FC Cincinnati played to a 1-1 draw with the Rochester Rhinos on Wednesday in front of 14,157 at Nippert Stadium. The match represents the third 1-1 result FC Cincinnati has tallied in the past four matches. For play-by-play details of the game’s events, see the articles referenced in our recap roundup segment.
Twenty Five Photos
These four numbers tell the tale of how this match unfolded.
3 – The number of defenders employed by FC Cincinnati in their new-look 3-5-2 formation. Both Kenney Walker and Paul Nicholson returned to full fitness for the match and the formation change was likely an attempt to make room for the team’s best players and adapt to frontman Okoli being absent due to yellow card accumulation.
9 – The number of first half shots by Rochester compared to FC Cincinnati’s 3. Many expected the Rhinos to come to Cincinnati and simply get behind the ball, try not to concede, and play on the counter. They actually did quite the opposite by possessing the ball, attacking, and creating more chances in the first half of play. For example, in the first 20 minutes possession was equal, and Rochester had 2 more passes, a 3-1 advantage in shots and a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.
2 – The number of total shots on goal by FC Cincinnati in the match, equal to their lowest total of the year (and last seen in the 0-0 result vs. Louisville City on June 25th). Credit is due to Rochester and their coach Bob Lilley who pride themselves on having a stout defense. Lead forward Omar Cummings left the match after a 37th minute injury, and FC Cincinnati clearly struggled to create without Cummings and Okoli on the field. As mentioned before, the Rhinos also limited chances by controlling possession, especially in the first half.
30 – The number of seconds of playing time between the restart of play (following the Cummings injury) and Rochester’s equalizing goal. The Orange and Blue were playing down a man when Steevan Dos Santos thundered home the near post equalizer for Rochester in the 42nd minute. Some pointed to a gap of 4 minutes between the injury and the substitution as a reason for the goal. However, not having the lead striker on the field seemed to have little impact on the events leading up to Rochester’s goal. Perhaps Cummings could have provided ball pressure to prevent Rochester’s build-up, but two defenders were beaten on FC Cincinnati’s right and 3 defenders watched as Dos Santos found space to collect and shoot.
Quotable (from John Harkes who was upbeat in the press conference)
“How disappointed we are with getting a point (against the defending champions) is a great sign of our character…We have a great team in there.”
On Omar Cummings’ injury: “It looked like a hyperextended knee…We’re just hoping he’s ok and we’re looking to get him back as soon as possible. He’s a very important part of the team.”
On FC Cincinnati’s next game against NY Red Bulls II, a homecoming for Harkes (he also was an assistant coach for the Red Bulls’ MLS side): “I grew up playing 5-a-side games on the Harrison courts, literally 200 yards from the (Red Bulls) stadium…it brings back good memories of childhood and creates that passion for the game.”
FC Cincinnati’s next opponent, NY Red Bulls II, were also in action on Wednesday and defeated Toronto FC II away from home to pick up their 4th consecutive league win. That win creates a 10 point gap between the Eastern conference leading “Baby Bulls” and FC Cincinnati. It’s beginning to look very difficult for FC Cincinnati to have a chance at winning the Eastern Conference, but they could still secure a playoff spot this weekend depending on how results play out. The only other Eastern Conference match on Wednesday saw Pittsburgh defeat Wilmington by a score of 4-1.
The match against NY Red Bulls II is at 5:30pm ET on Sunday at Red Bull Arena. That contest will be followed by another Wednesday match as the Orange and Blue travel to Charlotte to take on the Independence on August 31st.