FC Cincinnati used a plethora of first-half strikes to roll to their third-straight win, beating Atlanta United 2 by a 4-2 scoreline. The wet atmosphere failed to put a damper on the home team, who capitalized on two Manu Ledesma goals to pass Louisville City and move into first place.
The first 25 minutes was predominantly owned by FCC’s possession, but the floodgates soon opened from two similar plays. Emmanuel Ledesma chased down a pass that skirted through the defensive line in the 26th minute, then passed to a streaking Danni Konig for an easy tap-in. FCC doubled the lead when Ledesma again broke past the sleeping defense, grabbing a Blake Smith pass to beat the keeper in the 28th minute.
Atlanta refused to give in and quickly earned a goal just minutes afterward. A foul from Dekel Keinan led to a deflection in the box from the free kick. Jon Gallagher then pushed it past Spencer Richey to make it a 2-1 game.
Cincinnati and Atlanta exchanged goals again later in the half. Corben Bone struck for his third goal in three games in the 38th minute, but a stray pass from Justin Hoyte fell to Laurent Kissiedou, who fired it past Richey for a 3-2 halftime score.
The second-half scoring started before the fans knew what happened. Goalkeeper Nicolas Caraux failed to clear from a charging Konig, and the pass fell to Ledesma. The midfielder struck a shot past Caraux for a quick score to make it 4-2.
Much of the second half involved crisp passing that helped FCC whittle down the clock, and the match yielded surprisingly few yellow cards. Guido Gonzalez Jr. provided quite a fair game, carding only three players all night. By the time the final whistle blew, FCC had passed Louisville City FC in the standings, who lost earlier in the day to Indy Eleven, 1-0.
26′ – GOAL – Danni Konig (CIN) (Emmanuel Ledesma assist)
28′ – GOAL – Emmanuel Ledesma (CIN) (Blake Smith assist)
30′ – YELLOW CARD – Dekel Keinan (CIN)
31′ – GOAL – Jon Gallagher (ATL) (AJ Cochran assist)
37′ – YELLOW CARD – Laurent Kissiedou (ATL)
38′ – GOAL – Corben Bone (CIN)
41′ – GOAL – Laurent Kissiedou (ATL)
46′ – GOAL – Emmanuel Ledesma (CIN)
87′ – YELLOW CARD – Andrew Carleton (ATL)
König – Ledesma (Welshman 65′)
(diamond) Bone – McLaughlin (Lahoud 71′) – Ryan – Walker
Smith – Lasso – Keinan – Hoyte
Goalkeeper Evan Newton missed his third-straight match with a day-to-day hip injury, and midfielder Nazmi Albadawi missed his second game in a row due to his own rib injury.
FC Cincinnati had only one yellow card all night, an amazing achievement in itself, considering the referee. However, that yellow card was Dekel Keinan’s fourth this year. His next yellow card will lead to a one-game suspension for accumulation.
FC Cincinnati rises to 5-1-2 (17 pts) and occupies first place, although Louisville City has a game in hand. Atlanta United II loses their third-straight game and falls to 1-3-3 (6 pts), slipping down to 13th place.
The Orange and Blue are once again on the road, travelling to Charlotte for a Saturday matchup against the Independence to kick off the “Queen City Cup” challenge. Charlotte lost 2-0 to Charleston on Saturday and currently sits in 10th place in the standings.
Check Orange & Blue Press on Sunday for our Deeper Cuts analysis of Saturday’s result, and coverage of next week’s gameday in North Carolina.