Rochester Rhinos 1 – 0 FC Cincinnati: Rotation Result

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A 65th minute goal by Rochester’s Bradley Kamdem Fewo handed FC Cincinnati a 1-0 loss on Saturday. Alan Koch made extensive changes to the starting eleven for this match, deciding to rest key starters in light of his team’s recent action-packed schedule. FC Cincinnati struggled to create meaningful chances against Bob Lilley’s Rhinos, who are known for being a stout defensive unit that’s hard to beat at home.

Talking Points

Roster Rotation

Alan Koch elected to change eight players from the lineup that started in the last USL league match against Toronto FC II. Many of the regular starters didn’t even travel to Rochester for the match. Kenney Walker returned from a knee contusion injury to start and play for 75 minutes. New signing Josu Currais joined the team for this match and came on as a substitute for 15 minutes of action.

“Today was our sixth game in 21 days, it’s impossible to play the same group of players. We did today what we know was best for the team. We left several players behind in Cincinnati and gave them a few days off. They should be rested for next week. We gave other guys the opportunity to play. The guys that played have been working very, very hard to get themselves ready for opportunities like this.” 

–Alan Koch

Some fans may be understandably disappointed by the team not putting out its strongest roster for this match. Koch is clearly taking a long-term view, and saved his heaviest rotation for a challenging away match where a result was not guaranteed for the first eleven.

Offense Not Firing

FC Cincinnati was limited to one blocked shot in the first half of the match, and three total shots through 80 minutes. A brief flurry at the end saw them generate three additional shots, but it wasn’t enough to get a result from the game. FC Cincinnati has only scored three goals away from home this season in six matches played.

“It’s a positive that we looked dangerous in the last little bit of the game, but you’ve got to play that way for the full 90 minutes, and we didn’t do that today.” 

–Alan Koch

It’s not surprising that the Orange and Blue were not firing on all cylinders offensively. They were away from home and playing with a rotated squad, but you’d still like to see more from a group that’s pushing for first team positions. Rochester is a worthy opponent and credit is due there as well. A lot of the preseason narrative around FC Cincinnati was about the great depth of the squad. A question could be raised about whether that depth is delivering, but there is still over half of a season to be played.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference

FC Cincinnati falls from fourth place to seventh place in the Eastern Conference with the result. That puts them right in the middle of a logjam of five teams with a total of fifteen points. Conference leaders Charleston Battery played Louisville City to a 4-4 goal-fest draw. Louisville City now occupies fourth place in the East. NY Red Bulls II and Orlando City B both earned away victories, leaving them ahead of FC Cincinnati in the standings. Second place Tampa Bay plays Charlotte on Sunday and has the opportunity to draw level on points with leaders Charleston if they win.

June Home Stand Ahead

FC Cincinnati heads back to Nippert Stadium for a four game home stand that starts next Saturday against the Charlotte Independence. The series includes a US Open Cup derby match against Columbus Crew SC on June 14th, and lasts all the way through the end of month. Djiby Fall has completed his six game suspension and will be available going forward. Alan Koch’s side will again try to climb above the pack of teams stuck in the middle of the Eastern Conference table, riding the energy of the Bailey and FC Cincinnati’s fans.

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