FC Cincinnati suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Rochester Rhinos at Nippert Stadium on Saturday. Jimmy McLaughlin and Danni König scored the goals for Alan Koch’s side in a losing effort. The Orange and Blue played the majority of the match shorthanded after striker Djiby Fall was issued a second yellow card in the 42nd minute of play. The match was littered with controversial refereeing decisions, and the match official was booed by Cincinnati fans throughout the contest.
Rochester surprisingly started as the aggressor in Saturday’s contest. Much of the possession and several early chances were created by Bob Lilley’s Rhinos side. The visiting team’s dynamic start paid dividends in the twelfth minute. Striker Jochen Graf banged an early goal in off the post, after a header by Rochester’s Sofiane Tergou deflected off the legs of Justin Hoyte. Graf reacted quickly and Mitch Hildebrandt had no chance of stopping the forward’s low strike. The shot graphic below shows Rochester and FC Cincinnati’s shots through 28 minutes of play. Rochester is represented on the left side and had the clear advantage. Alan Koch shifted to a formation with a four man back line later in the first half to counter Rochester’s early tactics.
Alan Koch said the following about his team’s first half play.
“Did we play well for 90 minutes? No, we didn’t start the game the way that we needed to. In this league, you have to play a full 90 from the beginning of the game to set yourself up for success.”
Djiby Sent Packing
Jimmy McLaughlin’s equalizer in the 29th minute got the Orange and Blue back on track. They nearly took the lead shortly thereafter but Corben Bone’s low strike from distance was well stopped by Rhinos goalkeeper Gomez.
The complexion of the match changed seven minutes later though. FC Cincinnati forward Djiby was issued a second yellow for a tackle on a Rochester player, after being booked already in the 27th minute. Djiby was challenging Wal Fall for a bouncing ball outside Rochester’s penalty area. Djiby stretched his leg across Fall to block his clearance. The Rochester player kicked the ball and then kicked into Djiby’s out-stretched foot. Both decisions were judged to be fouls, but referee Guido Gonzalez Jr.’s decision to issue yellow cards for each foul incensed the crowd. The decisions left FC Cincinnati playing a man short for the majority of Saturday’s contest.
Captain Austin Berry said the following about the yellow card incidents after the match.
“We put ourselves in a bad situation. When you’re playing with a yellow, you have to be so careful. In those situations, you have to play smarter. I still think we gave ourselves a chance to stay in the game and get something out of it.”
A major point of controversy occurred in the 82nd minute of play. Rochester had regained the lead after Wal Fall converted a penalty kick four minutes prior. The Rhinos were then awarded a second penalty kick for a handball in the box against FC Cincinnati substitute Kevin Schindler.
Replays of the incident seem to show the ball bouncing off of Schindler’s chest, rather than any part of his hand or arm. Check out the this screen capture on Twitter and decide for yourself. Despite protests from captain Austin Berry, the call stood and Fall converted a second penalty kick. The decision had a large bearing on the outcome of the match. FC Cincinnati was able to get a goal back late in the contest (also from the penalty spot), but it was too late to salvage a point.
Match Photos via Ryan Meyer
Rhinos Leapfrog Lions
The loss breaks FC Cincinnati’s three game winning streak. It also represents only the third regular season loss at Nippert Stadium in FC Cincinnati’s short history. FCC retreats to sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings, still on thirty points. The Orange and Blue are seven points off the top of the Conference, a position still held by the Charleston Battery. Rochester advances to fifth place, having played two fewer matches than FC Cincinnati.
Miami on the Horizon
Alan Koch’s side will need to put Saturday’s loss in the rear-view mirror quickly. The Orange and Blue travel to Florida on Wednesday for a rescheduled US Open Cup quarterfinal match against Miami FC. The original match had to be postponed due to severe storms that swept through the Miami area on the night the match was originally scheduled to be played.
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more news, analysis, and color commentary on FC Cincinnati.