played USL newcomers Ottawa Fury
to a 1-1 stalemate at the IMG Suncoast Classic in Bradenton, FL on Saturday. Djiby Fall got the lone goal for the Orange and Blue, his second of the preseason.
FC Cincinnati set up in the same formation that was featured in the last match, a 4-1-4-1. They’ve used that formation in five of the six halves the team has played this preseason. An unnamed trialist, who will be referred to as “Magic” given his #32 jersey number, started at center back. Kenney Walker and Corben Bone featured in midfield with Marco Dominguez holding. Djiby Fall played center forward. After a dominant possession-based performance in the first 20 minutes, the game evened out. Ottawa played into the match and had a share of possession between the 20th and 40th minutes. Neither side generated many offensive chances. Just when it looked like the half would end goalless, FC Cincinnati’s new number nine sprung into action. Tyler Polak served an excellent ball from the right corner flag. The ball dropped in the box and Djiby punched it into the goal from close range. The half ended 1-0.
It wouldn’t be preseason without some stream failures, and the IMG stream went out at the beginning of the second half. During that time, holding midfielder Marco Dominguez got a second yellow card and was sent off. The match referee was unusually quick to show cards throughout the match, especially considering that it was a preseason friendly. As it turns out though, in preseason you can just substitute a player back in. Aodhan Quinn was introduced after Marco’s sending off and the Orange and Blue were back up to 11 players.
FC Cincinnati swapped out most of its lineup around the 60 minute mark. Victor Mansaray came in to lead the line, and Fordyce and Wiedeman featured in central midfield. Last year’s center back pairing of Harrison Delbridge and Austin Berry took up their familiar positions on the back line.
Not long after the substitutions, Ottawa equalized. After a 50-50 challenge outside of the box, the ball fell to Ottawa striker Carl Haworth. He took a touch and curled a shot past the Cincinnati goalkeeper and into the right corner of the goal. The draw played itself out over the final 25 minutes. Kadeem Dacres and Austin Berry both had a chances for a late winner, but the Ottawa goalkeeper prevailed. The game ended 1-1.
Who looked good?
Corben Bone & Kenney Walker – This midfield pairing featured regularly for the Orange and Blue last season, and will likely do so in 2017. They controlled the first half with precision passing and good decision making in the middle of the park.
Djiby Fall – Scoring goals is the hardest thing to do, and Djiby’s got two in three games. Although the team possessed the ball well in the first half they had a hard time connecting Djiby to the play, resulting in few chances for the Senegalese striker. Even so, he got a chance and converted it. He has the look of a true poacher who can find goals even without a great deal of service.
#32 “Magic” – The new center back on trial with FC Cincinnati made a couple of key interventions and distributed the ball well from the back. FC Cincinnati controlled possession in the first half, so he wasn’t put under a lot of pressure, but did well when called upon.
Kadeem Dacres – Always a live-wire, Kadeem was the most notable of the players that came in after the 60 minute mark. He was active on the right, earned free kicks in dangerous positions, and nearly got a winner in the 74th minute.
Who do you think has been FC Cincinnati’s best player so far this preseason? Let us know in the comments section.
FC Cincinnati will play its next preseason match on Saturday March 4th at the Sacramento Republic, before returning home to two preseason matches. Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more analysis and color commentary on FC Cincinnati’s preseason.
NOTE: This article was edited from its original version. The first version reported that Dan Williams was the goalkeeper when the Ottawa goal was scored. Mitch Hildebrandt was likely in goal instead, but there are not official match records to confirm.