Bethlehem Steel FC 2 – FC Cincinnati 0 – Match Changing Moment

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Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Steel FC

FC Cincinnati was defeated 2-0 by Bethlehem Steel FC in Pennsylvania on Sunday. A red card issued to FC Cincinnati defender Paul Nicholson in the 23rd minute changed the match. Steel FC took advantage, and their captain Seku Conneh scored two second-half goals to secure the victory for the Pennsylvania outfit.

Match Changing Moment

Steel FC’s Jack Elliot played a ball over the top to forward Corey Burke who ran in behind FC Cincinnati’s defense. Paul Nicholson tracked back to cover. Nicholson fell while attempting to challenge Burke in the box, and clipped the forward’s legs. A penalty kick was awarded, a red card was shown to Nicholson, and FC Cincinnati was reduced to 10 men.

Steel FC forward Seku Conneh stepped up to take the penalty. He drove a low shot to Mitch Hildebrandt’s right side. It wasn’t placed in the corner though and Mitch dove to make a fine save.

Even after going down a man FC Cincinnati held defensively in the first half, which ended goalless. They even had a few chances to take the lead before the break with threatening counter-attacking moves. The second half was dominated by Steel FC, who capitalized on their man advantage, scoring goals in the 47th and 60th minutes.

For play-by-play details of the match’s event, turn your attention to the FC Cincinnati match report.

Stats

Not surprisingly, the match stats in many statistical categories were lopsided in Steel FC’s favor. They controlled 59 percent of possession, and outshot FC Cincinnati 20-7. More importantly, they controlled periods of play in the second half. They also limited FC Cincinnati to only a single blocked shot in the second half. They did a professional job of capitalizing on the extra man, and closed out the game comfortably.

More Defensive Damage

Defender Justin Hoyte made his debut on Sunday for FC Cincinnati, but left injured after only 13 minutes of play. They were already playing without center back Austin Berry who is still recovering from a concussion suffered against Pittsburgh last week. FC Cincinnati may need to rely on depth in defense during their upcoming home stand.

Koch’s Comments*

Opening statement…

“It was a tough game for us today. It’s not ideal to have an injury in the first 10 minutes and obviously the red card wasn’t something that was planned for. Everything that could go wrong at the start of the game, certainly did go wrong. I was pleased with how our players dealt with it until halftime and then obviously, full credit to Bethlehem Steel FC, they came at us and fully deserved the three points.”

On the attack of Steel FC…

“It’s hard to analyze a game like this when you’ve played a man down for 75 minutes. We knew they’d be good but there was a lot of space for them since we were playing a man down.”

On the team adjusting well the first half to playing with only 10 men…

“I think experience helps and we adjusted to a 4-4-1 when we went a man down. I thought the guys did a good job managing the game until halftime. It’s not ideal to concede a goal when you are a man down at the start of the second half, and I think that was the big turning point in the game. Full credit to our players, they showed a lot of character to fight to the bitter end.”

*Comments courtesy of Evan Villella

What’s next?

FC Cincinnati returns to Nippert stadium for their home opener next Saturday, April 15th. That match against Saint Louis FC is the first of three home matches in eight days. Hopefully some home cookin’ and a newly rennovated Nippert stadium can turn around the fortunes of the Orange and Blue.

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