FC Cincinnati 1 – 1 Sporting Kansas City

Darren Mattocks scored the lone goal for FC Cincinnati from the penalty spot in the 19th minute. Sporting KC equalized in the second half,

Graphic: Connor Paquette

Darren Mattocks scored the lone goal for FC Cincinnati from the penalty spot in the 19th minute. Sporting KC equalized in the second half, playing with a rotated-roster after Thursday’s loss in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal. Their goal came from 16-year-old Gianluca Busio, who capitalized on a miscommunication between Spencer Richey and Greg Garza, passing an angled shot into an empty net. Both teams had several chances to do more damage but could not capitalize on the opportunities they created.

FC Cincinnati 1, Sporting Kansas City 1

Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio

Sunday, April 7, 2019


CIN – Darren Mattocks (penalty) 19’

SKC – Gianluca Busio (unassisted) 62’

FC Cincinnati: Spencer Richey, Greg Garza, Kendall Waston ©, Nick Hagglund, Mathieu Deplagne, Victor Ulloa, Leonardo Bertone, Roland Lamah (Kekuta Manneh 46’), Kenny Saief (Eric Alexander 77’), Allan Cruz, Darren Mattocks (Caleb Stanko 82’)

Bench: Jimmy Hague, Justin Hoyte, Alvas Powell, Frankie Amaya

Stats:  Shots 10, Shots on goal 4, Saves 3, Corner kicks 5, Offsides 2, Fouls 13, Possession 44.3%, Passes 408 (74.8%)

Sporting Kansas City: Adrián Zendejas, Rodney Wallace (Seth Sinovic 27’), Andreu Fontàs, Botond Barath, Gedion Zelalem (Felipe Gutiérrez 57’), Ilie Sánchez ©, Gianluca Busio, Kelyn Rowe, Yohan Croizet (Krisztián Németh 70’), Johnny Russell

Bench: Gerso, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Eric Dick, Tyler Freeman

Stats: Shots 18, Shots on goal 4, Saves 3, Corner kicks 6, Offsides 3, Fouls 11, Possession 55.7%, Passes 523 (81.6%)


SKC – Andreu Fontas (caution) 17’

SKC – Yohan Croizet (caution) 35’

SKC – Gedion Zelalem (caution) 38’

CIN – Greg Garza (caution) 78’

CIN – Leonardo Bertone (caution) 88’

SKC –  Botond Barath (caution) 90+3’

Referee: Ismail Elfath

Assistant Referees: Jason White (AR1) and Adam Garner (AR2)

Fourth Official: Ismir Pekmic

VAR: Jon Freemon

Weather: 71 degrees and cloudy

Attendance: 26,023

Three Things Kekuta Manneh Brings to FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati signed Kekuta Manneh on a free transfer from FC St. Gallen 1869. “Scooter” brings pace, connections, and American ambitions to FCC.


Age: 24
Position: Left Winger
From: Madiba Kunda, Gambia (U.S. citizen)
Former team: FC St. Gallen (SUI)
Value: $900K
Deal: Free transfer from St. Gallen and a trade with Columbus Crew for his MLS rights, including $250K in TAM and $50K in GAM. FCC could pay an additional $100K in allocation money based on Manneh’s performance.
Transfermarkt Profile

FC Cincinnati signed left winger Kekuta Manneh on a free transfer from Swiss Super League outfit FC St. Gallen 1869. The Gambian is 24 years old but comes with a wealth of first division experience, including 124 MLS appearances (74 starts) for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Columbus Crew. He scored 26 goals and delivered 14 assists between 2013 and 2017 while in the American first division. His standout MLS season came in 2015 when he made 32 appearances for the Whitecaps, scoring 7 goals and creating 5 assists. He also can boast eight MLS Cup playoff appearances, mostly as a substitute during his time with the Crew.

Manneh left MLS in 2017 after a season with the Crew and hasn’t found a great deal of playing time since his departure. He landed at powerhouse Pachuca of Liga MX during the 2018 Clausura, but only featured in 1 league match and 5 cup games. In the fall of last year he moved to Switzerland, but only featured in six of 20 Super League matches for FC St. Gallen 1869 during the 18/19 season. Kekuta Manneh arrives in Cincinnati looking to reignite his career in MLS where he has found success in seasons past.

Three Things Kekuta Manneh Brings to FC Cincinnati

FCC Connections

As a former Whitecap, Manneh has established connections with Alan Koch, Kendall Waston, Darren Mattocks, and especially FCC assistant coach and fellow Gambian Pa-Modou Kah. Manneh and Kah played together in Vancouver during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The video below kicks-off with a goal created by both players and highlights their relationship. It also features cameos by Kendall Waston and Darren Mattocks.

“Scooter” Has Pace and Finishing Ability

Former Whitecap teammate Darren Mattocks gave him the nickname “Scooter” in Vancouver because “he’s always buzzing around the pitch.” Apparently, Manneh wasn’t a fan of the nickname at first but has embraced it since. The moniker will likely be reinstated now that he’s joined the Orange & Blue.

Kakuta Manneh is a burner. He has pace. He can beat opposition players on the dribble, and can finish what he started. In the video above, Pa-Modou Kah comments. “He’s faster with the ball than without the ball . . . He’ll be one of the best Gambian players to have played this game.”

FC Cincinnati is not currently well-stocked with pacey players. Manneh certainly checks that box. He’s also a welcome addition to bolster FC Cincinnati’s attack. With Lamah and now Manneh on the left, that side of the Orange & Blue’s offense looks a lot more potent.

American Ambitions

Although Manneh is Gambian, and lived there until the age of 16, he is also a product of the American soccer development system. He moved to Texas upon his arrival in 2010 and played with U.S. Development Academy clubs as well as the famous PDL side Austin Aztecs. Manneh has aspirations to play for the USMNT and established residence in Washington during his time in Vancouver to pursue citizenship.

Kakuta Manneh realized his goal and became an American in the fall of 2016. Shortly thereafter, he was called up to the USMNT January camp under Bruce Arena. He hasn’t been capped yet but he’s another player on Alan Koch’s roster that could be in the mix for a national team call-up if he performs well for FC Cincinnati.

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

Preseason Draw, Mattocks, and Red-Hot Transfers

Brief takeaways from FC Cincinnati’s first preseason match against the Montreal Impact and a look at the red-hot end of January transfer market.

The Result

Results don’t matter in preseason, especially in the first game, but a draw in the first outing should give the team a little confidence if nothing else. Many of these players just met each other for the first time less than 10 days ago. So a 1-1 draw against an established MLS club, combined with no apparent injuries and our first goal makes for a decent first outing.

Koch gave us a list of desired outcomes pre-match, which included no injuries, gaining match fitness, developing relationships, seeing some players exceed expectations, and making mistakes. You can check most if not all of those boxes.

Darren Mattocks

It took Darren Mattocks less than 5 minutes of play in an FC Cincinnati jersey (or training top rather) to score a goal, and maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. Rooney’s arrival last season made him expendable at D.C. United, but Mattocks scored 10 goals in 25 appearances last year, 11 of which were as a substitute. His 2018 strike rate was 0.71 goals per 90 minutes, the best of his career.

Koch sang a familiar hymn post-match, that he’ll take goals any way he can get them. While it’s nice to play the beautiful game, that’s not realistic at this point. “If it’s a long ball and Darren uses his speed and ability to score a goal, it’s just as important as a goal with 25 passes. It takes a lot of cohesiveness and chemistry to score goals like that.” Koch said. Also, Forrest Lasso delivered a great ball for the assist, it must be said.

OK, that’s that. . .we weren’t in Bradenton, so there’s only so much to say about a match most people didn’t actually see. Next up, the Colorado Rapids face FC Cincinnati at 10:30 am on Saturday, February 2.

Hot Late-January Transfer Market

As the month of January comes to a close, the MLS transfer market is red hot. Plenty of moves involving big players and marquee clubs are unfolding. FC Cincinnati is entering the American first division at a time when the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been in terms of talent coming and going.

The sale of Miguel Almiron to Newcastle United for a fee believed to be $27M is today’s headline-maker.

Sebastian Giovinco, who is 32 and was approaching the end of his contract with Toronto, heads to Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia. In another move that is close but not done, D.C. United’s Luciano Acosta appears to be on his way to Paris Saint-Germain for a sum near $10M. The New England Revolution signed Carles Gil, a Spanish attacker once valued at over $7M. Out West, the Whitecaps land South Korean In-beom Hwang after a standout performance at the Asian Cup, in a transfer near the $2M mark. FC Cincinnati’s transfer business looks to be complete until the next transfer window, but could there be one more surprise left in Sassano’s bag of tricks?

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