Marquee signing Fanendo Adi debuted for the Orange & Blue on Saturday, but FC Cincinnati could only manage a frustrating 1-1 draw against future MLS rival Nashville SC. A crowd of 27,426 piled in for a weather-delayed match at Nippert Stadium, and they had a goal to celebrate less than a minute after the first whistle.
From the middle of the park, Nazmi Albadawi released Danni König down the right with an angled through ball. The Danish striker dribbled at Nashville’s defense, and pushed his solo run into the 18 yard box. The defender took away König’s right-footed side, so he gladly pivoted to his left and launched an accurate strike into the top left corner.
Nashville took control of proceedings shortly thereafter, claiming sixty percent possession at one point and creating several scoring opportunities. FCC’s defense clung to the early lead, and went into the break leading by a single goal.
At halftime Alan Koch said “we need to do a better job at possessing the ball. . .we’re sagging way too much, giving them too much space, and allowing them to play in our half.”
Possession evened out after halftime, but Nashville was still the aggressor. They attacked relentlessly down the left, delivering cross after cross into the box. FCC’s defense held on long enough for a special moment to occur in the 73rd minute.
Fanendo Adi, freshly signed from the Portland Timbers, entered the match and made his debut just five days after his transfer was announced. It was nearly a dream start for the striker, as Adi’s head connected with a Ledesma cross in the 81st minute. Nashville keeper Matt Pickens was up to the task though, and tipped the shot over the bar and safely out of play.
Nashville SC then got a reward for a match full of chances created. Lumbering striker Tucker Hume slotted an 85th minute strike past Evan Newton to level the contest. The Orange & Blue pushed for a late goal, but there wasn’t enough time, and the match ended in a stalemate.
Final Score: FC Cincinnati 1 – 1 Nashville SC
Despite the disappointing performance, the Orange & Blue added a point to their total and remain in first place. FC Cincinnati is undefeated in eleven games, and five points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh is lurking closely behind in second place. They dispatched the Richmond Kickers 3-0 at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night. FCC’s current unbeaten run now matches the team’s record unbeaten streak accumulated by John Harkes’ team in 2016.
Highlight of the Match
Danni König’s strike was the fastest goal in FC Cincinnati’s short history; just 28 seconds after kickoff.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) August 5, 2018
Quote of the Match
Alan Koch said the following in the post match press conference.
“We’re a team. We have been a team since the first day in preseason. . .This week was an emotional week for the group, for the club, for the fans, for everybody. It’s somewhat fitting that it ended up being an emotional night. We focus on the collective, . . . It was great to see Adi make his debut tonight.”
Stat of the Match
Nashville SC limited FC Cincinnati to just four total shots in the match. That’s FCC’s lowest total of the season by far. Prior to that their low on the season was 8 total shots, which happened on three occasions. It happened once against Indy Eleven in April and twice against New York Red Bulls II thereafter. FCC has only produced 5 on-target shots over the last two games at home, but still has a win and a draw from those two fixtures.
FC Cincinnati made four changes to the rotated lineup that featured in their last USL match at home, when they defeated NY Red Bulls II 2-1. However, they started the exact same lineup Saturday that featured against Nashville SC when these teams met just under a month ago at Nissan Stadium.
Ledesma – König (73′ Adi)
Albadawi (76′ McLaughlin)
Bone – Walker (67′ Gibson)
Smith – Lasso – Keinan – Hoyte
Next up is game number five of a six game USL home stretch. They will face Penn FC at Nippert Stadium for one of the two home Sunday matches this season. Note the 6pm kickoff time. Adding intrigue to that match is the return of former FC Cincinnati player Tommy Heinemann. The 31-year-old striker was controversially released by the club during preseason for medical reasons and makes his first return to Cincinnati since preseason.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.