FC Cincinnati 2 – 0 Richmond Kickers: Four Numbers that Mattered

Four numbers that mattered in FC Cincinnati’s league victory over the Richmond Kickers at Nippert Stadium on Sunday, July 9th.

Richmond
Photo courtesy of Ryan Meyer Photography

FC Cincinnati dispatched the Richmond Kickers by a 2-0 scoreline at Nippert Stadium on Sunday. Djiby scored the game winning goal for the Orange and Blue, his ninth in USL league play and twelfth in all competitions. The Senegalese striker gave the home side an advantage less than three minutes into the match. Kenny Walker served up a tasty long ball from midfield that split Richmond’s defenders. Djiby ran through one-on-one with the goalkeeper and struck with his first touch, finishing low to the keepers left.

Most of the match was played with FC Cincinnati controlling play and nurturing a one goal advantage. They created a litany of quality scoring opportunities and maintained over sixty percent possession for most of the contest. They found a second goal elusive nevertheless.

Richmond came to life with twenty minutes remaining and pressed hard for an equalizer. They pinned FC Cincinnati back for an eight minute stretch earning a series of dangerous free kicks and corner kicks. Alan Koch’s side held firm under the pressure though, and FC Cincinnati found an insurance goal at the end of regulation.

Danni König broke free on goal down the right side of the field. He dribbled into the box and shot on target, but Richmond keeper Matt Turner parried the ball away. The parried strike made contact with defender Brandon Troyer’s arm, and the referee awarded a penalty kick to FC Cincinnati.

A bleached-blond Aodhan Quinn stepped up and slammed the spot kick down the middle for a second goal. Frustrations continued though, because the referee disallowed that goal, and ordered the penalty kick to be retaken. Quinn finished twice under the pressure though, this time low and to the keepers left.

The converted penalty kick iced the game, and FC Cincinnati went on to win their sixth league match of the season. Five of those six wins have come at Nippert Stadium. FC Cincinnati moves up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference with the win.

Four Numbers that Mattered

90%+ – The passing accuracy of Corben Bone and Kenney Walker. The midfield duo controlled the middle of the park, combining for 193 touches and 157 passes. They each did so at over a 90% passing accuracy and were a big reason why FC Cincinnati dominated large spells of play during this contest.

76% – The percentage of FC Cincinnati’s shots that came from inside the box. In recent matches, the Orange and Blue have been held at arms length, with the majority of their shots on goal from coming outside the box. In this match they created quality chances at close range. If they would have been more clinical in front of goal, this match would have been settled early. Credit also goes to Richmond goalkeeper Matt Turner, who had seven saves on the night.

32 – The jersey number of Justin Hoyte. Hoyte is a veteran defender but one of the club’s newest signings. He stepped into the back three on Sunday in place of an injured Harrison Delbridge, who missed his second consecutive match. Hoyte was a key part of the clean sheet effort. He had 74 passes (3rd highest on the team) with a 92% passing accuracy. He won 4 duels, lost none, and made 2 clearances. Hoyte was in the back three against the Chicago Fire in the last match of the US Open Cup. It will be interesting to see if he gets more time in this role (as opposed to fullback/wingback) as the season progresses.

8 – The number of teams left in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, including FC Cincinnati. After earning a critical USL victory with a full-strength eleven on Sunday, the Orange and Blue now turn their attention to Miami FC in the Open Cup. Koch played a changed lineup against the Chicago Fire in the last round, then substituted on regulars like Walker, Bone, and Wiedeman later in the match. Will we see more of the same on Wednesday in Florida? In his post-match press conference, Alan Koch said the following.

This game is the worst possible preparation for Wednesday’s game, because it’s another game…we’ll have to rotate in some respect. We’ll have to make smart decisions on who is physically fit…the health of our players is paramount though.”

Match Photos via Ryan Meyer

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


 
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for coverage of Wednesday’s US Open Cup match and more news, analysis, and color commentary on FC Cincinnati.

Richmond

Bethlehem Steel FC 1 – FC Cincinnati 0: Three Numbers

FC Cincinnati played Bethlehem Steel FC for the second time in twenty-one days, and again came out on the losing side of the contest.

Beth-2-Header
Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Steel FC
FC Cincinnati dropped three points and earned another red card on Saturday when they fell to Bethlehem Steel FC at Goodman stadium in Pennsylvania. The Orange and Blue piled-up opportunities in this contest, and dominated the second half, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Substitute Andy Craven’s 95th minute red card is the team’s third in as many matches, and their fourth of the season.

Three Numbers

5 – The total number of shots produced by Steel FC in the match. Compare this to 21 total shots by FC Cincinnati. In the second half, the only shots on target for either team were the 2 produced by Bethlehem. One of the two was Hugh Roberts’ game winning headed goal that came from a looping cross in the 87th minute.

2 – The number of FC Cincinnati shots that hit the goal frame in the second half. Alan Koch’s team created quality chances and came agonizingly close to scoring the opening goal of the match. In the 75th minute, Corben Bone pulled a clever pass back to Andy Craven whose close range effort hit the crossbar. In the 82nd minute, Aodhan Quinn’s free kick ricocheted off the post.

The following graphic from the USL site courtesy of Opta shows FC Cincinnati’s 10 second half shots, all off-target. Shots that hit the goal frame are shots off-target.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 5.37.41 AM

8 – FC Cincinnati’s point total after seven matches played, putting them in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Compare this to the 13 total points FC Cincinnati earned after seven matches of their 2016 season. The Charleston Battery currently lead the Eastern Conference on that same total of 13 points. The down side of having a great inaugural season is that it set expectations very high for the current campaign, and will continue to be a point of comparison.


While the finishing and the red card were disappointing, this is a result where FC Cincinnati fans can feel a bit unlucky. The team was dominant for good portions of the match. They created enough chances to win. Had one of those two shots off the post gone in, today’s conversation would likely sound very different.

FC Cincinnati continues their travels next week. They will face the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium in Virginia next Saturday. Richmond currently sits in 12th place after a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Beth-2-Header

FC Cincinnati 1 – Louisville City FC 1: Game of Twos

Twos were the theme in FC Cincinnati’s derby day showdown with Louisville City FC on Saturday. Plus match photos and quotes from the stalemate at Nippert.

Quinn-Cover
Photo Credit: JES Photography / Joe Schmuck
FC Cincinnati played Louisville City FC to a 1-1 stalemate at Nippert Stadium on Saturday. The Orange and Blue equalized late to secure a point from a match that their rival had led since the 20th minute. Midfielder and former Louisville City FC captain Aodhan Quinn got the equalizer. Quinn respectfully didn’t celebrate the goal against his old club.

Alan Koch introduced Andrew Wiedeman and Daryl Fordyce in the 60th minute in an aggressive move to put pressure on LCFC’s defense. His team shifted to a 3-5-2 formation thereafter and it paid off with Quinn’s goal. Forward Djiby Fall was sent off for a dangerous tackle nine minutes after the equalizer and will miss next week’s game against Bethlehem Steel FC.

Game of Twos

Two goals were scored in the match, one for each side.
For the 2nd consecutive match FC Cincinnati conceded an early goal from a shot outside of their own penalty box.
For the 2nd consecutive match they’ve come from behind to equalize.
FC Cincinnati is now 2-2-2 after this result on 8 points.
FC Cincinnati has a +2 goal difference after the match.
2 red cards have been issued to FC Cincinnati over their past two matches.

Bitegate

After the match, Louisville City head coach James O’Connor accused FC Cincinnati forward Djiby Fall of biting Niall McCabe in the aftermath of the red card. There was shoving between the two players and their faces came together during the dispute. The angle of the video shows the back of McCabe’s head so it’s difficult to clearly tell what happened. The issue has been reported to the USL by LCFC. FC Cincinnati has issued a statement in defense of Djiby Fall, as reported by Pat Brennan. Stay tuned for more details on the USL’s review as this story unravels.

Update: Djiby Fall was disciplined by USL with a 1 game ban and a fine for the red card plus 5 additional games for major game misconduct.

Photos

Twenty five images of blackout derby day at Nippert courtesy of JES Photography / Joe Schmuck. For any given image, a high resolution version can be found by scrolling down and clicking “View Full Size.”

Quotable

Koch: “We were running on empty and Louisville were definitely the better team.”
This was the third match FC Cincinnati played in eight days. In contrast, LCFC had a full week of rest coming into the match.

Koch (of the substitutions in the 60th minute): “We pushed Daryl up front, …It was a tactical adjustment. It allowed us to get more bodies further up the field. And when you play direct, which we did in the last 30 minutes, you need to get more bodies around the ball.”

Koch: “We are getting very good at playing the last few minutes a man down. Hopefully that does not continue.”

Quinn: “I have a lot of respect for that club, the coaches, the players, they treated me so well there…there was no chance I was going to celebrate if I scored.”

Back to Bethlehem

FC Cincinnati remains in fifth place in the Eastern Conference after six matches played. In a strange scheduling twist, FC Cincinnati heads back to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania to take on Bethlehem Steel FC on their home turf for the second time in the space of 20 days. Why so soon and why are we playing Bethlehem three times this year? Only the USL scheduling gods know for sure.

Quinn-Cover

Preseason Battles to Watch – Central Midfield

FC Cincinnati retained last year’s central midfield starters and added three more in the offseason. Who will earn a starting spot in 2017?

Bone2

FC Cincinnati’s preseason continues on Saturday when they face the University of Cincinnati Mens side at Gettler Stadium. The squad returned to the Queen City this week and practiced in familiar settings after earning a last gasp 2-2 draw in Sacramento.

This article is the second in a series from Orange and Blue Press on preseason battles. The focus here is on the heartbeat of the team, central midfield. There are a lot of players in contention to start in these key positions.

Corben Bone – Corben Bone was FC Cincinnati’s Most Valuable Player of the 2016 season. He also was the tied for the team lead in assists last year with five. Bone started the 2016 campaign as the attacking central midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation. As the season progressed, he dropped deeper into midfield and was often responsible for picking the ball up from the defenders and staring the attack. In preseason, he’s played in a more advanced midfield position with Aodhan Quinn behind him.

Aodhan Quinn – Quinn joined from Louisville City in the offseason. Given his key role with FC Cincinnati’s rival in 2016, he’s expected to earn a spot in the starting 11. He’s played a lot in preseason, primarily as the “pivot” midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation. He’s a free kick specialist and has taken all the team’s free kicks when on the field. He also took and converted the penalty kick against Sacramento.

Kenney Walker – Walker played the midfield destroyer role in many of Harkes’ starting 11 lineups last season. He was the only starting midfielder with real bite in his tackle. He should not be pigeon-holed as just a defensive midfielder though. He is a complete box-to-box midfielder with vision and the ability to score from distance.

Eric Stevenson – Stevenson got a foothold in the team last June, displacing Ross Tomaselli who started 7 consecutive games at the start of the 2016 season. Stevenson scored a couple of phenomenal goals that were USL Goal of the Year contenders. He tallied four goals and three assists in only 1207 minutes played.

Marco Dominguez – Marco Dominguez joined FC Cincinnati this offseason in the wake of the dissolution of FC Montréal. The Canadian youngster is a defensive midfielder with buckets full of potential. He’s played in preseason as the midfield 1 in a 4-1-4-1, and will likely be the reserve option at that position while he continues to grow his game.

Here’s a look at these players stats from the 2016 season (including playoffs).

Player Age Appearances Mins Goals Assists Shots Shots on Goal
Corben Bone 29 31 2585 0 5 26 10
Aodhan Quinn 24 31 2611 3 5 30 10
Kenney Walker 28 27 2264 1 1 24 8
Eric Stevenson 26 27 1207 4 3 22 9
Marco Dominguez 21 15 1004 0 2 5 1

Stats from USL website.

The Best of the Rest

Andrew Wiedeman and Daryl Fordyce paired twice this preseason as the central midfield two in a 4-1-4-1 formation. It was an interesting combination, but is an experiment that does not seem likely to stick. Wiedeman returned to his normal right wing role against Sacramento. Koch needs to find a place for the talented Fordyce, but right now it’s not clear where that is. Paul Nicholson is listed as a midfielder, but is more likely the team’s third center back. He’s only played in defense this preseason, and will be needed there immediately given Austin Berry’s arm injury. Francisco Narbon was getting minutes off the bench for FC Cincinnati at the end of last season, but we’ve barely seen him in 2017. Aaron Walker made the team through the open tryout and is likely a depth player. In preseason, he has featured at left back rather than in midfield where the team needs cover with Derek Luke sidelined.

Prediction

Koch has a lot of options in central midfield and may continue to experiment, even early into the regular season. Corben Bone will be a starter. He’s likely the most complete midfielder of the bunch and is coming off a great 2016 season. Aodhan Quinn looks like a lock as the holding / pivot midfielder in the 4-1-4-1 formation. He’s got a great USL pedigree, has played a big role in preseason, and will take the team’s free kicks. Marco Dominguez will serve as backup for Quinn in that position. The final central midfield slot will then be a battle between Kenney Walker and Eric Stevenson. Look for Walker to get the nod initially with Stevenson pushing for minutes as the season progresses. Koch could rotate these two players depending on whether he’s looking for a more offensive (Stevenson) or defensive (Walker) look.

A big question mark in this equation is Daryl Fordyce. He’s a player with the talent to start for this club. It doesn’t look right now like he’s going to feature as a striker. Can Koch find a place to work him in as a very attack-minded midfielder?

Who do you think will start in central midfield for the Orange and Blue? Leave a message in the comments section below.

Bone2

Sacramento Republic 2 – FC Cincinnati 2: Takeaways and Third Kit Fever

Takeaways and match photos from FC Cincinnati’s preseason stalemate in California. Harrison Delbridge was the difference maker in his return to Bonney.

delbridge-header

FC Cincinnati played Sacramento Republic FC to a 2-2 stalemate at Bonney Field in a preseason showdown between MLS expansion rivals. Aodhan Quinn gave the Orange & Blue the lead in the 21st minute from the penalty spot. The home side then scored two unanswered in the second half to take a lead into stoppage time. Just before the final whistle, former Republic FC defender Harrison Delbridge headed home a late equalizer.

For a full review of the match’s events, see MLS Expansion Hopefuls Rumble in California.

Photos

Takeaways

Delbo’s Return – Harrison Delbridge had quite an impact in his return to Bonney. The foul against him in the 20th minute set up FC Cincinnati’s penalty kick goal. He then salvaged the draw with his last minute header. The Australian has picked up where he left off last season when he earned USL All League First Team honors. Delbridge was part of Sacramento Republic FC’s USL Championship team in 2014. Orange & Blue Press visited Republic FC’s headquarters on Saturday and found this picture of Delbridge near the 2014 Championship trophy.

Berry Worry – Preseason is about gaining form, fitness, and figuring out who the first eleven will be. It’s also about getting to March 25th without injuries. Unfortunately, Austin Berry left the match in the 55th minute after a challenge on Republic FC forward Trevin Caesar. Caesar’s foot appeared to catch Berry in the head. Before he left the field, the medical staff also appeared to be examining him for a leg injury. Paul Nicholson and Matt Bahner can provide cover at center back, but this is an area where FC Cincinnati lacks depth.

UPDATE: Berry has an arm injury. No word yet on the severity or how long he’ll be out.

Starting Eleven – This was the last match of preseason where FC Cincinnati will face professional competition. The eleven that started and featured through 70 minutes (noting Berry’s departure) are likely very close to the eleven that will line up against the Charleston Battery in the season opener.

Defensive Troubles? – No clean sheets and nine goals conceded in four games. It’s preseason so you can’t read into the stats too much. Both goals yesterday could be categorized as defensive mistakes though. For the first, Aodhan Quinn was caught in possession deep in FC Cincinnati’s own half.  For the second, Mitch Hildebrandt couldn’t retain Williams’ shot, although it was hard and from close range. The team showed good character to equalize, but the defense will need to tighten up before the USL kickoff.

Expansion Foes – Sacramento is one of 12 cities competing with Cincinnati for an MLS expansion slot. One strength of Sacramento’s bid is an approved stadium plan that will move forward if they are granted an expansion spot. It will be built at the Railyards site shown below. It’s a large undeveloped area on the north side of downtown Sacramento. The second of the two pictures is where the stadium would stand.

Third Kit Fever – FC Cincinnati unveiled a mostly black third kit with grey sleeves for the first time on Saturday. Here’s a couple of good shots of the new look in action.

What do you think about the new third kit?  Is it a must have addition to a closet full of FC Cincinnati gear, or a fashion miss?  Let us know in the comments section.

FC Cincinnati returns home for three weeks of practice before their opening match of the USL season on March 25th. During that time they will face both UC and Xavier for their final preseason tune-ups.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s preseason.

delbridge-header

FC Cincinnati Captures Louisville City’s Captain

On Friday afternoon, FC Cincinnati announced the signing of attacking midfielder Aohdan Quinn, former team captain of rival Louisville City FC.

quinn-cover
Aodhan Quinn faced off with Jimmy McLaughlin in FC Cincinnati’s 2-0 victory over LCFC last July

FC Cincinnati pulled off a major coup on Friday by completing the signing of Louisville City FC’s 2016 team captain Aodhan Quinn. Quinn joins former teammate Kadeem Dacres as the second player to head to “the show,” and move up from Louisville to Cincinnati this offseason.

FCC Press Release

Quinn is a three year veteran of the USL. He spent one year with pre-MLS Orlando City SC in 2014 before moving to Cincinnati’s Eastern conference rival Louisville City. The San Diego, California, native is a 6-foot tall attacking midfielder and free kick specialist who had 3 goals and 3 assists last season. Did I mention free kicks? Before Sean Okoli was making the SportsCenter Top 10, Aodhan Quinn was doing it.

The 24 year old Quinn is no stranger to the Buckeye State. He spent three years playing collegiately for the Akron Zips, where he was a MAC Hermann trophy (most valuable college soccer player) semifinalist in 2013. He was picked 52nd overall in the 2014 MLS Superdraft by the Philadelphia Union (another FCC player with Union ties along with Berry, Hoppenot, and McLaughlin), but was not signed to a contract.

Apparently Quinn got the funny coach when he was at the MLS combine, based on his 2014 Coaches’ Assessment:

“Quinn is a good all-around attacking midfielder who can score goals and keep possession. He’s developed solid technique over his college career,…Quinn’s best quality is his high workrate and his drive to succeed… and not a small amount of confidence. “Aodhan thinks he’s a lot better than he maybe is,” one coach says.” [MLS]

Aodhan’s father, Brian Quinn, is from Belfast, Ireland, and spent time in the English Premier League with Everton during the early 80s. He then moved to the US to play in the NASL and MISL. He also made 48 appearances for the US national team.

Aodhan Quinn made 28 appearances last year captaining LCFC to a 2nd place Eastern Conference finish and a trip to the final four of the playoffs. With his talent, leadership, and experience, he’ll likely go straight into the starting eleven…but who will he displace?  Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Want to re-live a little of that 2-0 victory over Louisville from last July? Find it here.

Quinn-Cover.jpg