FC Cincinnati 1 – 0 Penn FC: Three Points to Celebrate the Club’s Third Anniversary

Design: Connor Paquette / Image: Ryan Meyer

FC Cincinnati continues to beat the teams they should beat. The home side did just enough to edge Penn FC in front of 24,249 “White-Out” fans on the club’s third anniversary celebration at Nippert. For the second match in a row at home, the Orange & Blue kept their fans in suspense until the end.

The first half performance was disjointed from the start. Nazmi Albadawi took a hard elbow to the mouth in the ninth minute, damaging his mouth and teeth. Dealing with the result of the knock seemed to impact the ability of the team to find a decent rhythm. Even though they had a slight edge in control, FCC’s play was erratic with limited quality possession.

Toward the latter part of the half, FCC had several decent opportunities. In the 42nd minute, Emmanuel Ledesma’s cross across the six yard box was cleared across the end line. On the ensuing corner, Paddy Barrett’s header ricocheted off the cross bar. Although far from threatening, Penn FC went into the half with a 7 to 2 advantage in both total shots and crosses. Only one of the shots found its target, but was saved easily by Spencer Richey. The sides entered halftime 0-0.

The intensity of the match changed in the second half when Alan Koch brought on three substitutes. First, in the 58th minute, Kenney Walker relieved Albadawi, who never seemed to fully recover from the injury to his mouth. Fan favorite “Penn Messi”, Jimmy McLaughlin, subbed in for Russell Cicerone in the 68th minute. Koch made his third and final substitution in the 77th minute when Fanendo Adi came on to make his second FCC appearance, replacing Danni König.

Of the nine shots the Orange & Blue created in the second half, six came in the final 30 minutes. Only two of these were on target, but it only took one to secure the win. Following some decent possession and combination play, Ledesma was decked by Penn FC defensive stalwart and captain Ken Tribbett, who justifiably earned a yellow for the infraction. This set up an attractive scoring opportunity in the 80th minute. Ledesma lined up his strike and released a bullet that deflected off of an unlucky Lucky Mkosana, finding the left corner of the net.

The final ten minutes of the match were eventful with both sides exchanging missed opportunities and blocked shots. As the game neared its end, Adi had a terrific chance to notch his FC Cincinnati first goal but was felled in the box by a Penn FC defender. To his, and the crowd’s dismay, no penalty was awarded. Instead of a foul, the match official blew the final whistle.

Special mention to Paddy Barrett for his play Sunday night. Possibly inspired by learning moments before the match that he would wear the captain’s arm band, he logged in a stellar performance –  5 tackles won, 6 recoveries and 5 clearances.

Final Score: FC Cincinnati 1 – 0 Penn FC

Standings Update

With less than 10 weeks remaining in the regular season, FCC added 3 more points to their season total (48) to maintain a five point cushion on Pittsburgh SC and the Charleston Battery. Tonight’s win extends FCC’s current unbeaten streak to twelve (8-0-4), setting a new franchise record.

Highlight of the Match

With the only tally of the match, it’s no surprise that Ledesma’s 80th minute goal is your highlight of the match. This strike takes him to 10 goals (tied with König) and 10 assists for the season.

Quote of the Match

During the post match press conference, when asked about the team’s unbeaten streak, Emmanuel Ledesma remarked:

“A lot of team work, a lot of hard work. During the game, during the week, we keep the same intensity. The way we train is the same way you play. So, it’s a lot of confidence . . . I’m thinking about football, it’s about confidence. When the confidence is high, you can do whatever you want. ”  

Stat of the Match

The stat of the match is 10 – as in the 10th clean sheet of the season that Spencer Richey and the backline earned for the club, Richey’s second of the USL season.

Who Started?

Alan Koch made three changes to the line-up that FC Cincinnati deployed during their last match when they drew Nashville SC 1-1. Richey returned to the net making his sixth USL start of the season. Barrett replaced Dekel Keinan in the back four and Russ Cicerone also joined the starting XI in place of Kenney Walker. The other change of note was Koch’s decision to play a 4-3-3 attack minded formation.

Ledesma – König (77′ Adi) – Cicerone (68′ McLaughlin)
Bone – Lahoud – Albadawi (57′ Walker)
Smith – Lasso – Barrett – Hoyte

What’s Next?

Next up is the final home game of a six match USL home stretch for Orange & Blue. USL  Coach of the Month for July, Mike Anhaeuser, brings his Battery to Nippert for a rematch of the season’s opening game.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.

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