Listen to our immediate take on Sunday’s match:
FC Cincinnati under direction of new Head Coach Alan Koch took a big step towards the 2017 season on Sunday afternoon when the squad faced Oklahoma Energy FC in their first friendly of the preseason. The Orange & Blue couldn’t overcome several defensive miscues and fell to USL Western Conference opponent OKC Energy FC 3-2 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Alejandro Covarrubias got things started for OKC, scoring off a quick free kick in the 14th minute. It appeared that FC Cincinnati midfielder Kenney Walker was discussing the foul with the match referee when Covarrubias was played the ball. His strike went almost uncontested and beat keeper Mitch Hildebrandt.
FC Cincinnati would respond well to close out the first half easily dominating possession and creating chances through the play of Kadeem Dacres and Seattle Sounders loanee Victor Mansaray.
Things began to really click offensively in the second half as Coach Koch ran out a 4-1-4-1 formation headed by newcomer Djiby Fall. The Senegalese forward nearly scored on his debut with the Orange & Blue, but his goal was ruled offside. Check out the video and decide for yourself if the goal should have been disallowed.
You decide. pic.twitter.com/0ePRUUxGUn
— Cincy Soccer Talk (@cincysoccertalk) February 19, 2017
FC Cincinnati created many chances, but the first goal came from a Djiby Fall cross to fellow newcomer Daryl Fordyce who pulled the ball from the air and slotted it home.
The tie score would only last for 12 minutes as OKC sub Wojciech Wojcik would finish two easy chances in the 71′ and 82′ minutes. Several defensive miscues led to counter attacks for OKC where they punished the FC Cincinnati defense. Austin Berry would grab one goal back in the 89′ off an FC Cincinnati corner, but that was not enough to equalize the match.
FIRST HALF FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Hildebrandt (GK); (L-R) Polak, Delbridge, Nicholson (c), McMahon; Quinn, K. Walker; Townsend, Stevenson, Dacres; Mansaray
Subs: Jaye (GK) Bahner, Berry, Craven, Dominguez, Fall, Fordyce, McLaughlin, A. Walker, Wiedeman
- 24′: A. Walker IN – K. Walker OUT
SECOND HALF FC Cincinnati XI (4-1-4-1): Jaye (GK); (L-R) A. Walker, Berry, Nicholson, Bahner; Dominguez; McLaughlin, Wiedeman, Fordyce, Craven; Fall
- 14′ – OKC Energy FC – Alejandro Covarrubias
- 59′ – FC Cincinnati – Daryl Fordyce
- 71′ – OKC Energy FC – Wojciech Wojcik
- 82′ – OKC Energy – Wojciech Wojcik
- 89′ – FC Cincinnati – Austin Berry
1. Filling out the midfield: FC Cincinnati currently carries 9 midfielders, while 5 forwards also notched time in midfield roles today. Coach Koch has a lot to figure out over the next 5 preseason matches. The Orange & Blue clicked later in the first half through the play of Aodhan Quinn and Kadeem Dacres. Dacres used his pace and creativity while Quinn used organization, service and vision to get things moving forward. Andrew Wiedeman returned to the center of the midfield in the second half and created some great opportunities with newcomer Andy Craven. While all of the positives going forward, defensively the midfield looked a little suspect, especially in the 2nd half. Marco Dominguez made his first appearance and had some issues covering a swath of space when FCC would launch forward. This crop of players seems pretty strong and it will be interesting to see how they handle MLS side Chicago Fire on Wednesday.
2. Our answer up top?: Djiby Fall made an impact for FC Cincinnati the second he got on the pitch. His runs, pressure and vision allowed space for the other midfielders to operate. He should have had a goal in my opinion and I really like how he worked with Fordyce. Fordyce, while listed in the midfield, played pretty high in the attack and lived up to the billing of making quality runs and finishing his big chance. Both veterans were standouts in Sunday’s action.
3. Defense: While all of the attention has been on the offensive side of the ball this preseason, the defense showed some promise and some question. In the first half, the goal was conceded mainly due to several midfielders not marking their man. Polak and McMahon showed strong on Sunday and showed why this was a top USL Eastern Conference defense. The returners also made quality runs forward and helped regain the momentum. Things fell off the rails midway through the second half. Missed tackles, missed clearances and a tough non-offside call doomed this corps. Berry showed well on his goal, but the communication between him and Delbridge will have to improve. The two goals also came from Aaron Walker’s side of the field. It is still early and I have no doubt in this group’s abilities.
- FC Cincinnati: Wednesday 2/22 vs. Chicago Fire (MLS) – 4 p.m. EST – IMG Academy