FC Cincinnati continued their torrid road pace by blanking North Carolina FC 2-0 in Cary, NC on Saturday. This is FCC’s fourth clean sheet on the road this season; the third by Evan Newton in nine starts. FCC moves to 26 points (8-3-2 record) with the win and solidifies their Eastern Conference leadership position. They are now 8-1-2 against anyone not named Louisville City.
The “Dead Whales” from North Carolina FC played a livelier match than three weeks ago and out-shot FCC 20 to 12. However, the Orange & Blue were able to strike fifty percent of their shots on target, while NCFC could only place twenty-five percent of their shots on frame. NCFC pushed the festivities over the first 26 minutes. Fortunately, a hydration break was called, allowing FCC to regroup and climb back into the match.
In the 37th minute Russell Cicerone, making his first USL start of the season, created the opening highlight for FC Cincinnati. He beat one defender on the dribble, then cut the ball inside firing a bullet on goal. North Carolina FC’s Greek keeper, Alex Tambakis, made a fine save but his punch went straight into the air. Danish forward Danni König was in perfect position salivating to get his head on his sixth tally of the season and 17th overall. Danni is now FC Cincinnati’s all-time leading goal-scorer, moving one ahead of Sean Okoli and Djiby. Here is the history making moment.
REPLAY: A fantastic bit of work by @R_Cicerone7 on the flank sees him work a shot that tests Tambakis, and @DanniKonig is there to clean it up to put #FCCincy in the lead! #NCvCIN | 0-1 pic.twitter.com/9BiZQbnxA2
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) June 9, 2018
The second half started in a similar fashion with North Carolina FC pressing and searching for the equalizer. The Orange & Blue absorbed pressure most of the second half before they found a second. Except . . . the offside flag was raised and Emery Welshman, who entered the match two minutes earlier, had a goal disallowed. FCC found their two goal cushion three minutes later when fellow second-half substitute Jimmy McLaughlin put his name on the score sheet. He cleaned up some fine work by Nazmi Albadawi and Welshman, finding the back of the net.
Although the glamour always goes to the goal scorers, special mention must go to the defense for securing the win. Evan Newton made save-after-save and the entire back line helped to deliver the clean sheet. Lasso and Barrett were especially good in the middle of defense deflecting, clearing, and heading out any enemy foray. This center-back duo now has four wins in four attempts. FCC’s depth at this position has proved vital to the team’s success this season.
Final Score: North Carolina FC 0 – 2 FC Cincinnati
26′ – YELLOW CARD – CIN – Emmanuel Ledesma
37′ – GOAL – CIN – Danni König
52′ – YELLOW CARD – CIN – Danni König
72′ – YELLOW CARD – CIN – Justin Hoyte
87′ – GOAL – CIN – Jimmy McLaughlin
Alan Koch continued to use the club’s deep roster to his advantage. Although Corben Bone was initially listed as a starter, Michael Lahoud instead joined Richie Ryan in the defensive midfield. The biggest roster move though came in the form of Russell Cicerone getting a start. His eagerness to take on defenders and ability to get wide on the right impacted the match mightily.
FCC will be without playmaker Emmanuel Ledesma for the next match as he picked up his fifth yellow of the season in the first half. What appeared to be a normal FCC corner kick led to fan behavior that Manu took offense to. When the corner kick was not taken in a timely fashion, the match official brandished a yellow card for delay. Justin Hoyte also picked up a yellow card for time wasting in the second half when he hesitated on a throw-in.
König (82′ Welshman)
Ledesma – Albadawi – Cicerone (McLaughlin 73′)
Lahoud (61′ Bone) – Ryan
Smith – Lasso – Barrett – Hoyte
FC Cincinnati returns home for two matches next week at Nippert Stadium. First, they face an in-form Bethlehem Steel FC squad on Wednesday. That match is followed by the season’s first contest against the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, June 16th.
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more analysis of Saturday’s result and continued coverage of another busy week for FC Cincinnati.