Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0 – 0 FC Cincinnati: The Unbeaten Streak Continues

Graphic: Connor Paquette

FC Cincinnati worked hard to get a point, but they drew the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0-0 at Highmark Stadium on Saturday. The result brings FCC to a remarkable 22 matches unbeaten which ties the USL record, an honor shared with Richmond Kickers. The point takes the USL regular season champions to 76 total with one match left to play.

As expected, defensive strengths dominated the pitch for both sides. In the first half, Pittsburgh pushed the attack and outshot FCC 11-3. Even though possession numbers showed FC Cincinnati with the slight advantage, they created few meaningful scoring chances. Emmanuel Ledesma gave the Orange & Blue its first real opportunity in the 13th minute, curling a left footed strike to the far post but not out of reach for Pittsburgh keeper Dan Lynd. Fatai Alashe missed a golden chance in the 35th minute, receiving Corben Bone’s through ball in to the box, only to push his shot wide of the net. The Orange & Blue defensive fortress held off the Pittsburgh Riverhounds’ attack, keeping the game level into the break.

The second half was consistent with the first, and both squads held their ground defensively. FC Cincinnati had its best chance of the half when forward Emery Welshman made contact with Dan Lynd in the penalty area in the 62nd minute. No foul was given as the referee waved off the apparent infraction. The 0-0 score would stand and FC Cincinnati once again showed they can manage games and earn points. They simply refuse to lose.

Having already secured first place, the Orange & Blue will play out these remaining games, utilizing their depth and preparing for the playoffs. Playing teams like Pittsburgh, that need results, is the best way to get themselves ready for a quest for the 2018 USL Cup.

Final Score: Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0 – 0 FC Cincinnati

Highlight of the Match

In perhaps FC Cincinnati’s best chance of the match, Corben Bone threads the needle to Fatai Alashe, who shoots first time, . . . only to go wide, into the side-netting.

Quotes of the Match

Alan Koch had the following to say about the result and the historic achievement:

“I’m satisfied tonight. I’m not happy or ecstatic with the result, but I’m satisfied with the performance, how we all managed the game, and how the players managed to get through it….we tied a historic record, so that’s a nice accomplishment for the entire group.”

Spencer Richey’s gave his take on not breaking as a team and getting the clean sheet:

“They did some things that caused us some problems, especially out in wide areas. They were trying to overload us on sides, and we struggled a bit to manage that.  (Pittsburgh) got in behind and they got some cutback opportunities.  But, you know, at this time of the season it’s about bending and not breaking and we did that tonight, so we’ll take the shutout.”

Standings Update

FC Cincinnati had first place locked-up prior to this match and are 16 points clear of the pack in the East with one match remaining in the regular season. Nashville SC and New York Red Bulls II picked up important victories on Saturday, while Indy Eleven and Bethlehem Steel FC played to a 1-1 draw.

Who Started?

Welshman (82′ Cicerone)
Ledesma – Bone (64′ Albadawi) – McLaughlin
Lahoud (72′ Gibson) – Alashe
Smith – Lasso – Barrett (C) – Hoyte
Richey

What’s Next?

FC Cincinnati returns to the road next Saturday and plays their last regular season match of 2018 at Nashville SC. NSC is one of only two teams in the Eastern Conference that the Orange & Blue have not defeated during the regular season (the other is Bethlehem Steel). With Nashville SC lingering around the eighth spot in the East, FC Cincinnati will want to finish the regular season with a positive result against a potential playoff opponent.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s last match of the 2018 USL season, and their run in the USL playoffs.

Graphic: Connor Paquette

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