FC Cincinnati extended its unbeaten streak to ten games in a chippy, rainy night at Nippert Stadium. The Orange & Blue delivered a total team win in front of 23,602 vocal, soaked fans. For the second time this season, FCC was able to outlast the young, talented New York Red Bulls II squad 2-1. While the scoring came in the first half, the action was intense throughout and the match came down to the wire.
The Baby Bulls started the game with the better possession, energy, and chances. Spencer Richey was ready for the task and wisely came off his line in the 15th minute to snuff out a Tom Barlow breakaway. Just two minutes later, FCC gained its first corner kick and chance of the match. Against the run of play, the Orange & Blue were able to claim the lead when Emmanuel Ledesma placed his corner perfectly off of Forest Lasso’s head at the near post for his second goal in two games.
In the 23rd minute, Corben Bone barely missed when he cut the ball back and shot wide of the near post with his right boot. Red Bulls II came down the pitch, earned a free kick from 35 yards out, and were able to equalize off a set piece of their own. Unfortunately for Danni König, the shot deflected off his head and into the net for an own goal.
The first half scoring was not over. Ledesma once again illustrated his precision with the ball, delivering a long range free kick directly into the path of the surging Paddy Barrett. Paddy headed it home for his first tally in the Orange & Blue kit, regaining the lead for the home side.
Although the rain tapered off slightly in the second half, the chippy play did not. Both teams battled hard with three additional yellow cards being issued by the head referee. FC Cincinnati was able to manage the game and fend off a late surge by the Red Bull II attack. A little luck was needed in the 92nd minute when Barlow’s left-footed shot from a cross ricocheted off the inside of the crossbar and fell safely back into play.
Final Score: FC Cincinnati 2-1 New York Red Bulls II
FC Cincinnati’s fifth victory in a row at home enables the Orange & Blue to further distance themselves at the top with 44 points after 21 matches. FCC now stand 9 points clear of Charleston after their 1-0 win at Pittsburgh. The Riverhounds fall to third place in the East with the loss to the Battery, and are now 10 points behind, with three games in hand. The Baby Bulls drop to 5th place after tonight’s loss, falling a point behind Lou City.
Highlight of the Match
For the second match in a row, both FCC goals were the result of set pieces. Ledesma skillfully delivered both dead ball situations, increasing his team and league lead for assists with 10. Both goals were of high quality, but it was the Irishman Barrett’s first goal as a FCC player that proved to be the game winner, and the fourth straight goal by a FCC center back.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 22, 2018
Quote of the Match
Paddy Barrett had the following to say about the squad’s depth on a night when he opened his account for FC Cincinnati.
“That’s a credit to this coaching staff. We’ve got 25 players that, no matter what 11 you put out each week, you could put it up against any team in this league and we’re a lot of confident lads … we go out with confidence and get three points, no matter who comes here.”
Completing the third match in just eight days, Koch once again tapped into his deep roster and made 5 changes to the team that started against Charlotte mid-week. Spencer Richey replaced Evan Newton in goal, making his fifth start of the season. Paddy Barrett and Matt Bahner joined the back four in place of Dekel Keinan and Justin Hoyte. Nazmi Albadawi and Danni König returned to the starting line-up. In addition, Koch tweaked the stating formation, placing the squad in an attack-minded 4-3-3.
Ledesma (83′ Ciccerone) – König (90+2′ Ameobi) – McLaughlin
Albadawi – Walker – Bone (90′ Seymore)
Smith – Lasso – Barrett – Bahner
Barrett and Blake Smith both picked up yellow cards in the game, their 3rd and 4th respectively. Koch brought on three late substitutes, Russell Ciccerone, Will Seymore and Tomi Ameobi.
Before returning to USL action in two weeks against Nashville SC, the Orange & Blue will host their third international friendly next Saturday. FC Cincinnati faces another Spanish Primera Division side when RCD Espanyol come to town. The Catalonia-based side finished 11th (mid-table) in La Liga last season and are working several new player signings into their squad.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.