FC Cincinnati lost their opening game of the season to the Charleston Battery by a score of 2-1 on Saturday. Djiby Fall scored the only goal for FC Cincinnati in the 59th minute, equalizing the score at 1-1 after Charleston took the lead in the first half.
Match Changing Moment
The critical moment of the match occurred in the 70th minute. Charleston fullback Quinton Griffith attacked down the left side of FC Cincinnati’s defense. He played a ball to Ataullah Guerra at the top of the box. Guerra escaped tackles from Bahner and Kenney Walker and eked a pass into the box for Charleston striker Romario Williams. Austin Berry was behind Williams trying to recover on the play. Williams put his body in front of Berry as the pass from Guerra came through, and Berry clattered into him.
It was a clear penalty and Justin Portillo stepped in to take the kick. He struck a poor drive to Mitch Hildebrandt’s right. Mitch saved it comfortably but a rebound fell to Portillo, who was able to slide a second attempt into goal and give the Battery a decisive 2-1 lead.
FC Cincinnati was dominant in the first 30 minutes of play, but couldn’t turn that possession into a goal. They out-possessed Charleston 60% to 40% in the match, and at one point in the first half (18th minute) had almost 70% possession. When Charleston defender Forrest Lasso gave the Battery the lead with a 38th minute header, the complexion of the match changed.
Charleston created better opportunities than FC Cincinnati over the 90 minutes. They outshot FC Cincinnati 17-14, but more importantly, 8 of those shots were on target, and 14 of their 17 shots came from inside the box (82%). Comparatively, only 50% of FC Cincinnati’s shots were from inside the box.
USL’s new partnership with Opta Stats is pretty sweet and if you’re into numbers, check out the new Match Center section of the USL site.
One thing that Opta Stats can’t tell you about is defensive lapses. Mitch Hildebrandt came off his line to punch the corner kick on the first goal that FC Cincinnati conceded, but didn’t get to the ball. Lasso jumped behind Delbridge to nod home a header. Austin Berry’s tackle from behind on Guerra to concede the penalty was described by Nicholas Murray as “rash.” Berry had just returned from injury, and FC Cincinnati fans may wonder how close to 100% he was for this contest. Credit is due to Charleston as well, who are a quality team and especially good at home.
Two More Road Games Ahead
FC Cincinnati travels to Pennsylvania to take on two teams over the course of the next two weeks. Pittsburgh is up first. The Orange and Blue will take on the Riverhounds on Saturday, April 1st at 7pm. They then travel to the Lehigh Valley for a matchup with Bethlehem Steel the following Sunday. FC Cincinnati returns home for the 2017 opener at Nippert on April 15th. Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2017 season.
Updates: Two changes were made to the original article. The original article said Delbridge “lost” Lasso on the first goal. Another player may have been responsible for Lasso so this was removed. Also Kenny Walker was the captain for this match rather than Austin Berry.