FC Cincinnati has now been crowned the USL Regular Season Champions for the 2018 season. The Orange & Blue extended their winning-streak to nine in a row and are now 20 games unbeaten after winning 4-1 against the Richmond Kickers on Wednesday. The win takes them to a total of 72 points after 31 matches played.
With bad weather creeping into the area, FC Cincinnati took to the field against the 15th place Richmond Kickers on Wednesday night. From the opening whistle FCC showed its intentions, as Corben Bone got an early look at goal and fired a bullet just wide. Canadian forward Emery Welshman could not be tamed, as he streaked past the Richmond back line with ease creating his own chance just minutes later. FC Cincinnati’s relentless attack produced the first goal in the 16th minute. Midfielder Nazmi Albadawi collected a loose ball inside the box and tucked it in just past the Richmond keeper.
In the 32nd minute, the FCC defense got caught out of position and Richmond striker Heviel Cordovés found his way into the box, slotting the ball past Evan Newton to tie the match.
FC Cincinnati quickly responded and magician Emmanuel Ledesma achieved the Olimpico, scoring from a corner, to put the Orange and Blue back on top. The Argentinian was not done yet, and four minutes later he was given enough space to bend a stunner into the far post. The 3-1 lead would last through the end of the first half.
With the threat of severe weather imminent, the second half started. As the conditions became sloppy, the play also turned sloppy for both squads. With lightning detected in the area, the game was stopped in the 59th minute, with FCC still up 3-1.
After an hour delay, play resumed and so did the pressure from the Orange & Blue attack. Forward Emery Welshman capped off a stellar performance by picking off a pass and driving into the box. The Richmond keeper had no chance as the Canadian striker calmly finished to make it 4-1. That goal sealed the win, and the USL Regular Season Championship for FC Cincinnati.
Final Score: Richmond Kickers 1 – 4 FC Cincinnati
One thing is for sure. FC Cincinnati earned the USL Regular Season Championship on Wednesday with three matches remaining in the regular season. What we don’t know yet is who they will face in the first round of the playoffs. Take a look at FCC’s totals versus the rest of the pack.
Highlight of the Match
As he has done all season, Emmanuel Ledesma delivered another stunner. The fabled, Olimpico.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) September 26, 2018
Quote of the Match
Alan Koch had the following to say about celebrating FC Cincinnati’s USL Regular Season Championship.
“It’s amazing to see the guys that you go to work with every single day — players, staff, everybody — just absolutely ecstatic. Everybody is going nuts. It’s the epitome of what we do every single day. We’ve all sacrificed so much to achieve this. We’re all incredibly proud of everybody, we’re excited to share this moment with some of our fans that were here tonight and we can’t wait to get back to Cincy.”
Stat of the Match
31% – The overall dominance by FC Cincinnati was evident in nearly all areas of the pitch. Recently, they have not dominated total shots however, but tonight was a different story. FCC outshot the Richmond Kickers 19 to 12 and continued to show clinical finishing prowess. Of their 13 unblocked shots, 4 found the back of the net for a 31% conversion rate, which is 10% higher than their league leading conversion rate of 21%.
Alan Koch made six changes from the side that beat Penn FC 2-1 last Saturday. Evan Newton, Paddy Barrett, Kenny Walker, Nazmi Albadawi, Fatai Alashe, and Justin Hoyte all joined the starting eleven Wednesday night.
Welshman (86′ König)
Bone (92′ Konate) – Albadawi – Ledesma (75′ McLaughlin)
Walker – Alashe
Smith – Lasso – Barrett (C) – Hoyte
FC Cincinnati returns home to Nippert Stadium as champions for the final home game of the USL regular season. They’ll face I-74 rivals Indy Eleven for the third time this season, and will look to close out their home schedule in style on “Fan Appreciation Night.” A probable sellout crowd will witness the crowning of the champions, as the league trophy will be presented at the match. They’ll then finish the regular season with two away games to complete the schedule before the playoffs begin.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.