FC Cincinnati earned a late draw against Saint Louis FC in Fenton, Missouri, in a match that ended all square at 2-2. The Orange and Blue entered the match in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and were on the hunt for elusive road points.
The match started with Saint Louis FC playing the role of the aggressor. FC Cincinnati absorbed pressure and looked to counter-attack. They found it difficult to connect new-look forward Kyle Greig to their play, however.
Saint Louis FC drew first blood at the end of the first half. Seth Rudolph made a mazy run into the final third, dribbling easily around De Wit and Hoyte. He unleashed a powerful right-footer that screamed into the top right corner, beating Hildebrandt.
Alan Koch went to his 20 goal bench early in the second half. Danni König entered the match in place of Kyle Greig in the 53rd minute in an attempt to stir-up more offense.
Just six minutes later, the home side doubled their lead. Christian Volesky converted from the spot after Harrison Delbridge was whistled for a handball in the penalty area. The Australian was sliding to block a shot but the strike careened into his raised right hand.
Amazingly, the Orange and Blue produced their second consecutive comeback in a road match in the final 30 minutes of play plus stoppage time. Corben Bone scored in the aftermath of a corner kick in the 70th minute. A headed Saint Louis FC clearance fell just outside of their penalty area. Bone sent it immediately back at goal with a half-volley that beat Gorrick through traffic.
In the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, Jimmy McLaughlin was fouled in the box after getting on the end of a late long ball. Danni König stepped up and converted the penalty kick, and FC Cincinnati escaped Missouri with a point.
Like the match against Harrisburg, it was another last-gasp equalizer on the road. It was also another valuable point to add to their regular season tally.
Saint Louis FC 2 – 2 FC Cincinnati: Talking Points
Center Forward Selection
Kyle Greig started the match at center forward in preference to the team’s two top scorers Djiby and Danni König. It wasn’t a night to remember for the Vancouver Whitecaps loanee. He had just 11 touches, did not produce a shot, and was shown a yellow card before being replaced by Danni König. The team struggled to provide him with service and he was regularly surrounded by multiple Saint Louis FC defenders. Djiby also entered the match in the 68th minute after FC Cincinnati was down two goals.
Off Target First Half
The first half featured 14 shots combined for the two teams. Only two of those were on target though, including Rudolph’s goal. FC Cincinnati had 6 shots in the first half, with a Matt Bahner strike being the only one that required a save. We’ve seen several games this season where the Orange and Blue create chances but can’t find their finishing quality at the vital moment. FC Cincinnati did not produce a second on-target shot until the 70th minute when Austin Berry’s set-piece header was tipped over by Gorrick.
FC Cincinnati conceded their ninth penalty kick of the season, resulting in Saint Louis FC’s second goal. They went four consecutive matches without conceding a spot-kick until Delbridge was penalized in the second half for a handball. Mitch has saved two of the nine, but couldn’t get in the way of Volesky’s down-the-middle strike that gave Saint Louis FC a two-goal advantage.
They left it late but a second-half surge proved enough to earn a draw in this late-season contest steeped in playoff implications. Saturday was the first time FC Cincinnati has come from two goals down to draw or win a match in team history.
FC Cincinnati remains in sixth place after Saturday’s draw. They add one point to their total which brings them to 40 points on the season. They have three road matches remaining to secure their playoff berth. Next up is a trip to face the second place Charlotte Independence on Friday, September 29th.
In front of FC Cincinnati, Tampa Bay beat Charlotte by a single goal. The Rowdies have a 4 point advantage over FC Cincinnati with two games in hand. However, the Rochester Rhinos slipped up in a match that many thought they would win. They lost to the 14th place Richmond Kickers away from home. The Rhinos are three points in front of FC Cincinnati but have played one less game.
Orlando City B creeps closer to the Orange and Blue after beating the Charleston Battery. They now sit just one point below FC Cincinnati in seventh. New York Red Bulls II currently occupies the eighth place and did not play on Saturday. Bethlehem Steel FC is in ninth and plays against Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Check here for the latest USL Eastern Conference standings and stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s push for the playoffs.