FC Cincinnati 2-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies: Bonus Track

Image: Joe Craven

The Bonus Track segment is an abridged version of Orange & Blue Press’ Deeper Cuts series. It takes one or two components of a recent match and breaks it down in more detail.

The FC Cincinnati faithful were rewarded Saturday evening with as solid a display of 90 minutes of fútbol as we’ve seen this season. FCC created the best chances in the first half and went on to dominate the second half, resulting in a 2-0 blanking of the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The first win in five attempts versus the iconic American soccer franchise keeps the Orange & Blue atop the table.

The Orange & Blue Laundromat

Since the MLS announcement was made in late May, FCC has rolled off an eight-match USL unbeaten streak. Possibly even more impressive in this time frame are the five clean sheets the club has collectively earned, including three straight. Evan Newton and his back line have apparently opened a laundromat, specializing in clean sheets. They have not allowed a goal in over 285 minutes, the second-longest stretch in club history.

Newton now has 7 clean sheets in 15 USL starts this season. He has improved his goals against average to 0.87 goals per match and a save percentage of 75%. These statistics only trail Matt Pickens (Nashville SC) and Daniel Lynd (Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC) this season.

A key component to last night’s clean sheet can be seen in tackles won and lost between the two teams. FCC won an astounding 94% of their tackles (16 of 17 tackles won) as compared to the Rowdies 70% (7 of 10). The Orange & Blue captain Dekel Keinan led the team with four successful tackles. Blake Smith and Kenney Walker closely followed with three each. The physical and resolute FCC defense limited the Rowdies attack to only three shots on target, all by Jamaican international Junior Flemmings.

The Beauty in the Build-up

Goals win matches and are typically what we savor in highlight packages. However, sometimes the teamwork that creates the opportunity surpasses the final touch and celebration. The beauty in the build-up to both FCC goals is deserving of further accolades and breakdown.

First, let’s deconstruct the creative build-up that led to the opening goal of the match. The scoring opportunity starts at midfield with Forrest Lasso playing a ball to a wide open Corben Bone along the left flank. The overlap, spatial awareness, and interplay between Bone and Blake Smith creates the necessary space for Bone to deliver a sublime in-swinging cross to Emmanuel Ledesma’s head. The June USL player of the month out-jumps two defenders and converts his ninth goal of the season.

The lightning-quick counterattack resulting in the second goal may have been even more stunning. In the 84th minute, Bone cleverly controls the ball off his chest and taps it forward to Danni König. König drops a pass to Nazmi Albadawi, who spots Emery Welshman. Welshman, who just entered the match, receives the pass in stride and quickly draws two defenders down the field. The Canadian forward lays a perfectly-weighted through-ball to the trailing Dane. König drills the wonderfully timed pass with his left foot inside the cross bar to equal Ledesma with his ninth of the season.

Arguably two of the best team goals we’ve seen in 2018.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for a busy week of coverage as FCC hosts the Charlotte Independence on Wednesday and the New York Red Bulls II squad on Saturday.

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