Despite the marquee matchup between two teams with massive undefeated streaks, the beat goes on for FC Cincinnati. The Orange & Blue rolled with two first-half strikes and a hot defense to hold on for a 3-0 victory. The win stretches FCC’s undefeated streak to 13 games. Charleston’s loss is their first since their 2-0 loss to Richmond on June 9th, breaking an 11-game undefeated stretch.
Cincinnati busted the deadlock in the 21st minute. Emmanuel Ledesma dispossessed his opponent outside the Charleston box and fired a floater over goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky that scratched the crossbar on the way. His eleventh goal of the year gives him the team lead in goals and gave the team an early 1-0 lead. Up to that point, Charleston hadn’t trailed in a game for 1,012 minutes.
The Battery had their chances to equalize before halftime. Striker Ataulla Guerra almost added to his team-leading 12 goals, firing a shot at Spencer Richey that clanged off the crossbar. Almost as if sparked by the fortunate bang off the woodwork, FC Cincinnati flipped the field to score again during stoppage time. Nazmi Albadawi’s centering pass skirted by Emery Welshman to fool the defense. Corben Bone picked up the free ball, depositing the shot past Kuzminsky. His 4th goal of the season made the game 2-0 at halftime.
While the team came out with solid possession in the second half, FCC still could not shake the pesky Battery squad. Charleston tried invading from the right of Richey and almost found paydirt in the 67th minute. Patrick Okonkwo found himself alone in front of Richey, only for Forrest Lasso to slide-tackle the attempt out for a corner kick.
FC Cincinnati iced the game with an own-goal in second-half stoppage time. Albadawi’s crossing pass to Fenando Adi didn’t quite get to the big striker, as Skylar Thomas deflected the ball into his own net. With the win all wrapped up, all that was left was the whistle and a big “six-point win” to the boys in Orange & Blue.
Final Score: FC Cincinnati 3 – 0 Charleston Battery
FC Cincinnati has two months and 10 games left in the regular season, but a good deal of it is on the road. The win over Charleston, coupled with 0-0 home draws by Pittsburgh and Louisville, puts FCC up by seven points over their closest competitor. Charleston’s loss keeps them in third place, but they are no longer equal with the Riverhounds on points.
Highlight of the Match
While Bone’s first-half goal was the backbreaker, Ledesma’s beauty from outside the box got FCC on the board in fine fashion.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) August 19, 2018
Quote of the Match
Coach Koch came out for the abbreviated press conference to talk about the importance of getting out of the gate with “a good first 45 minutes”:
“I said on TV at halftime that this game is very interesting, because we were very happy with how we played in the first 45 minutes. But if Guerra’s shot goes in with a couple minutes left before halftime, it’s probably 1-1. . . .You’ve got to manage those moments. Thankfully, we didn’t give them that much tonight, and we thoroughly deserve the three points.”
Stat of the Match
While both teams went into this game with lengthy streaks, FC Cincinnati maintains theirs. The team has not trailed in the past 924 minutes. The last time FCC trailed in a game was back on June 13th, when Bethlehem held the lead for 37 minutes.
Koch opted to start some of the hot hands against Charleston. Paddy Barrett held the captain’s armband on the back line while Dekel Keinan rested a second-straight game, and Spencer Richey started his second-straight game in net. Fatai Alashe got his first start of the season, and Emery Welshman returned from suspension to start for Danni König.
Welshman (Adi 73′)
Ledesma – Albadawi – Bone
Alashe (Lahoud 62′) – Walker
Smith – Lasso – Barrett (c) – Hoyte
Of note: Ledesma picked up his eighth yellow card of the season, so he likely faces a one-game suspension against Atlanta United II next Wednesday.
After six games at home, FC Cincinnati finally pound the pavement and play on the road. The Orange & Blue travel to the southeast for a Wednesday tussle against Atlanta United II and a Saturday tilt against Tampa Bay.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for coverage of FC Cincinnati’s final ten games of the regular season.