UC 0 – 1 FC Cincinnati: Narrow Preseason Win at Snowy Gettler

A recap and match notes from FC Cincinnati’s 1-0 win over the University of Cincinnati Mens’ Soccer team on Wednesday, March 7th at Gettler Stadium.

Graphic Design by Connor Paquette

FC Cincinnati defeated the University of Cincinnati Mens’ Soccer Team by a 1-0 scoreline among flurries and frigid temperatures at Gettler Stadium on Wednesday. Russell Cicerone scored the lone goal of the contest in the 42nd minute.

The build-up to the goal came down FCC’s left side, as Daniel Haber found himself free with the ball and space to attack. He picked his target with a curling cross, finding the head of Cicerone who was making a delayed run into the box behind striker Tomi Ameobi. The firm nod beat the keeper to the right to give FC Cincinnati the lead going into halftime.

The Orange and Blue dominated for large portions of the match as expected, but had a difficult time turning opportunities into goals. The UC men played admirably overall, defending well in the first half and creating several good chances on the counter in the second.

Despite the chilly circumstances, a good crowd packed into the cozy confines of Gettler to take in the midweek preseason action.

Assistant coach Yoann Damet was on the sidelines for this one, with coach Koch out of town working on his USSF A license. Damet had the following to say after the match.

“The most important was to get minutes for everybody and to do a good review of the roster. We are happy, no injuries, it was a good game. We were able to see what we wanted during those 90 minutes. Conditions were tough, we have the cold especially, but I think it was a good exercise for us ten days before the start of the USL season.”

Key Events

42′ – GOAL – Russell Cicerone (assist Daniel Haber)

Photos via JES Photography

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Match Notes

FCC remains undefeated in preseason play. They now have four wins and two draws from six matches played. Nine players out of the starting eleven played for 70 minutes and led 1-0 when the second team rotated in.

Starting XI 
Ameobi
Haber – Albadawi (McLaughlin 45′) – Cicerone
Halfhill – Seymore (Walker – 45′)
Josu – De Wit – Barrett – Bahner
Newton

Jimmy McLaughlin replaced Albadawi at the start of the second half. Jimmy took up his customary position on the left wing, Haber flipped to the right wing, and Cicerone played the CAM role until the 70th-minute substitutions.

Second XI
Welshman
McLaughlin – Bone – Ledesma
Walker – Ryan
Smith – Lasso – Keinan – Hoyte
Newton

Lance Laing, Danni König, and Spencer Richey were all key absentees for this match.

What’s Next?

Alan Koch’s men now turn their attention to Saturday’s match, which is the last of the 2018 preseason. It’s the return leg of a pair of preseason matches with Sacramento Republic FC that started back in March of 2017. You may recall that a late Harrison Delbridge equalizer gave FC Cincinnati a 2-2 draw in this preseason fixture last year. Saturday’s contest will also give FC Cincinnati fans their first look at the new diamond-clad home jersey and will be played in the familiar confines of Nippert Stadium.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of the 2018 preseason.

FCC vs. Nashville: Goal Distribution, PK Concerns, and Goalkeepers

Analysis of FC Cincinnati’s goal distribution, defensive concerns, and goalkeeping battle after the preseason tilt vs. Nashville.

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FC Cincinnati finally made its 2018 home “debut” on Saturday before a sold-out throng of soccer-hungry fans, but there is one last week of preseason work before the team begins the harsh 2018 USL season. Let’s dive into how the team looks after its 2-2 preseason tie with Nashville SC.

Offense By Committee

The “closer by committee” concept may not exactly work for a baseball team, but so far, the idea of spreading around the offense is working for FCC. The goals by Lance Laing and Emery Welshman gives the squad 9 preseason goals in 5 games, and each has been scored by a separate player. So far, the midfield has scored the most (5), while the defenders and forwards have both scored twice.

Granted, a span of five games is a very small sample size, and we’ve only seen the team performing at a preseason level. But the distribution of goals could lead to some good results, especially if the offense scores at a click close to twice a game. Let’s consider some of the stats that came from the past two USL champions:

  • In 2017, Louisville City got 65 USL regular season goals from 17 players, even though their leading scorer (Luke Spencer) only had 11. By comparison, FCC only got 46 from 14 different players (Djiby with 15).
  • In 2016, New York Red Bulls II got 61 goals from 17 players, Brandon Allen leading with 15. While Sean Okoli led the league with 16, FCC only got a total of 41 from 11 players.

Simply put, the key to winning in the USL may be to not only score in high quantity but also to make sure the offense can come from any direction. One of the biggest problems FCC had last year was goal production outside of the forward position; 54% of the goals were scored by the forwards. That likely changes this year.

Preseason MVP?

The “Preseason MVP” is an absurd concept, but so far, we’ve seen some strong midfield performances, and if such an award existed, Lance Laing would garner a lot of votes. His movement along the left has provided speed and skill, and the crosses he’s delivered in previous games have been precise.

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Lance Laing

Laing’s goal from outside the box right before halftime against Nashville was deceptively filthy, catching the corner of the net past Pickens. While he put more shots on frame in the second half, Laing’s approach and hustle appeared to be contagious, as Blake Smith shook off a frustrating first half to burst up the side from feeds by Laing. Good things are happening on that side, which should also open Manu Ledesma on the opposite side of the field when the defense focuses on Laing.

Defensive Concerns

While it has been hard to let Harrison Delbridge leave for Melbourne City and watch Austin Berry retire, it’s safe to say that the FCC crowd has rallied behind the new pieces in the defensive line.

Early in the game, Dekel Keinan suffered a brutal and bloody injury over his right eye from contact during a header in the Nashville box. Keinan could have easily been taken out as a precaution. But after a few minutes on the ground, he patiently got medical treatment on the sidelines, then returned to the game to play a full 70 minutes. While it’s great to see Keinan stick it out, this was a scary moment that almost brought out the stretcher.

Let’s hope it’s merely a flesh wound.

While Keinan and Forrest Lasso played solid defense, the second squad’s late foul for a penalty kick is still a cause for concern. FC Cincinnati has given up only four goals in five games so far, but two have been from the penalty spot. The team will have to reverse the trend from last year, as they gave up many more penalty kick goals (8) than they created (3).

Who’s The New Mitch?

Spencer Richey looked relatively solid in net over the full 90 minutes, despite giving up a sun-screened first-half goal and a penalty-kick goal that went out of reach. So it’s still hard to say how Koch and goalkeeper coach Jack Stern will deploy the trio of goalkeepers this season.

On one hand, Richey has played the most minutes of all three goalkeepers and has played in all five games in some capacity. However, Richey and Village have both given up the four preseason goals, while Newton has not yielded any yet. An argument can be made that Newton hasn’t been fully tested yet, so it’s still difficult to make a final decision.

What we can assume is that it’s a two-keeper race for now, as Village appears to be in place for third on the depth chart. The game versus Sacramento should spell out the goalkeeping situation between Richey and Newton. Realistically, it appears that Koch can have more confidence in playing two goalkeepers than he did in 2017.

One More Week

The Orange & Blue will wrap up their preseason schedule this week with a match at Gettler Stadium versus the University of Cincinnati on Wednesday, followed by the first 2018 game in Nippert Stadium against Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday. By then, the team should be set in stone and ready to start the 2018 USL season.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press as we wrap up FC Cincinnati’s 2018  preseason slate.

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Richie Ryan

FC Cincinnati 2 – UC 0: Three Takeaways

FC Cincinnati topped the University of Cincinnati Mens Soccer team on a chilly night at Gettler Stadium. Three takeaways sum up Saturday’s match.

UC-Mansaray

FC Cincinnati played the University of Cincinnati Mens Soccer Team on Saturday, defeating the Bearcats by a 2-0 scoreline. Djiby Fall put the Orange and Blue out front in the 29th minute with a close range strike on a set piece delivered by Aodhan Quinn. Andrew Wiedeman sealed the victory in the second half, tapping in a rebound following a Victor Mansaray strike. For play-by-play details of the match’s events, see the FC Cincinnati match recap.

Photos

Photos courtesy of JES Photography/Joe Schmuck

Three Takeaways

Change Up – Before Saturday, Alan Koch had set the team up a 4-1-4-1 formation in seven of the eight halves played by FC Cincinnati. Against UC, he shifted to a 4-2-3-1 look for the duration of the contest. The two formations are not dramatically different, but the changes underline the experimentation with both formation and personnel that is continuing throughout the preseason.

Good To See You – Saturday’s match saw some familiar faces and some unfamiliar faces on the field for FC Cincinnati. Two players started the match that many fans have been wanting to see more from. Daryl Fordyce started in a central attacking midfield role, and Kadeem Dacres started on the wing. The match also saw two players return from injury. Omar Cummings and Derek Luke both entered the match in the 77th minute and got their first taste of preseason action. There were also two unnamed trialists on display in Saturday’s match. Alan Koch is looking to add depth to FC Cincinnati’s back line, especially in the wake of Austin Berry’s arm injury.

Djiby is a True Poacher – Djiby was on the score sheet yet again on Saturday, netting his third goal in five preseason contests. These are matches where he’s not playing the entire game either. Bear in mind that Fall is also reportedly more behind on fitness than most of FC Cincinnati’s players. He very easily could have had more than one goal last night and has the look of a true poacher.

FC Cincinnati puts a cap on its preseason next Friday against the Xavier Mens Soccer team in Norwood. Their opening match of the USL season is on March 25th away to the Charleston Battery. Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s preseason.