After three undefeated games on the road (2-0-1), FC Cincinnati was almost back home, as their most recent stop took them to a tangle at Northern Kentucky University on Tuesday night. While this was not officially a home game for FC Cincinnati, 1,497 fans from both sides crammed the stands to watch the Orange & Blue take down the Norse 3-0 with a well-balanced attack on a chilly February evening.
Enjoying their first game since a 2-1 away win against Indy Eleven, Alan Koch trotted out a starting eleven that may have been heavier on personnel that could make up the second team. New forward Tomi Ameobi got the start as the lone striker, and Spencer Richey got the nod in goal. Much like the Indy game, Koch had the starting squad play the first 60 minutes, while the second squad finished the final 30.
FCC possessed the ball for most of the game, developing the attack along the sides through Daniel Haber and Russell Cicerone. In the 11th minute, Haber cut along the goal line and looped a cross back to Ameobi, who sent a header past the NKU goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead. The midfielders did well to pressure the defense and force NKU to deflect shots out for corner kicks. Haber’s corner piece in the 34th minute settled easily for defender Dekel Keinan, who headed home his first goal for FCC to make it 2-0.
By halftime, FCC had plenty of chances that just weren’t going in. Nazmi Albadawi was stifled in the 36th minute from a sprawling save by the NKU keeper, while Garrett Halfhill was denied a goal right before halftime when a close-up screamer clanged off the top of the frame (and likely went in if VAR was in place).
The second half began with Danni König coming on for Ameobi, but after fifteen minutes, the entire team was subbed off for a new squad. With the fresher legs, FCC started to produce crisper passes and deep crosses, particularly from Lance Laing and Manu Ledesma, that were often denied by offside calls. FCC finally broke the second-half drought in the 72nd minute, as Forrest Lasso cleaned up a corner kick from Kenney Walker to bring the score to the final 3-0 count.
12’ Goal – Tomi Ameobi, assisted by Daniel Haber (FCC)
35’ Goal – Dekel Keinan, assisted by Daniel Haber (FCC)
73’ Goal – Forrest Lasso, assisted by Kenney Walker (FCC)
Photos via JES Photography
Just about the entire team took the field at some point in the game. Goalkeeper Mark Village was held out of the game, indicating that perhaps Spencer Richey and Evan Newton are the two names that could get the brunt of the work between the pipes. Defenseman (and birthday boy) Josu saw some playing time after sitting out the entire preseason to this point, the Spaniard finally back after recovering from off-season knee surgery. He played seven minutes after coming on for Laing near the end of the game.
This game was also somewhat of a reunion between Cicerone and NKU head coach Stu Riddle. Riddle was Cicerone’s head coach back when both were at the University of Buffalo from 2013 to 2016.
First 60 Minutes:
Ameobi (König – 45’)
Haber – Albadawi – Cicerone
Ryan – Halfhill
Smith – De Wit – Keinan – Bahner
Second 30 Minutes:
McLaughlin – Bone – Ledesma
Walker – Seymore
Laing (Josu – 83’) – Lasso – Barrett – Hoyte
FC Cincinnati finally…FINALLY…returns to the confines of the University of Cincinnati, but their next game will not yet be at Nippert Stadium. Instead, the Orange & Blue will play USL debutantes Nashville SC at Gettler Stadium on Saturday, March 3rd at 4PM. Tickets are still available for the tilt and can be purchased at the FC Cincinnati webpage.
Northern Kentucky will also get another game against a USL opponent on Saturday, as they will host defending USL champs Louisville City FC for a 1PM friendly. Just saying…
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 preseason.