+ yards saved by Tambakis near the end of the first half.
Scoring at UC – Omar Cummings scored his first league goal at Nippert 6 minutes after the start of the second half. The the crowd erupted in approval for the former Cincinnati State and UC product.
No Delbo in Canada – Harrison Delbridge picked up a yellow card in the second half, his 5th of the season. Because of yellow card accumulation he will serve a 1 game suspension and be unavailable for Wednesday’s match against FC Montreal. Keep in mind that Paul Nicholson is also injured so we could see Evan Lee start against the Canadian club.
SMH – The goal FC Cincinnati conceded was one to forget frankly. It was a corner kick sent directly into the center of the 6 yard box (very close to goal). A couple of nearby defenders didn’t even jump for it and Mitch was beat to the ball by Cordoves.
Late Battery – Charleston had a glorious chance to equalize in the 83rd minute. Charleston substitute Tsonis connected with a point blank header in the box that rattled the crossbar and was scrambled off the line by Hildebrandt. The Orange and Blue were also extremely lucky that Harrison Delbridge was not called for a handball in the box during stoppage time following his sliding tackle. FC Cincinnati has been on the wrong end of some bad refereeing decisions but this one went their way, and was probably worth a point.
Hildebrandt hurt? – Mitch Hildebrandt has played every minute so far for the Orange and Blue in the USL regular season. Late in the game he suffered an apparent shoulder injury that didn’t force him to leave the game, but put him in some discomfort. Let’s hope he heals quickly and is fit to play in Montreal.
FC Cincinnati’s dominated many of the game’s statistics (shots, shots on goal, far fewer fouls conceded). One category they did not dominate however was corner kicks. Charleston had 8 corner kicks to FC Cincinnati’s 2, and the FCC lead was undone by one of those eight byline set pieces.
“Once I saw Jimmy get the ball, I knew he was going to go for the cross. I knew I would have to anticipate where it would go, and once it was past Ugo, I just reacted.” –Omar Cummings on his goal
“One thing we keep telling our guys that there will be games where you feel you dominated the game, but it may not reflect in the score. We were a bit unlucky, we certainly could have scored the second goal to go ahead and lock it up.” –John Harkes
The three offensive players behind Okoli were very good in this match. Omar Cummings was the bona fide scoring threat all match and converted in the 51st minute. Andrew Wiedeman and Jimmy McLaughlin worked hard to create all night, resulting in several quality chances. They couldn’t find the second goal though, a problem that has plagued the team at times this season.
A draw against Charleston is a decent result, but conceding the 70th minute equalizer and another nervy finish put a damper on proceedings at Nippert. The draw keeps Harkes’ men in 3rd place, above Charleston in the standings. Results away for Nippert were very favorable for the Orange and Blue. The top two teams in the Eastern Conference both lost allowing FCC to gain a point on each. Richmond moves into 5 place on goal difference over Rochester after their big win against NY Red Bulls II.
The Orange and Blue are now 4 points behind league leaders Louisville City with a game in hand. They are in prime position to make a run at the top of the table with 10 games remaining in the USL regular season. The Orange and Blue are back in action Wednesday as they head north of the border to face last place FC Montreal. No rest for the weary.