FC Cincinnati wound-up their two-game Florida road trip with a disheartening 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Forced to absorb two first half goals and a two hour rain delay right before halftime, the Boys in Blue & Orange were unable to mount a comeback in the second half before the 6,269 in attendance at Al Lang Stadium.
Having to play five games over a two-week period, Coach Koch opted to rest some of the defensive starters. Matt Bahner and Tyler Polak started on the bench and Harrison Delbridge was rested due to a late-game injury versus Orlando City B last Saturday.
The defensive approach without Delbridge appeared to rattle the back line in the first half, as the Rowdies’ midfielder Alex Morrell twice split through the defense. The first resulted in a Martin Paterson goal in the 39th minute, as Morrell skirted the right side of the goal and fired a short cross that was quickly hammered past Hildebrandt. The second goal came five minutes after. A shot from the streaking Morrell was saved, only for Joe Cole to vacuum up the rebound and tap it home.
Shortly after the second goal, the heavens opened for 120 minutes of rain. FCC appeared to get back on track with Djiby and McLaughlin subbing in for the second half. FC Cincy managed to outshoot Tampa Bay 9-4 in the final 45 minutes, but nothing got by goalie Matt Pickens, sending FCC to their sixth loss of the season. The team will have to turn their performance around with short rest—they face the Richmond Kickers back in Nippert Stadium this Sunday before another set of away games at Miami FC and Lou City next week.
Four Numbers That Mattered
5 – The number of points FC Cincinnati has managed over eight away games (1W-2D-5L), compared to the 16 points from 9 home games (4W-4D-1L). Around the same point last year, FCC had a 20-11 home/away point distribution. If Coach Koch’s team has any plans to be partying in the playoffs, they’re going to have to play better in away games—the team has already lost more times on the road this year than all last year (7W-4D-4L).
-3 – The goal differential without Harrison Delbridge on the pitch this year. While he’s only been held out for two games this year, Delbo’s absence was notable on the pitch for this one. Morrell and the Rowdies’ offense were able to freely penetrate the defense in the first half with the Aussie deactivated for the game, taking advantage of lapses in communication in the penalty area.
+6 – The advantage Tampa Bay held in shots on target (11-5). While both teams fired the same number shots (13), the Rowdies were more accurate and shot from shorter distances than Cincy—9 of the Rowdies’ 13 shots were inside the box, while Alan Koch’s side took more chances from distance (7 of 13).
7 – The number of games FC Cincinnati will play in July over all competitions. While the success in the U.S. Open Cup has been a major headline, the wear and tear of a month with little rest will challenge FCC during the dog days of summer. Throw in the friendly against Valencia on July 24th, and stamina could become a major issue as Cincinnati tries to recover lost points.
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