FC Cincinnati got back on track on Saturday by beating Ottawa Fury FC 2-0 in front of 27,107 at Nippert Stadium. Danni König gave the Orange & Blue the lead in the 16th minute of play, finishing off a delicious cross from Blake Smith in a move that showcased FC Cincinnati’s controlled buildup play. Alan Koch’s side dominated possession in the first half against a defense-minded Fury FC, but they opened themselves up to a handful of threatening counters. The back line snuffed out the danger though, and FCC went into the halftime break with a 1-0 advantage.
Fury FC came out with intent in the second half. They broke out of their defensive shell, won an improved share of possession, and threatened goal, mostly from a series of set pieces earned in the middle portion of the second half. FC Cincinnati’s defense, organized by Dekel Keinan and benefitting from the safe hands of Evan Newton, held under the pressure. Nazmi Albadawi capped off a professional performance with a sensational goal in stoppage time. Corben Bone broke free of Ottawa’s defense deep on the left side of the field. He floated a precise cross into the path of Albadawi, who volleyed from just outside of the center of the box to double the score. Game over.
Final Score: FC Cincinnati 2-0 Ottawa Fury FC
FC Cincinnati remains on top of the Eastern Conference with the win, six points clear of Pittsburgh who has 2 games in hand. Pittsburgh was inactive on Saturday. Rival Louisville City FC sits in third and continues to struggle. They drew 3-3 with NY Red Bulls II at home after leading the match 2-0 at halftime. They haven’t won a game in their last 5 played.
Highlight of the Match
The buildup play to the first goal was eye-catching, but Nazmi Albadawi’s volley to ice the game in stoppage time will be a USL Goal of the Week contender.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 1, 2018
Stat of the Match
Mike Lahoud had the second most total passes on the team with 69, at a staggering 97.1% passing accuracy. He had 48 passes in the first half and didn’t miss a single one. He didn’t actually miss a pass until the 62nd minute of play. Lahoud played a critical role as the lone central defensive midfielder in FCC’s diamond 4-4-2. He replaced Richie Ryan who is has been a stalwart in that role, but is out 3-6 weeks with a lower leg injury.
Quote of the Match
Alan Koch was asked about his feelings on the team’s performance at the halfway point of the season.
“I’m not comfortable, I’m never comfortable, unfortunately. I’m very happy with the group because we put a really new group together this year, and obviously it takes time to build. But through 17 games, I’m very proud of every player in the group — how they’ve come in and they’ve responded to the challenges we’ve thrown at them, . . .Very happy, but we’re not comfortable because we know we’re only halfway.”
Alan Koch made five changes to the lineup that started midweek in the draw against Toronto FC II.
Ledesma (78′ McLaughlin) – König (90’+5 Haber)
Bone-Walker (69′ Welshman)
Smith – Keinan – Lasso – Hoyte
The Orange & Blue have a week to recover and prepare for their first ever regular season match against Nashville SC at Nissan Stadium on Saturday, July 7th. Nashville sits within striking distance of FCC in fourth place. The contest pits Alan Koch’s side against a USL newcomer and future MLS rival.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.