FC Cincinnati defeated the Charleston Battery by a 1-0 scoreline at MUSC Health Stadium in their season opener on Saturday. Goalkeeper Evan Newton turned in a mind-blowing five-save performance to keep a clean sheet and secure all three points for the Orange and Blue. Newton was the overwhelming Man of the Match (MOTM).
The opening goal of the match, and of FC Cincinnati’s season, came from an unlikely source in the 18th minute. Corben Bone played a delicate through ball to Emery Welshman inside the box. Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper rushed off his line to smother the opportunity. Welshman beat Cooper to the ball and flicked it at goal. His touch deflected off Cooper and the rebound fell to Cincinnati fullback Blake Smith who slotted it into an empty net to give FCC a 1-0 lead.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) March 17, 2018
The first half was evenly played until the final 10 minutes when the home side really applied the pressure. Newton made his first, and most impressive save of the match, in the 40th minute to deny Charleston midfielder, Kotaro Higashi. He sprawled to his right and denied Higashi’s close-range volley with an iron right hand.
The second half began like the first half ended, with Charleston applying unrelenting pressure to FC Cincinnati’s goal. The Orange and Blue defense bent but did not break. Newton was unbeatable in goal and Lasso and Keinan toiled in defense to clear a barrage of Charleston attacks. Newton’s superb reaction save off of Ian Svantesson’s header in the 66′ kept the Battery off the score sheet. Alan Koch made critical substitutions in the 68th and 72nd minute. He introduced König for Welshman and Seymore for Corben Bone. FCC was able to maintain a better balance of possession after that, and salt away the game. A Charleston red card to fullback Quinton Griffith in second-half stoppage time added insult to injury. Although Charleston controlled possession 55/45 and outshot FC Cincinnati 24 to 9, the final score is what mattered. Charleston 0 – 1 FC Cincinnati.
18′ – GOAL – Blake Smith (unassisted)
51′ – YELLOW CARD – Ataulla Guerra (CHS)
63′ – YELLOW CARD – Lance Laing (CIN)
80′ – YELLOW CARD – Jared Van Schaik (CHS)
85′ – YELLOW CARD – Forrest Lasso (CIN)
90+2 – YELLOW CARD – Danni König (CIN)
90+2 – RED CARD – Quinton Griffith (CHS)
90+7 – YELLOW CARD – Richie Ryan (CIN)
There weren’t any major surprises in the starting eleven. The eleven that started are the players that the preseason rosters and training sessions have been pointing to. Some eyebrows were raised when Will Seymore replaced Corben Bone in the 72nd minute, instead of Nazmi Albadawi.
Welshman (König 68′)
Laing – Bone (Seymore 72′) – Ledesma (Haber 90′)
Walker – Ryan
Smith – Lasso – Keinan – Hoyte
Jimmy McLaughlin missed the 18 altogether due to a shoulder injury he sustained in the match against Sacramento Republic FC.
No injuries were sustained during the match, although Richie Ryan did go down twice for treatment. In the first half he was accidentally kicked in the face by Kotaro Higashi, and in the second half he collided with Guerra and suffered an apparent ankle injury. He continued to play until the final whistle without problems.
One and done, at least for two weeks. Alan Koch’s men get a fourteen-day respite to assess their opening day victory and regroup before the inaugural I-74 derby between FC Cincinnati and Indy Eleven. Although the early bye is perhaps frustrating for fans, it will be valuable time for this team to continue to gel and recover from a handful of minor injuries in the squad.
Check in tomorrow for our fully digested take on Saturday’s result, and stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.