There are just over two weeks left of preseason before FC Cincinnati’s March 17th St. Patrick’s Day opener against the Charleston Battery. Here are a few thoughts to share after fully digesting Tuesday’s 3-0 preseason rehearsal against NKU.
It’s preseason, so we’ll do the broken record thing—you can’t take too much away from this result. As many expected, FC Cincinnati earned the victory comfortably against an NCAA opponent. We’ve seen the Orange & Blue narrowly squeak by local college teams in past preseasons. So it was good to see them play above the level of their opponent and handle business professionally.
So Tuesday provided another win to mark down on the preseason schedule sheet. FCC is undefeated, with three wins and a draw in four matches played. The team also came away from the NKU match with no injuries, despite a few juicy challenges that forced the game to stop so players could receive treatment.
First Look at Tomi
Tomi Ameobi, FC Cincinnati’s new #9, made his debut performance for the club and looked decent enough. He started the match, played the first 45′, and put his name on the scoresheet after only 12 minutes. His size is notable. He looks physical and fast, and passed a litmus test by shrugging off several would-be tacklers throughout the match. It was a good start for Ameobi—he’ll take confidence from the early goal—so let’s look forward to seeing him play against USL-level talent in upcoming preseason games.
Emery Welshman and Danni König are also hunting for the honor of leading FC Cincinnati’s attacking line this season. Welshman had a few good chances to score against NKU shortly after coming on, including being denied by the woodwork in the 67th minute. He also was inches away from scoring against Indy Eleven last week, only to be denied by a fine Jordan Farr save. He’s getting into good positions and the goals should come, but he won’t want to let too many more chances go by, given the competition for starting places. I’m sure he’s professional and supportive of the squad and his teammates, but it’s got to be a little tough to see Tomi Ameobi immediately hitting the back of the net.
Of note: König picked up a minor injury over the past week, so his low minutes in this match don’t reflect negatively on his preseason performance.
Equal Time and Standouts
Alan Koch is still divvying up time very equitably across the squad. The two eleven-man units on Tuesday were similar to the groupings that played against Indy Eleven last Thursday. This time, however, Koch reversed the minutes, and the squad that got only 30 minutes last week got 60 minutes this week, and vice versa. One would expect this very equal distribution of minutes to fade some as we go into the last three preseason games.
There were a lot of players that looked good on Tuesday, and we should expect that given the opponent and the extent to which FCC controlled the game.
Daniel Haber was a live-wire again, especially during the first 45 of his 60 minutes. He terrorized the right side of NKU’s defense and added two assists to his list of accomplishments this preseason. Nazmi Albadawi was a tad quiet at the beginning of the match, but he came to life as the first half progressed. In his best moment, he changed directions outside of the 18-yard box in the 37th minute to elude a defender and strike on goal. He would have scored if not for a fingertip save by NKU’s Jim Barkei.
As for the group that played the last 30 minutes, Lance Laing was busy in the left fullback position, delivering lots of balls into the box and overlapping McLaughlin to occasionally penetrate deep into NKU’s defensive third. Forrest Lasso got the third goal and also provided some nice distribution from the back as FCC pushed wave after wave of offense at the Norse. When Forrest gets a head of steam in the box to attack a set piece, it’s something to behold.
It’s hard to draw many conclusions about the defense or goalkeepers from this match. There wasn’t too much action at FCC’s defensive end of the field, but that’s not to take away from NKU’s performance. The Norse played admirably against high-level competition and should take plenty of positives from the experience.
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press as we head into a tasty weekend contest against “new-to-the-party” Nashville SC.