Alan Koch and team extended their impressive unbeaten streak to fourteen with a 5-1 thrashing of Atlanta United 2 on Wednesday. The Orange & Blue are on a roll, and have won six of their last seven matches, and seven of 11 played on the road in 2018. They were without leading goalscorer and talismanic playmaker Emmanuel Ledesma for this match. The Argentine maestro was sidelined, serving a one game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Alan Koch made three changes to the side that beat Charleston convincingly four days earlier. The changes included a debut for Pa Konate, the Swedish left fullback recently acquired from Serie A side S.P.A.L. Another storyline heading into Wednesday’s match was the goalkeeping selection for the home team. FC Cincinnati’s former U.S. Open Cup hero, Mitch Hildebrandt, minded the nets for Atlanta United 2 against his former team, and had an evening to forget.
FC Cincinnati was the early aggressor and opened the scoring in the 18th minute of play. Emery Welshman held the ball up in the box, then laid it off to Corben Bone. The Plano, TX native fired through traffic, and his deflected shot looped over Hildebrandt and into goal. Nazmi Albadawi then doubled FCC’s fun just seven minutes later. Jimmy McLaughlin’s penetrating run attracted Atlanta’s attention on the right-hand side. He dished to Nazmi in the box, who took a touch and delivered a blistering strike into the corner. Hildebrandt had a decent look at the shot and might have done better. Alan Koch’s team comfortably managed the rest of the first half and went into the break two goals to the good.
Just eight minutes after the whistle that started the second half, FC Cincinnati thumped in another pair of goals. Fatai Alashe, recently loaned from the San Jose Earthquakes (and signed to an MLS contract), grabbed his first goal in Orange & Blue, cleaning up a rebound from a close-range Nazmi Albadawi shot. Albadawi then secured his brace by scoring again just two minutes after Alashe’s goal. The score was 4-0 to FC Cincinnati and the rout was on.
Atlanta United 2 got a consolation goal in the 65th minute. Fullback Shawn Nicklaw beat Spencer Richey with a thunderous long-range effort that found the top right corner. Not to be outdone, FC Cincinnati added a record-setting (most goals-scored in a FCC game) fifth when Emery Welshman struck with just three minutes remaining in regulation.
Final Score: Atlanta United 2 1-5 FC Cincinnati
A fire alarm from an apartment building near to Coolray Stadium rang throughout the end of the first half and most of the second, inspiring the title of this match recap.
The second-place Pittsburgh Riverhounds dropped points on Wednesday after Tampa Bay came from behind to secure a draw at Highmark Stadium. Louisville City FC now occupies third after a convincing 3-0 victory over the Charlotte Independence. FCC is now 9 points clear on top of the USL’s Eastern Conference.
Highlight of the Match
Nazmi Albadawi scored two goals on a night where the big question was how would FCC’s offense perform without Emmanuel Ledesma.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) August 22, 2018
Quote of the Match
Fatai Alashe had the following to say about getting his first goal for FC Cincinnati in just his second start for the organization.
“Whenever a game goes like this, you want to get yourself on the score sheet – especially early in my move here. It’s nice to get a goal. I told my mom before the game I’d score so I’m sure she’s pretty happy about that. It’s a good start and it’s positive so we’ll look to continue it.”
Stat of the Match
FC Cincinnati had 19 total shot in this match, with 10 on target for a 52.6% shooting accuracy. That ties FC Cincinnati’s highest total of the season for shots on target, and is FCC’s second highest shot total for a game in 2018. Their high shot total and high shooting accuracy paid dividends and resulted in the first five-goal game in FC Cincinnati history.
FC Cincinnati made three changes to the starting eleven that featured last Saturday against Charleston. Pa Konate made his FC Cincinnati debut, replacing Blake Smith at left back. Captain Dekel Keinan returned to the starting eleven after missing two matches with a minor injury. Finally, Jimmy McLaughlin deputized for the suspended Emmanuel Ledesma.
Bone (55′ Cicerone)- Albadawi – McLaughlin
Alashe (71′ Lahoud) – Walker
Konate (61 Smith) – Lasso – Keinan – Hoyte
FC Cincinnati continues its road trip on Saturday with a visit to Al Lang Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Tampa Bay has recently fallen from their place as one of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams. However, FC Cincinnati has never won or even scored a goal against the Rowdies in Florida. They will look to change that narrative this weekend in the Sunshine State.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.