FC Cincinnati played to a 2-2 stalemate with Orlando City B in front of a USL regular season record crowd at Nippert Stadium on Saturday. Anthony Pulis’ Orlando side were familiar opponents for the Orange and Blue. Saturday’s match was the third time these two teams have met in USL play this season, and the second time the teams have clashed in just over thirty days.
FC Cincinnati drew first blood, counter-attacking against aggressive early pressure from Orlando City. In the sixth minute, wingback Josu received the ball on FC Cincinnati’s left. He delivered a delicious cross from a wide position for forward Kyle Greig. Greig jumped with little opposition and nodded the ball into goal from close range.
FC Cincinnati had a chance to go up another goal just three minutes later. Kyle Greig was pulled down in the box by defender Zachary Ellis-Hayden and a penalty kick was awarded. Aodhan Quinn placed the penalty kick low to the keepers right but Orlando’s Earl Edwards Jr. was there to block the shot and smother the rebound.
Orlando City B equalized quickly thereafter. A long throw-in by the visitors was headed away from the six yard box by Cincinnati defender Sem De Wit. The clearance didn’t make it out of the penalty area though, and Orlando’s Austin Martz was there to pounce. His first-time strike found the net through traffic and the score was level just eight minutes later.
The level scoreline held until the 55th minute of play. It was then that a counter-attack by Orlando City B sent striker Hadji Barry in on goal with acres of space to attack. He dribbled into the box uncontested and blasted a far post shot past Mitch Hildebrandt to give the visitors the lead.
Alan Koch’s side looked to be beaten, but a last gasp stoppage time attack earned FC Cincinnati a point. Two substitutes connected for the equalizing goal. Kenney Walker played a speculative long ball from his own half that bounced in Orlando City’s box. An defender got his head on the ball, but he couldn’t nod it all the way back to his keeper. Cincinnati forward Danni König intervened and got a flick on the ball, sending it past Edwards Jr. and into the goal.
Most would agree that this was not a vintage FC Cincinnati performance. However, Alan Koch’s side was able to secure a point from a match that followed closely on the heels of an emotional US Open Cup victory.
FC Cincinnati’s position in the league table remains unchanged after Saturday’s draw. They sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference on 31 points with ten games left to play. The remaining schedule will be challenging though. Seven of FC Cincinnati’s final ten matches are on the road. Orlando advances from eleventh to ninth with draw, positioning themselves just outside of the playoff spots.
Four Numbers That Mattered
16 – The jersey number of Kyle Greig – The Vancouver Whitecaps forward was acquired by FC Cincinnati on loan on July 11th and had a big impact early in this match. His sixth minute strike was his first ever goal for the Orange and Blue. He also drew the foul to earn a penalty kick shortly thereafter. The Wisconsin native started at forward in place of Djiby Fall, who was suspended after receiving a red card last week against Rochester.
9 – The minute of play when FC Cincinnati failed to convert a penalty kick – This match should have seen FCC take a two goal advantage before the ten minute mark. Orlando’s Earl Edwards Jr. guessed well, and saved Quinn’s penalty kick comfortably despite the strike being placed near the corner.
5 – The number of goals FC Cincinnati has conceded at home in their last two matches. Alan Koch’s defense has been impermeable in the US Open Cup; they haven’t conceded a single goal in that tournament. The same can’t be said of their recent league form, where opponents are finding ways to break down FC Cincinnati even within the stronghold of Nippert Stadium. Orlando City B had only scored two goals in five matches leading up to this contest.
25,308 – The USL regular season record-setting attendance for Saturday’s match – An unusually mild August night saw a large walk-up crowd add to FC Cincinnati’s typically strong attendance numbers. FC Cincinnati eclipsed their own record of 24,376 set against this same Orlando City B side in 2016.
Match Photos via JES Photography / Joe Schmuck
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more news, analysis, and color commentary on FC Cincinnati. Their next match is the third and final installment of the Dirty River Derby against Louisville City next Saturday.