Match #7 FC Cincinnati vs Bethlehem Steel FC
Goodman Stadium – Attendance: 3,086
Soccer is one of the cruelest sports. In soccer, there are far more outcomes where the team that played better loses. FC Cincinnati did not have Lady Luck on their side this past Saturday when they took on Bethlehem Steel FC in the Lehigh valley.
The game was the first this year without star striker Djiby Fall and most were wondering how FCC would respond. The team did not seem to miss a beat, in fact, it could be said they played better. FCC manager Alan Koch implemented a surprise lineup that started with Andrew Weideman, Kadeem Dacres, and Jimmy McLaughlin up top with Bone, K. Walker, and Fordyce holding up the middle. I think most were expecting Mansaray or Craven leading the point but that was not the case.
FC Cincinnati seemed to take control early on creating numerous opportunities, especially down the right side where Dacres and Bahner seem to have found a good rhythm with each other. Jimmy McLaughlin was able to create a number of opportunities from the left side as well, which kept the Steel defense honest, not allowing them to focus on the right side. The first half came to a close with FC Cincinnati taking 8 shots with 4 of them on frame. This would be the only 4 they would have on frame all game. The Steel had 53% possession in the first half but were only able to generate 3 shots with none on target.
Once the second half started FC Cincinnati turned up the pressure and made run after run into the Steel box. It only seemed a matter of time before the dam would break and the boys in Orange and White would score. That first moment was in the 65′ minute when Dacres frustrated the Steele defense and the ball popped out to McLaughlin. Jimmy then crossed it back to Andrew Weideman, who had an open net but seemed to lose his balance and ended up heading the ball over the net.
FC Cincinnati made some aggressive substitutions immediately following the miss. Quinn came on in the 66′ minute for Fordyce and in the 71′ minute Andy Craven came in for a banged up Walker. The results were again almost immediate. Craven rattled the crossbar four minutes later and then Quinn tagged the goal post (aka Bethlehem’s Player of the match, “the post”) seven minutes after Craven’s.
But the day was not to be ours. Bethlehem withstood the onslaught and eventually took advantage of a late opportunity. In the 87′ minute, Adam Najem ended up serving the ball in front of the FCC goal mouth on a short corner. Mitch Hildebrandt seem to take a step towards the cross and that pause appeared to catch him a little off balance. While the ball was in the air there were only 2 Steel FC players in the vicinity with 4 FCC players right there. Bethlehem’s Hugh Roberts was able to beat all four defenders to the ball and with Mitch being off balanced, was able to slip the ball past Mitch and the ball nestled into the far side of net.
The goal was the bad part but the worse aspect came moments later. As soon as FCC went down you could feel the frustration of the week rise up in the players. The fact that a goal was scored against the run of play had the team ready to implode and they did. In the 94′ minute Steel defender Wijnaldum and FCC’s Craven started to push each other, obviously annoying Craven. Immediately following that exchange, a high ball was played to the right side of the field and you could see Craven pause and look at Steel midfielder Moar and launch into his chest while the ball was not there. The ref showed an immediate red card and the game’s final minute ran out leading to an absolutely disappointing no point for FCC.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-3-3): Hildebrandt (GK); (R-L) Bahner, Berry, Delbridge, Polak; K. Walker, Bone, Fordyce; Dacres, Wiedeman, McLaughlin
Subs: Jaye (GK), Craven, Cummings, Mansaray, McMahon, Nicholson, Quinn
Bethlehem Steel FC Starting XI (4-2-3-1): McGuire (GK); Jones, Roberts, Trusty, Wijnaldum; Najem, Chambers; Moar, Burke, Epps; Conneh
Subs: Freese (GK), Reymann, Mahoney, Real, Wingate, Heard, Samuel, McMaster
87′-Steel FC- Roberts (assisted by Najem)
Yellow- Conneh – 42′
Yellow- Wijnaldum- 59′
Yellow- K Walker – 61′
Yellow- Moar – 79′
Yellow- Polak – 85′
Red- Craven -90’+5
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Red Dawn– Seems like the morning after a game we have to accept FCC received another red card. In fact, FCC has received 4 Reds in 7 games; what is going on with the team? Nicholson’ card was the least worrisome because it was for being the last defender. But that was the first of the four cards and they have become worse offenses each time. Craven’s red card was justifiable and for a lack of a better word, “STUPID”. I’m not sure why we are playing so edgy but we need to clean it up.
Wood Workers– The game did not end the way we wanted but it does not mean we did not play well. FCC was able to create 17 chances during the game, the most in a game this year. We did take 21 shots (only 4 on frame) but two shots that did not go on frame hit the post. Andy Craven received a quick pass from Corben Bone in the 75′ minute and clanked it off the crossbar from just outside the 6-yard box. Adhoan Quinn also tested the woodwork in the 82′ minute on a free kick from about 25 yards out. If either one of these goes in the game has a totally different result.
Tightening the Screws– The defense is starting to play well. Steel FC were not able to create many dangerous chances throughout the game, in fact Bethlehem had only 5 chances for the entire game. Mitch did not face his first shot on goal till the 73′ minute. But Bethlehem was still able to sneak one past in the 87′ minute. We may be tightening the screws, but the screws are still are coming loose from time to time. Can we find some “Loctite” anywhere? This game at worse case should have been a tie, we can’t have these lapses against weaker opponents or this will become a long season.
Saturday 5/6 – vs. Richmond Kickers – 7 p.m. EST – City Stadium, Richmond, VA.