FC Cincinnati extended its unbeaten streak to nine games and exterminated some ghosts in the process. The Orange & Blue got some vengeance for their only road loss earlier in the season by defeating Charlotte 2-0. While the Independence claim this year’s Queen Cities Cup on a 4-3 aggregate, FCC now has four straight shutouts and six in their last eight games.
FCC marched out a similar lineup from Saturday and got out to a flying start. In the 7th minute, Emmanuel Ledesma fired a corner kick that found Forrest Lasso’s forehead, only for the ball to clang off the crossbar. However, Dekel Keinan swept up the crumbs to push the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.
In the 20th minute, FCC finally got their first set piece of the season into the goal. Lasso bent down for a Kenny Walker cross in the box to beat goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra. The defender’s first goal of the season gave Cincy the 2-0 lead that lasted the rest of the game.
While the second half was without offensive sparks, there was still plenty of opportunities. Charlotte’s best chance came in the 60th minute—a free kick from Jay Voser almost skirted past both teams, but Evan Newton dove to his left to pad the ball aside. Ledesma almost gave FCC a three-goal lead in the 78th minute with a stellar Olympico from the corner, only for the goal to be blown dead from a foul. FCC wasted away the remaining time to collect all three points.
Final Score: FC Cincinnati 2-0 Charlotte Independence
FC Cincinnati still sits atop the table, extending their lead to seven points over idle Pittsburgh. The Riverhounds face third-place Charleston on Saturday, giving FCC a chance to extend their edge over at least one of these teams. Charlotte remains in eighth place.
Highlight of the Match
Both goals were the result of beautiful set pieces, but Lasso’s goal at least gave the big kid a chance to dance.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 19, 2018
Quote of the Match
Coach Alan Koch addressed what the team had taken from the 4-1 loss in Charlotte and applied to tonight’s game:
“(The Independence) are a team that is very, very good at finding space. You could see that tonight. When they did find space, they looked dangerous, so we took the space away from them, and we nullified all of their strengths. That’s what we learned from the last game.”
Koch provided two changes to the team that started against Tampa Bay last Saturday. The formation was also more of a 4-2-3-1 setup, with Jimmy McLaughlin replacing Nazmi Albadawi and Emery Welshman on for Danni König.
Ledesma (Albadawi 89′) – Bone – McLaughlin (Cicerone 76′)
Walker – Lahoud
Smith – Lasso – Keinan – Hoyte
Of note, Ledesma and Welshman both picked up yellow cards in the game. Ledesma’s card is his 7th of the season, putting him at risk of getting a two-game suspension with his next card.
Ain’t no rest for the weary—the Orange & Blue suit up for the third time in eight days on Saturday against New York Red Bulls II. New York has won three straight after a 2-1 victory over Bethlehem Wednesday night. FC Cincinnati has beaten the Baby Bulls in their last two games, the most recent being a 2-1 win on the road in June.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.