Harrisburg City Islanders 1-1 FC Cincinnati: Four Numbers That Mattered

After 90-plus minutes of futility, a late goal from Jimmy McLaughlin rescues FC Cincinnati at the whistle.

IMG_0102
Credit: Harrisburg City Islanders

FC Cincinnati walked into FNB Field with a slight bit of momentum on their side from two positive home results and ten days of rest, but the ghosts of past away games still haunt them, needing a near-death goal from Jimmy McLaughlin in the 97th minute to escape from Harrisburg with a 1-1 tie.

Coach Alan Koch ran out a different-looking group than expected, resting up defensemen Matt Bahner and Austin Berry, while Corben Bone stayed in Cincinnati for the expected birth of his first child. The team welcomed the return of Aodhan Quinn and Kadeem Dacres to the Starting XI, sporting a 4-4-1-1 formation to shake the team’s poor away form.

The heavier defensive set worked well to keep Harrisburg off the board in the first half, but that focus on defense left the team threadbare in the front attack. The City Islanders managed to control the ball with 54% possession in the first 45 minutes, firing two shots on net, while Cincy could only manage corner kicks but no shots on net. The team also lost Tyler Polak again early in the game, as a hard tackle appeared to reaggravate an ankle injury in the 13th minute. Polak would be subbed off for Josu soon after.

Harrisburg came out of the locker room on fire after halftime, challenging Mitch Hildebrandt twice before the third chance—a left-footed strike by Jonathan Mendoza in the 52nd minute—beat the keeper’s left side for a 1-0 lead.

However, once given the lead, Harrisburg opted to take their foot off the gas. Djiby and Andrew Wiedeman were subbed onto the pitch in the second half, and both appeared to revitalize the team, helping get five shots off before Harrisburg showed any signs of fight. Harrisburg goalkeeper Brandon Miller was on point though and kept FCC off the board.

It appeared that Harrisburg had enough gasoline in the tank, but fouls and delays stretched the four minutes of stoppage time into six. Just before the whistle blew, Djiby deflected a long pass from Sem de Wit into the path of Jimmy McLaughlin, who managed to split the defense and pop the ball past a sprawling Miller, rescuing FC Cincinnati at the last possible minute.

The tie gives FC Cincinnati a round 9-9-9 record (36 points) and puts them in 7th place, while Harrisburg (7-7-14, 28 points) remains in 13th place, still barely in the hunt for the playoffs. Cincinnati returns this Saturday for their final home game of the season against a New York Red Bulls II squad before heading on the road for the last four.

Four Numbers That Mattered

3 – Number of goals that Jimmy McLaughlin has scored against his former USL squad. No wonder they call him “Pennsylvania Messi”—Jimmy Mac loves to score against teams from the Keystone State. Half of his 10 goals with FCC have come against Pittsburgh, Bethlehem, and Harrisburg over the past two years, and all three against the City Islanders have been clutch, coming at the 81st minute or later.

63’ – The minute that Djiby was substituted into the game. For much of the first half, Danni König was bottled up and frustrated by the Harrisburg back line, only managing a total of 15 touches in 63 minutes, but after his substitution was completed, Djiby managed to get 21 touches in only 34 minutes on the pitch, adding muscle and height to the front attack before deflecting a pass to McLaughlin for the tying score.

7 – The number of formations that Coach Alan Koch has used this season. The 4-4-1-1 formation was the first formation with a 4-man back line since June, and the lack of offensive spark in the first half showed that the team was not used to the new pattern. If Koch is going to get his team deep into the playoffs, he must figure out how this team operates best with an optimal Starting XI while resting up Berry, Bahner, and now Polak for a playoff run.

292 minutes – FC Cincinnati’s goalless streak on the road in the USL before their last-minute goal. While fans and pundits will remember FCC for their shutout streak during the 2017 U.S. Open Cup, their scoreless streak on the road is best forgotten. During their goalless streak over the past three-plus games, FCC gave up eleven consecutive away goals. While a 62-goal season is far out of reach, FCC must use their last four away games of the season to learn how to win again on the road, something they have only done twice all season.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more news, analysis, and color commentary on FC Cincinnati.

IMG_0102

Cheat Sheet: FC Cincinnati at Harrisburg City Islanders

An information graphic provides the vital details for Tuesday’s match between FC Cincinnati and the Harrisburg City Islanders. Plus, four fast facts

RMP_5304
Photo courtesy Ryan Meyer Photography
FC Cincinnati travels to Pennsylvania on Tuesday for a late season meeting with the Harrisburg City Islanders. This contest is one of five away games for the Orange and Blue in their last six matches of the USL season.

Harrisburg has to deal with a challenging three-day turnaround, having just played Saint Louis FC on the road Saturday. They earned a rare win in that match with a stoppage time headed-goal from Pedro Ribeiro. The City Islanders had lost five matches in a row before last night’s win.

Alan Koch’s side topped the City Islanders in late July by a 3-0 scoreline, in one of their more convincing performances of the season. Djiby, König, and McLaughlin all scored in a match that finished despite two lengthy lightning delays.

Alan Koch’s side is currently clinging onto eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 34 total points. Harrisburg resides near the bottom of the conference in 13th place on 27 points, having played one more match than FC Cincinnati.

FC Cincinnati will again benefit from more than a week of rest, and should be fully recovered from their US Open cup exertions that ended in August.

Don’t be late for the 6:30pm Eastern kickoff time.

Harrisburg-3-MatchUp.jpg

Here are four fast facts to get you ready for Tuesday’s contest.

  • The City Islanders have scored just 4 goals in their last 8 matches. However, all 4 were scored in their past 2 games versus Tampa Bay and Saint Louis FC.
  • Tuesday’s match is a great opportunity for FC Cincinnati to put daylight between themselves and Bethlehem and Pittsburgh. Both of those teams are just one point behind them in 9th and 10th place.
  • Kenney Walker is a two-way player and leads the Orange and Blue in assists (4), chances created (39), and tackles (92). He’s also second on the team in total passes with 1,116.
  • FC Cincinnati has conceded 10 unanswered goals on the road. They’ve also taken just 4 points from their last five games away from Nippert. They’ll need to turn that poor form around starting Tuesday if they want to secure a playoff spot.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of Tuesday’s contest.

RMP_5304

Match Photos: FC Cincinnati 3 – 0 Harrisburg City Islanders

Twenty-five images of FC Cincinnati’s victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders at Nippert Stadium on July 22nd, courtesy of Joe Schmuck.

IMG_0043-2
Photo Courtesy JES Photography / Joe Schmuck

Here are 25 images of FC Cincinnati’s 3-0 victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders courtesy of Joe Schmuck. When browsing the gallery below for any given image, a high resolution version can be found by scrolling down and clicking “View Full Size.”

Also see: FC Cincinnati 3 – 0 Harrisburg City Islanders: Four Numbers That Mattered

All images are copy write protected to safeguard the creative rights of our photographers. We’re very open to sharing our work with those who want to show support for FC Cincinnati. We simply request that you ask (via DM on Twitter or email) and give credit where it’s due. Thanks!

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s upcoming friendly against Valencia CF and the 2017 season.

IMG_0043-2

FC Cincinnati 3 – 0 Harrisburg City Islanders: Four Numbers That Mattered

FC Cincinnati returned to muggy Nippert Stadium and survived lengthy lightning delays for a solid 3-0 win over Harrisburg.

IMG_0110
Photo Courtesy JES Photography / Joe Schmuck

With the Queen City baking from the July heat, FC Cincinnati was tested by a spark plug Harrisburg team that had managed a solid run at home and had snuck into the playoff discussion. After two lengthy lightning delays that saw almost no rainfall, the boys in Orange and Blue sank the City Islanders with a 3-0 victory in front of 18,334 at Nippert Stadium.

While Harrisburg was coming into the game with the shorter week—having tied red-hot Charlotte 1-1 earlier in the week—the first 25 minutes were dictated by the away squad. The FCC defensive line was forced onto their heels with an early attempt in the 7th minute from a trailing John Grosh, only for Mitch Hildebrandt to smother it.

Lightning played a major part in this game, as both teams had to endure two lengthy breaks from threatening weather. After the first 67-minute break, FCC proved to be ready and refreshed. In the 32nd minute, Djiby pounced on a poor back-pass by the Harrisburg defense, switching feet on his defender and burying a left-footed shot for his 11th goal of the season.

In the second half, Cincinnati took advantage of Harrisburg’s offensive push to sneak behind the enemy lines again. After absorbing a midfield pass in the 70th minute, Djiby caught the D-line’s attention and fed a streaking Danni König, who fired a 5-hole under goalkeeper Brandon Miller’s legs for his 6th goal of the year.

After a second, shorter 35-minute lightning warning, FCC again capitalized from the break. In the 85th minute, Jimmy McLaughlin grabbed a feed from Kenney Walker to weave past his defender and peg his 2nd goal of the season, a right-footed strike past Miller, to completely shut the door on the City Islanders.

FC Cincinnati lifts their record to 8-6-6 and to 5th in the Eastern Conference table, while Harrisburg falls to 9th (6-5-9). After FCC welcomes Valencia CF, one of the cornerstones to the Spanish La Liga soccer league, to Nippert for a friendly on Monday, they will host the Rochester Rhinos for league play on Saturday.

Four Numbers That Mattered

102 minutes – The total amount of time taken up by the two lightning breaks. Normally, 90-degree temperatures with heat indexes in the triple digits would incur hydration breaks and pauses for cramping, but if anything, FC Cincinnati got progressively better from the weather delays. Two of the 3 FCC goals came within 5 minutes of the restarts, indicating that whatever took place in the locker rooms did its job for Alan Koch’s men. Could we have some of these breaks more often, Mother Nature?

+9 – While Harrisburg held a possession advantage (46/54), Cincinnati held the advantage in intercepted takeaways (18-9). Case in point—the heatmap below shows that Harrisburg preferred attacking on their right side, with forward Ropapa Mensah and midfielder Jake Bond controlling most of the possession.

FCC HAR Heat 072217
Heat Map via USL Match Center

However, compare that map with the map that displays interceptions. Whenever Mensah or Bond challenged the right, Cincinnati took possession back. Harrison Delbridge alone had 9 interceptions to reverse the flow of play.

FCC HAR Inter 072217
Graphic via USL Match Center

While possession may be a key to winning, FCC has shown that the ability to disrupt possession is just as important.

30’ – The time for the final shot on target for Harrisburg. Afterwards, Cincinnati dominated the shots-on-target stat, hammering 8 at goalkeeper Brandon Miller over the final 60’ of the game and getting 3 by him. Overall, FCC led Harrisburg in shots 15-11, taking advantage of Harrisburg’s defense-heavy 4-1-4-1 formation.

+11 – The goal differential for FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium in 11 USL home games (6W-4D-1L). So far, the stout defensive line has only conceded 8 goals at home all year and has not allowed a goal in the past 4 games (including the US Open Cup win vs. Chicago). The offense has picked up lately, but 19 goals at home means that the team has only scored 7 goals on the road over 8 games. If FCC wishes to hold and prove home dominance in the postseason, they’re going to have to show they can also score more on the road.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more news, analysis, and color commentary on FC Cincinnati.

IMG_0110

Cheat Sheet: FC Cincinnati vs Harrisburg City Islanders

An information graphic provides the vital details for Saturday’s match between FC Cincinnati and the Harrisburg City Islanders. Plus, four fast facts.

RD4_3475
Photo for header and information graphic courtesy of Ryan Meyer Photography
FC Cincinnati plays the first game of a three game league home stand on Saturday July 22nd against the Harrisburg City Islanders. The Orange and Blue should be rested and ready after vanquishing rival Louisville City 3-2 last weekend on a baseball field. It’s important to note that this home stand will be interrupted by two non-league matches. Alan Koch’s side will host a friendly against Valencia CF on July 24th, and travel for a US Open Cup quarterfinal match against Miami FC on August 2nd.

This will be the first time that FC Cincinnati has played Harrisburg in 2017. Last season, they beat the City Islanders 2-0 at Nippert. They also drew 1-1 with Bill Becher’s side in Pennsylvania.

Harrisburg currently sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference on 21 points. FC Cincinnati slots in two places above them in sixth, with both teams having played 19 games this season. Harrisburg has been in good form lately, winning three and drawing one in their last five played, including a recent 1-1 draw with the red hot Charlotte Independence. That draw halted Charlotte’s six game win streak.

The match against Charlotte was on Tuesday, and was Harrisburg’s fourth game in eleven days. FC Cincinnati should theoretically have fresher legs coming into this contest, despite also having a hectic schedule.

Alan Koch will be able to select from a healthy squad on Saturday, with one exception. Defender Tyler Polak suffered a foot sprain in the match against Louisville City.  He was scheduled to be re-evaluated on Wednesday evening, and may miss out on Saturday’s contest.

Harrisburg-MatchUp-3

Here are four fast facts to serve as a backdrop for Saturday’s contest:

  • Matt Bahner and Jimmy McLaughlin are the providers in wide spaces for FC Cincinnati. With 52 and 47 crosses respectively, they each have at least 26 more crosses than any other player on the team. McLaughlin leads FC Cincinnati in crossing accuracy for players with more than 5 crosses at 32%. Service please.
  • Saturday’s match will be one of two matches FC Cincinnati plays in 2017 that is a live test of Video Assistant Referee (VAR). “The VAR process consists of an additional referee positioned in a booth, and video technology is utilized through every available camera angle to advise the head referee of clear game-changing situations: goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and cases of mistaken identity.” [USL]
  • Harrisburg leads the USL in fouls conceded. With 305 fouls, they have 46 more fouls than any other team in the USL. Compare this to FC Cincinnati with 252 fouls conceded in the same number of games. Midfielder James Thomas is also second in the USL in yellow cards with 7. Physical Opponent.
  • FC Cincinnati likes to attack from close range. With sixty percent of the 2017 USL season in the books, the Orange and Blue have scored 23 goals. All 23 have been scored from inside the box.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of Saturday’s contest.
RD4_3475

FC Cincinnati vs Harrisburg City – Match Notes

FC Cincinnati defeated the Harrisburg City Islanders (no relation to the similarly named Flint Tropics) 2-0 in front of a crowd of just over 16 thousand at Nippert Stadium Saturday.

FC Cincinnati defeated the Harrisburg City Islanders (no relation to the similarly named Flint Tropics) 2-0 in front of a crowd of just over 16 thousand at Nippert Stadium Saturday. The result takes the Orange and Blue to 6-2-2 on the season and lands them in 3rd place in USL’s Eastern Conference.

Stand Outs

Mitch Hildebrandt had 5 total saves and 3 crucial saves to preserve FC Cincinnati’s clean sheet. Without a stout net-minding performance from Mitch, Harrisburg could have easily netted two goals in the contest.

Andrew Wiedeman had a highlight-reel goal in the 19th minute that featured some great offensive interplay between Bone, Wiedeman and Pat McMahon in the build-up. He almost found the back of the net again in the 48th when he tried to loop the ball over Broom from close range.

Wiedeman
Andrew Wiedeman coils before unloading for his 3rd goal of the season.

Antoine Hoppenot had a stirring impact off the bench and created the second goal, which iced the game. It seemed that early in the season the coaching staff might have had a starting spot earmarked for Hoppenot. He had a hard time making his mark and therefore has only featured off the bench in the first third of the season. He still has time to make a big impact and this performance will likely help him secure more time on the field, especially with more mid-week games upcoming. Full credit to Ugo Okoli for dispatching the penalty.

Takeaways

The crowd was stellar. Some doubt crept into our collective minds before this match, and rightfully so. Harrisburg’s small market. They’re not a rival. It’s Memorial Day weekend. Will people show up? They did, in force. It was a great atmosphere. Kudos Cincinnati.

Crowd-Harrisburg
Cincinnati showed up. This is going to keep happening.

It was a little silly how much talk there was about FCC being rusty after having one weekend off. It seems the rest was welcome and the team looked sharp on Saturday. That rest should continue to pay dividends as they head into two matches over the 7 days that follow the Harrisburg clash.

Harrisburg forward Aaron Wheeler behaved like an ass over the 52 minutes he was on the field. If the cheek-busting challenge on Delbridge and subsequent red card wasn’t enough, check out this bit of nastiness that happened just before half-time. Hopefully the USL deals with his conduct to good effect.

Harrisburg surprisingly did not try to heavily exploit FC Cincinnati’s wide areas. Paul Wilson and José Barril tried to play through the middle more often than not which I think played into the strength of FC Cincinnati’s formation and the solid midfield core of Tomaselli and Walker.

Much has been made of Andrew Wiedeman’s fantastic hair, and rightly so. It’s amazing both on and off the field. I think that it has to be mentioned at this point that Ross Tomaselli is a dark horse for best hair performance of the season. He’s a little more J. Crew to Wiedeman’s GQ, but stylish nonetheless. This is something we’ll have to pay attention to as the season progresses.

Match recaps are good and if you want play-by-play details of Saturday’s happenings check out these worthy sources:

Cincinnati Soccer Talk (full disclosure, I am a contributor and am totally biased)

FC Cincinnati Official, DJ Switzer

Scratching the Pitch, Chad Hollingsworth – USL Yoda

Cincinnati.com, Pat Brennan

This segment needs a better name than Match Notes. Sorry, I was low on creativity by the time I got to the title. Drop a note if you have a better name at orange and blue press.

Check out our about section and follow us on twitter @orangebluepress or on Facebook Orange and Blue Press.