The final match of FC Cincinnati’s preseason trip to IMG, Koch and club squared up against USL eastern conference newcomers, Ottawa Fury FC. Cincinnati began the match in a (4-1-4-1) formation. 2016 goalkeeper of the year Mitch Hildebrandt started in net with Pat McMahon, Paul Nicholson, Tyler Polak and a trialist player making up the back line. Marco Dominguez, Andy Craven, Daryl Fordyce, Corben Bone and Kenny Walker lined up in midfield with Djiby Fall as the lone striker.
Right from kickoff Ottawa’s back line held possession, working the ball sideline to sideline but was unable to find a way through Cincinnati’s swarming pressure. A few long passes led to unsuccessful attempts by Ottawa. Tyler Polak made his presence known with some great defensive stops, carrying the ball and delivering to Cincinnati’s midfielders.
The ref was strict from the start, shelling out yellow cards to Marco Dominguez and Kenny Walker in the first half on separate occurrences. The first half was a physical battle on both ends. Djiby was quick to frustrate the Ottawa defenders with his physical prowess and unrelenting hunger for the ball.
Cincinnati’s first opportunity came on a cross from Polak. Polak found Kenny Walker where he lined up a rocket that was blocked before it reached the keeper. A few minutes later, Djiby took an off-balance strike that was well off the mark. Ottawa then gained possession, creating a chance of their own. With a nice cross of their own into the box, the attempted header was well wide.
The first half provided some quality minutes for the Cincinnati trialist player. He utilized his size many times to clear the ball out of scoring positions preventing Ottawa from getting on the board. We hope to see more from this “mystery player” in upcoming preseason matches.
Overall the first half showed some poor crosses from Cincinnati, although the energy and hustles was abundant. Andy Craven made a quick steal on the sideline, maintained possession to the corner flag and drew a foul that provided a great opportunity. Tyler Polak lined up the free kick and provided a great cross finding Djiby Fall. The clubs new striker used his size to beat his defender and redirect the ball with his foot to the back of the net for a 45′ GOAL!!! (1-0) for Cincinnati!
After halftime Townsend and A. Walker subbed in, while Stevenson and Polak called it a day. A few minutes into the half Dominguez committed a hard foul and was sent off on his second yellow of the day. Luckily in the preseason format, Aodhan Quinn was able to replace Dominguez and continue on 11 v 11.
At the 60′ mark Koch made a mass substitution, bring on McLaughlin, Weideman, Mansaray, Fordyce, Dacres, Delbridge, Bahner and Berry. With fresh legs and a renewed intensity, Cincinnati maintained possession but had few scoring chances. This change led to some lapses in defensive shape and in the 68′ Ottawa evened the score with a strike from outside the 18.
In the 73′ minute, Weideman held possession long enough to provide a pass to McLaughlin down the sideline. McLaughlin had a beautiful cross in front of goal and Dacres made contact but it was unfortunately blocked by the Ottawa keeper.
There were no more great scoring opportunities for either side the rest of the match. Although the match ended in a draw, we saw some great potential out of our beloved boys in orange.
After the match, our very own Bill Wolf caught up with Coach Koch to ask his thoughts on the club’s trip to IMG.
Koch was not concerned with the match results, investing more effort into player development and team chemistry.
“We haven’t lost anything this week, in regards to points. We’ve progressed as the games have gone along…”
FC CINCINNATI STARTING XI (4-1-4-1): Hildebrandt (GK); McMahon; Nicholson, ‘Trialist’, Polak; Dominguez; Craven, Bone, K.Walker, Stevenson; Fall
SUBS: Jaye (GK); Williams (GK); Bahner (60); Berry (60); Dacres (60); Delbridge (60); Fordyce (60); Mansaray (60); McLaughlin (60); Quinn (50); Townsend (45); A.Walker (45); Weideman (60)
45′ CIN: Djiby Fall (from Polak)
68′ OTT: Haworth