Cheat Sheet – FC Cincinnati vs Charleston Battery

FC Cincinnati’s Saturday matchup with the Charleston Battery is summed up in one page.

CHAS-MatchUp-v5

FC Cincinnati will be looking for revenge on Saturday when they face the team that handed them a stoppage time loss in their first ever game in USL league play back on March 26th. Both teams are coming off their best win of the season and will be eager to take all 3 points to keep pace with the Eastern Conference leaders.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue press for our Recap Roundup and Match Notes segments. Credit is due to 6th Day Soccer whose consolidated tables make it easy to glean metrics like FC Cincinnati’s 1.95 points per game average referenced in the Matchup graphic above.

For those who like numbers, a little more below. In short, these teams are quite evenly matched.

CHAS-Back-To-Back-v2

 

FC Cincinnati vs NYRBII – Match Notes

Key events, interesting stats, quotes and photos from FC Cincinnati’s 2-1 loss to NY Red Bull II.

FC Cincinnati lost 2-1 to New York Red Bull II at Nippert Stadium on Wednesday. The Orange and Blue conceded two goals after the 80th minute to lose grasp of a lead earned by Jimmy McLaughlin earlier in the second half. For play-by-play details of the games’ events, see the articles featured in the recap roundup.

The conclusion of this match was brutal. I felt like a husky kid who did all his chores, saved up enough money to buy a whole load of candy, and just as I was starting to unwrap the first piece, some muscle-bound guy from New Jersey (think the Situation) kicked me in pants and stole every last treat…then I was immediately run over by a scooter while the driver mumbled ciao out of the side of his mouth…then it started raining as I lay there in disbelief, …acid rain. You get the idea. Tough loss. Let’s keep this brief as there are better days and important matches ahead.

Photos

Match Notes

FC Cincinnati were put under heavy pressure in the first half and were fortunate not to concede a goal. Credit is due to the team for keeping the game scoreless and adapting to the 13th minute injury to Kenney Walker, a critical component of the FCC midfield. Walker suffered a turf related injury to the arch of his foot that affected his ability to plant and push off, forcing the substitution.

Injuries are mounting in central midfield for the Orange and Blue. Corben Bone started Wednesday but was just returning after missing the Crystal Palace friendly. Ross Tomaselli was injured in that same friendly and unavailable for this match. Paul Nicholson is a defensive midfielder by trade and can cover if Walker can’t go Saturday. That would mean Austin Berry likely needs to start and play the bulk of 2 full matches over 4 days though. Let’s hope Walker’s injury is minor.

This was a physical contest with 28 fouls called and 6 yellow cards issued between the two teams. It was also a game littered with refereeing controversies. One critical decision went against FCC in the 52nd minute, when a high boot to the face of Austin Berry didn’t result in a second booking for NY forward Junior Flemmings.

The foul given at the top of the box against Harrison Delbridge in the 81st minute, which precipitated the first goal, was also very questionable.

Team captain Austin Berry, who is just returning from injury, was substituted off in the 80th minute due to fatigue. The two goals were conceded in the 6 minutes that followed. His departure was not the reason the goals were conceded. Berry commented himself that he was basically out of gas and the substitution was warranted. It does underline that his leadership and continued return to health are critical for FCC’s defense going forward.

Although disappointed, John Harkes’ was surprisingly upbeat in his post match comments. I think this in part speaks to the quality of the NY Red Bulls II side. There is certainly no shame in losing to that squad. When looking at the game as a whole, the opposition probably deserved at least a point based on the way they played and based on the number of opportunities they created. The late manner in which the match was lost and the questionable calls certainly leave a very bitter taste though.

Despite losing the match, the club set the USL single season attendance record on Wednesday. The match brought their regular season attendance total to 164,109 with 5 home matches still remaining. The record was previously held by Sacramento Republic FC (158,516). Congratulations to this city and to the FC Cincinnati organization, the records keep tumbling.

Match Stat

Sean Okoli and Omar Cummings together had only 3 total shots in the match with 0 shots on target. This stat shouldn’t necessarily be read as an indictment of the strikers though. New York sustained good possession throughout and their defense did a good job of shutting down service to FCC’s front men. NY Red Bulls II more than doubled FCC’s shot total with 16 total shots to FCC’s 7.

Standout Players

Jimmy McLaughlin – He scored the lone goal for FCC and followed it with a peach of a celebration. Statistically, Jimmy Mac sits 2nd in goals, points, shots, and shots on target behind Okoli, making him clearly the Orange and Blue’s 2nd most proficient offensive player.

Harrison Delbridge – Delbridge started on the bench for this match, but entered after Walker left with the injury. The Sydney, Australia native has an unbelievable work rate and is committed in every challenge. He was also needed for some last gasp defending when the Baby Bulls got behind the back line on a couple of occasions. He’s a crowd favorite and shouts of “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” echoed out all evening from the Bailey.

Quotable

“We’re too good of a team to really get our heads down low and let this affect us in a negative way.” — John Harkes

Regarding the attendance record: “Our fans are really second to none. They are certainly the best in the U.S. and rival even some abroad”.  –Mitch Hildebrandt

Competition

Louisville City FC and Charlotte were not active last night. Fifth place Rochester did play and drew 1-1 with Toronto FC II in Canada, a favorable result for the Orange and Blue. FCC stay in 3rd place despite Wednesday’s loss, but are now 7 points behind NY Red Bulls II and 8 behind Louisville City. In a conference where 8 of the 15 teams will make the playoffs, you can’t call Saturday’s game against Louisville City a must win. However, if the Orange and Blue have any notions to getting to the top of the Eastern Conference, they must start closing the gap this weekend in the 3rd and deciding game of the Dirty River Derby.

FC Cincinnati 1 – NY Red Bulls II 2

FC Cincinnati lost in heartbreaking fashion to New York Red Bulls II by a score of 2-1 on Wednesday evening in front of a crowd of 16,127 at Nippert Stadium.

FC Cincinnati lost in heartbreaking fashion to New York Red Bulls II by a score of 2-1 on Wednesday evening in front of a crowd of 16,127 at Nippert Stadium. After a scoreless first half, Jimmy McLaughlin opened the scoring for the Orange and Blue with a 61st minute goal. Unfortunately, Harkes’ men conceded two late goals in 82nd and 86th minutes, allowing the visitors to claim all 3 points.

Despite losing the match, the club set the USL single season attendance record on Wednesday. The match brought their regular season attendance total to 164,109 with 5 home matches still remaining. The record was previously held by Sacramento Republic FC (158,516).

For full details of this contest, turn you attention to the following match recaps:

FC Cincinnati Official
Enquirer
USL
NY Red Bulls II
Cincinnati Soccer Talk
Scratching the Pitch

In 3 days, FC Cincinnati will be back in action at Nippert against local rival Louisville City FC. This match represents the third and decisive leg of the River Cities Cup (aka the “Dirty River Derby”).

Check back with Orange and Blue Press tomorrow for our Match Notes segment which will include more photos, stats and insights from the NY Red Bulls II match.

FC Cincinnati 0 Crystal Palace 2

Match recaps from FC Cincinnati’s 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace FC in an international friendly on Saturday.

FC Cincinnati lost 2-0 to Crystal Palace FC in an international friendly on Saturday evening. The match was played in front of an enormous record setting crowd of 35,061 at Nippert Stadium. Jordon Mutch and Wilfried Zaha scored the goals for Palace, one in each half of the game. FC Cincinnati played competitively and had multiple chances to score but could not convert.

For all the match details, check out these worthy sources.
FC Cincinnati Official
Daily Mail – UK (highlights Zaha injury)
Cincinnati Soccer Talk
Enquirer
Crystal Palace
USL

FC Cincinnati now turns their attention to 3 critical matches against the best the USL’s Eastern conference has to offer. Over eleven days they will take on NY Red Bulls II (July 20), Louisville City FC (July 23) and Charleston Battery (July 30), all at Nippert Stadium.

Come back to Orange and Blue Press this week for Match Notes from the Palace friendly and coverage of the upcoming USL matches.

 

The Crystal Palace Friendly Paradox

How important is the Crystal Palace friendly to FC Cincinnati? To Cincinnati soccer?

Waking up on the Thursday morning before the Crystal Palace friendly, a match being billed as “the highest level soccer match ever to be played in the city of Cincinnati,” I’m feeling anxious, excited and frankly, ready for the work week to be over. I’m also feeling a little confused and here’s why. This match, while it’s monumentally important for the city of Cincinnati as a soccer town, is most likely unimportant as an actual soccer match.

There is a ton of hype around the match, and rightly so. Never has a team with the quality of Crystal Palace set foot in the city of Cincinnati. Never has this town embraced the sport in such great numbers or with such fervor. This is indeed another opportunity to show the world (as the match will be broadcast worldwide via Facebook Live), and anyone at MLS that might care, that Cincinnati is a major league soccer town with passion that can rival any city, anywhere.

This match is, of course, a friendly though. We already know that both teams will give playing time to almost all of the players available (including reserves), with an eye on the experience rather than the result. Crystal Palace has not travelled with its full squad and will be focused on gaining fitness, gaining new fans, and integrating new signings into the team. FC Cincinnati will likely be cautious with its squad, and rightfully so. Starting on Wednesday July 20th, they will embark on a vitally important period of their USL season. Over a stretch of 11 days they will host 3 games against their closest competition for supremacy of the Eastern conference. It’s critical that they go into those matches well rested, at peak fitness and focused on the task at hand.

When I walk into the stadium as a fan of any team I support, my mind is always focused on “How is this going to go?”, “Will we win?”, “What are the key matchups?, “Where is the beer stand?” This match will be different. Aside from the beer, those factors are not really important. This is a normal situation for friendlies. People know that the actual match isn’t that important. But most friendlies aren’t being billed as the most important soccer match in a city’s history.

I’m not trying to be a downer or suggest people shouldn’t get excited and enjoy this match. They absolutely should and I will be right there beside you. The match is going to be a great day in the sun and a great celebration of the game of soccer and its long-awaited success in Cincinnati. Regardless of what happens on the field, that celebration will happen and that’s what matters.

A few other thoughts as we head into the Palace friendly:

We ran a poll earlier this week which asked “Will you follow Crystal Palace FC more closely this Premier League season because of their friendly with FC Cincinnati?”

About two thirds of the respondents said “Yes,” they would in fact follow Crystal Palace more closely. Obviously this is not a large or statistically unbiased sample but it highlights the fact that these friendlies do work from a business perspective. Let’s hope that Crystal Palace FC is the first of many high level clubs we see come through the Queen City.

Crystal Palace opened their US tour on Wednesday with a stop in Pennsylvania at the home of the Philadelphia Union. They played to a rather tepid 0-0 draw in front of a crowd of 12,881 at Talen Energy Stadium.

There’s been a lot speculation on who will start and play for CPFC in Cincinnati and this match gave us some insights into that.

As expected, Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew made several changes in the second half. The following players entered as substitutes: Delaney, Tomkins, Croll, Zaha, Sako, Lee, Wickham, and Campbell.

Further, this is the best press conference quote from Alan Pardew so far on the US tour.

“American audiences are different. They get excited about corners – I love that. We hope to bring out the crowds enthusiasm tomorrow night.”

With all of the fanfare, let’s not forget that a USL season is still being played and last night an important result went in FC Cincinnati’s favor. The Charleston Battery played to a goalless draw with Orlando City B (does anyone actually click on a link called “goalless draw”, methinks no). If 4th place Charleston had won, they would have pulled level on points with FC Cincinnati in the standings. Given the result, they sit 2 points behind FCC having played one more match.

The USL hosted another friendly against Premier League opposition yesterday, when the Charlotte Independence played Swansea City at Ramblewood Soccer Complex. The gulf in class was apparent and Charlotte took a 4-0 battering at the hands of their Welsh guests. Not so friendly. Let’s hope and expect that the boys in Orange and Blue will fare a little better on Saturday. Make no mistake though. The talent of our opposition is, literally, in an different league and this Charlotte result emphasizes that.

Get out for some of the fanfare associated with this match. There is literally a weekend’s worth of activities surrounding Saturday’s game. Check out the following resource by Cincinnati Soccer Talk with a summary of the weekend’s events.

The current forecast is calling for a high of 87 degrees and the chance of a stray shower. It should be cooling by 7pm and let’s hope mother nature is kind to us and that’s as hot as it gets. Otherwise, our friends from England may in fact melt on our artificial turf field. Given the luck FCC has had with weather so far this season, this is a really a forecast to be thankful for.

Overall…enjoy. I’m thinking of this as a mid-season celebration before we return back to the second half of the USL campaign and with any luck, a decent playoff run.

Crystal Palace Poll

Take our poll! Will you follow Crystal Palace more closely this Premier League season because of their friendly with FC Cincinnati?

Header image courtesy of Saint Louis FC

Rochester vs FC Cincinnati – Match Notes

Key events, interesting stats, and standout players from FC Cincinnati’s 2-1 loss to Rochester on Wednesday.

FC Cincinnati lost 2-1 to the Rochester Rhinos on Wednesday evening, breaking the Orange and Blue’s 11 game USL unbeaten streak.

Match Notes

Issues with Rochester’s internet feed  / video coverage limited early viewing of this match. The first 35 minutes appear to be lost forever to a Youtube black hole. Let’s look forward to the day when all of this club’s matches are covered on broadcast television, and the FCC faithful have to stream no more.

Despite the loss and conceding 2 goals, the Orange and Blue had periods of good passing and possession and created enough chances to get a result. Rochester’s defense and keeper played well, especially in the closing minutes, and deserve credit. There’s no shame in losing at Rhinos Stadium and it doesn’t seem there’s a need to dissect in great detail why FCC lost.

The key piece of positive news from this match was, of course, the return of team captain Austin Berry from injury. Berry played 28 minutes plus stoppage, entering the match just prior to the pivotal penalty kick being awarded to Rochester.

Interesting Stats

This result represents the first time in a competitive match that the opposition scored 2 goals against FC Cincinnati. Louisville City netted 3 goals in their April 16th victory over the Orange and Blue but FCC’s defense has held all other sides to 0 or 1 goals against.

Sean Okoli is the only FC Cincinnati player that had a shot on target in the match. He tallied 6 total shots with 4 on goal. Credit is due however to Andrew Wiedeman for drawing the penalty and also to Bone for the dime of a cross that created the opportunity.

Rochester only had 2 total shots in the second half. Unfortunately one of them was a penalty kick that was well taken and won the game.

Standouts

Sean Okoli – Ugo’s penalty kick conversion brings him to 8 goals on the season which is good enough to be tied for 5th in USL scoring. LA Galaxy 2 striker Jack McBean still leads the USL with 13 goals on the season.

Austin Berry – He didn’t have a large impact on this match in particular, but his return from injury is certainly an important event.

FC Cincinnati now head to Missouri for a Saturday clash with Saint Louis FC, who is undefeated at home this season. Harkes’ men will be keen to pick up points in this match before heading home for the Crystal Palace friendly, followed by 3 key match-ups against the Easter Conferences best opposition.

 

 

Rochester Rhinos 2 FC Cincinnati 1

FC Cincinnati’s 11 game unbeaten streak came to an end at Sahlen’s Stadium on Wednesday evening as they fell 2-1 to the Rochester Rhinos.

Cover image courtesy of Rochester Rhinos

FC Cincinnati’s 11 game unbeaten streak came to an end at Sahlen’s Stadium on Wednesday evening as they fell 2-1 to the Rochester Rhinos. Sean “Ugo” Okoli scored the only goal for the Orange and Blue from a penalty kick earned by Andrew Wiedeman. FCC’s goal came in the 75th minute after they had already conceded 2 to Rochester, one in the first half and one in the second.

Find full match recaps at the following locations:

FC Cincinnati Official

Cincinnati Soccer Talk

Enquirer

USL

Harkes’ men now face a short turnaround. They will head west to battle St. Louis FC in Missouri on Saturday July 9th at 8:30pm. Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for Match Notes and related news and analysis this week.

 

 

FC Cincinnati vs Bethlehem Steel – Speaking in Numbers

FC Cincinnati’s 1-0 win over Bethlehem Steel takes the Orange and Blue to the halfway point in their season. This segment focuses on numbers that help explain this contest and the teams’ performance to date.

FC Cincinnati’s 1-0 win over Bethlehem Steel takes the Orange and Blue to the halfway point in their season. This segment focuses on numbers that help explain this contest and the teams’ performance to date.

Match Notes

Graph-First-15-v2

Fifteen games have been played in the league and fifteen remain on the schedule.

The results over the first half of the season have been impressive for the first year outfit and good enough position them in 3rd place in the Eastern conference, within touching distance of league leaders Louisville City.

The team enters the second half of the season with 9 wins, 2 losses and 4 draws.

It was great to see Jimmy McLaughlin get a goal against his old organization. McLaughlin spent almost 3 years with the Philadelphia Union and Harrisburg, their USL affiliate. It clearly meant something to him as well. Following the match he commented, “When you’re playing against a team you used to play for, you want to make a good impression and do the best you possibly can.” 

McLaughlin’s goal, assisted by Bone and Cummings, underlines the wealth of attacking options that FCC has at their disposal.
10 different players have scored goals.
10 different players (a different but overlapping set) have provided assists.
14 different players overall have had a goal or an assist this season.

FC Cincinnati’s 14 shots in Saturday’s contest were spread across 8 different players.

Corben Bone’s assist on the game’s lone goal takes him to 5 total on the season, tied for 1st place in the league.

 —

Mitch Hildebrandt had less than usual to do against Bethlehem’s statistically weak offense, but he was still needed for 2 vital saves. What a key Mitch Hildebrandt has been to FC Cincinnati’s success in the first half of the season. Hildebrandt ranks 4th in the USL in saves, 5th in goals against average and is tied for 1st in minutes played. Harkes specifically mentioned him as a “leader in the back” during the press conference on Saturday.

Standouts

Jimmy McLaughlin – Busy offensively throughout the 90 minutes, led the team in shots and scored the game winner against his old club. What’s not to like?

Tyler Polak – Great performance after a challenging outing last week against Kadeem Dacres and Louisville City’s potent offense. He may be the most versatile player on the team given his ability to defend, join the attack down the left, and deliver quality set pieces.

Omar Cummings – This guy knows where to be in the offensive third. Harkes specifically highlighted how Bethlehem’s defense dropped off after the Cummings substitution, giving respect to his pace. He also applauded all of the substitutes in his post match comments stating that “all of the guys off the bench contributed.” Cummings has tallied a goal and 2 assists in 187 minutes of league play this season.

FCC’s Competition

FC Cincinnati remains in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, a spot they’ve occupied for a few weeks, behind leaders Louisville City and New York Red Bulls II.

Fourth place Charleston defeated the Richmond Kickers to keep pace, but Charlotte, New York Red Bulls II and Rochester all drew this weekend. Louisville city plays Monday evening at home against last place FC Montréal and will be heavy favorites to win. If they do, they will be 6 points clear at the top, but having played 2 more matches than FCC.

The Orange and Blue are eleven unbeaten now. What’s perhaps most impressive about that achievement is that 7 of those 11, almost two-thirds of the results, have been wins. There’s a real chance that undefeated streak could be broken as the team goes away for two on the road. Let’s take these couple of days to savor how good a team we are being treated to in its first months of existence.

FC Cincinnati 1 – Bethlehem Steel 0

FC Cincinnati defeated Bethlehem Steel 1-0 in front of a crowd of 17,380 at Nippert Stadium.

FC Cincinnati defeated Bethlehem Steel 1-0 in front of a crowd of 17,380 at Nippert Stadium on Saturday evening. FC Cincinnati dominated possession and play throughout the game. In the 69th minute, Jimmy McLaughlin separated the two sides by getting on the end of a Corben Bone corner kick, assisted by Omar Cummings.

Match recaps:

FCC Official

Enquirer

USL

Bethlehem Steel

Cincinnati Soccer Talk

The win extends the Orange and Blue’s unbeaten streak to 11 games and sees them pull within 1 point of second place New York Red Bulls II who drew yesterday.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for Match Notes and related news and analysis this week.