After two USL road losses that left FC Cincinnati embarrassed and looking for answers, the boys in Orange & Blue rebounded on a short week. They turned in arguably their best bounce-back performance of the season, beating the Ottawa Fury 3-1 in front of 20,058 at Nippert Stadium.
Resorting back to a 3-4-3 formation to match Ottawa’s own, coach Alan Koch leaned on returning players to give others a breather—Tyler Polak returned to the Starting XI for the first time since spraining his foot against Louisville July 15th, and both Kenney Walker and Sem de Wit returned after serving one-game suspensions.
After thirty minutes trying to find their form and letting Ottawa be the more physical team, FCC produced a physical presence of their own. Danni König snaked around his defender and tapped home a left-footed cross from Polak in the 34th minute to give FCC an early 1-0 lead.
Ottawa pressed their offensive line a bit harder after the goal, almost equalizing in the 39th minute. A Steevan dos Santos deflection was kept out of goal, parried acrobatically off the goal line by Harrison Delbridge. The pressure from Ottawa led to a perfect counterattack opportunity in the 42nd minute. König redirected a midfield pass to a streaking Jimmy McLaughlin, who deposited a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Callum Irving for a 2-0 lead at halftime (and an entertaining ode to Robbie Keane in his goal celebration).
The hits kept coming in the second half as FCC capitalized from Ottawa fouls. Fury FC failed to clear a Polak set piece from the right in the 57th minute. It found Sem de Wit’s left foot to give FC Cincinnati a 3-0 lead—the Dutchman’s first professional goal of his career.
With a lead that felt almost too comfortable, FC Cincinnati had to survive a barrage of shots in the remaining 30 minutes. A 63rd-minute goal from dos Santos skirted past Mitch Hildebrandt to make the game 3-1, but the goalkeeper returned to form with sprawling saves in the 81st and 92nd minutes to seal the deal.
FC Cincinnati’s win lifts them to 9-9-7 (34 points) and sixth place, while Ottawa falls to 7-9-7 (28 points).
Four Numbers That Mattered
+10 – FCC’s advantage in clearances (27 to Ottawa’s 17). Having built a large lead after 60 minutes, FCC demonstrated a clear ability to keep the ball away from the aggressive Ottawa front line. While Ottawa led in possession, passing accuracy, and shots on target, FC Cincinnati used a bend-not-break approach for the rest of the game—22 of Cincinnati’s 27 clearances came in the second half.
9 – The number of goals scored by Danni König this year. While FCC may not be scoring at the clip Jeff Berding had hoped for at the start of the year, the team has found its dual threat. König has assembled a bounce-back season after scoring 21 goals in 2015 and only 5 last year. Perhaps King König likes home cooking—8 of his 9 goals have come at Nippert.
20,058 – The number of FC Cincinnati fans in the stands on a Wednesday during the first week of school. Fans could have easily sat this one out, but tonight’s draw not only keeps the average attendance over 20K, but indicates that faith has not been lost yet. Home field advantage has given FCC 26 total points over 14 games, compared to only 8 over 11 away games.
10 – The number of days until FC Cincinnati’s next game (September 2nd vs. Pittsburgh). This is the team’s longest breather of the year, and it may be coming at the right time. Last year, FCC went 4-0-1 down the stretch in September, and they’ll need fresh legs and bodies to repeat their form this September.
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more news, analysis, and color commentary on FC Cincinnati.