Louisville City FC 0 – 1 FC Cincinnati: Gritty Derby Win Clinches Top-Four Finish

Graphic: Connor Paquette / Image: Ryan Meyer

FC Cincinnati extended their winning streak to six in a row and are now 17 games unbeaten after a 1-0 victory over Louisville City FC on Tuesday. More importantly, the win secures a top-four spot in the Eastern Conference and guarantees at least one home playoff match.

Tuesday’s contest was the continuation of this weekend’s postponed match, which was halted due to lightning and heavy rain. The contest resumed in the 38th minute with the Orange & Blue leading 1-0. With just seven minutes left to be played in the first half, FC Cincinnati absorbed pressure, especially during stoppage time, and went into halftime with the same 1-0 lead.

Louisville City came out determined to equalize in the second half. They poured numbers forward and introduced three new players, including former FCC man Luke Spencer, in an attempt to get back into the game. John Hackworth’s team attacked, targeting the left side of FC Cincinnati’s defense, and created a number of threatening chances.

Louisville’s best opportunity of the second half came in the 59th minute when midfielder George Davis IV created room on the right to put in a dangerous cross. Spencer Richey clawed it away from goal, but directly out to the center where Speedy Williams was waiting. The net gaped, but Williams’ shot sailed well over the crossbar. To give credit where it’s due, Williams was quickly put under pressure by Barrett and Walker which forced a rushed shot.

Spencer Richey came up big on several occasions, dealing with well-placed crosses and adding an additional save to the four he made in the first half of the match. FC Cincinnati made substitutions of their own, introducing Tyler Gibson, Fanendo Adi, and Jimmy McLaughlin in the last 21 minutes of regulation. The fresh legs aided the effort to keep possession, attempt an occasional counter-attack, and waste time.

A goalless continuation on Tuesday gave FC Cincinnati a final Derby River Derby win on the road, and their sweet reward is a home playoff match at Nippert.

Final Score: Louisville City FC 0 – 1 FC Cincinnati

Standings Update

FC Cincinnati continues to lead the Eastern Conference and the USL with 63 points. They are now out of reach of twelve teams and can finish no worse than fourth, clinching a top-four finish in the East. They are fourteen points clear in the East and have 9 more points than Western Conference leaders Orange County SC, having played one less game.

Highlight of the Match

Here’s an alternate field-level view of Corben Bone’s game winning goal from Saturday’s portion of the contest.

Quote of the Match

Spencer Richey’s performance over the two matches was noteworthy, especially his four saves during the miserable conditions on Saturday. He has a the hot hand lately in the net, and had the following to say after this match.

“Obviously this game has got a bit more to it, being Louisville and especially down at their place. A bit of a strange one playing the first 40 on Saturday and then coming down tonight and having to finish it off. Any result you can get, whether you play well or not — we didn’t play great tonight or on Saturday — we’ll take, and especially away from home.”

Stats of the Match

17 – In the final regular-season Dirty River Derby ever, FC Cincinnati found a way to win and extend their unbeaten streak to match Louisville City’s record unbeaten streak of 17, set during the 2016 season.

8% – Louisville City’s shooting accuracy* in Tuesday’s continued portion of the contest. The home team had 12 total shots on Tuesday but just 1 was on target. Spencer Richey rose to the occasion against Lancaster for that 1 shot, and his five saves overall preserved the clean sheet. FC Cincinnati’s defense did block three of those 12 second-half shots.

Louisville City’s 12 shots during the continuation of play on Tuesday. The green arrow represents the only shot on-target.

Who Started?

Both teams started the same XI that left the field in the 38th minute on Saturday, despite being allowed to make three changes from Saturday’s eleven. FC Cincinnati’s entire 18 was the same as Saturday.

Welshman (74′ Adi)
Bone (69′ Gibson) – Albadawi – Ledesma (83′ McLaughlin)
Alashe – Walker
Smith – Lasso – Barrett – Hoyte
Richey

What’s Next?

Up next on the official schedule, FC Cincinnati will take on USL D3-bound Toronto FC II at Nippert on Sunday. FCC will look to avenge a late collapse in Toronto in June that led to a surprise draw against the bottom-feeders in the East.

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

*Shooting accuracy is a calculation of ahots on target divided by all shots (including blocked attempts).

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