Matchday – US Open Cup Round 4: FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew SC
Nippert Stadium – Attendance: 30,160
First and foremost, thank you to all the followers of FC Cincinnati for making Wednesday night an extraordinary evening. Columbus Crew defender Josh Williams put it best, “The noise was incredible. When they scored it felt like we were in Seattle.” That’s a big compliment for a club that is only 1 1/2 seasons old. The supporters, players, staff, first-time fans, and yes Crew SC supporters all brought a passion that made last night an amazing event and one that will be tough to forget for both side. Indeed Hell is Real and FC Cincinnati leads the derby standings 1-0.
3 Things to Know
New Formation Leads to Success: Coach Alan Koch decided to run out a new formation for Wednesday night’s match. The 3-5-2 formation allowed Koch to employ both forwards, Djiby Fall and Danni König, up top together for the first time all year. While FC Cincinnati was out possessed 60-40 over the course of the match, FCC were not without several chances. Both forwards had chances early in the first half as FCC was able to counter Crew SC well. Towards the second half and especially after the goal, Cincinnati really seemed to try and lock up defensively. Credit to Andrew Wiedeman for working his tail off all night. The veteran seemed to create the most chances for FC Cincinnati in creating counter attack opportunities for the home side. Also, much credit goes to the back three of Delbridge, Nicholson and Berry. Crew SC managed only 5 shots on frame all evening with only a couple being a serious threat. The defense as a whole, more so on the left side from Tyler Polak, was exceptional. Polak was regarded as the man of the match in most eyes and was stout all evening. It was great to see the passion and fight we know that this team holds. The 3-5-2 can be manipulated to become more offensive if needed. If we choose to run it out in USL play, we know it can work. It is now up to Koch on how this team can move forward.
Hell Is Real: So much for Columbus not caring about this match. You could see the frustration in the fans and on the players faces. It spilled over after the match with a confrontation between Crew SC fans and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. That moment however cannot over shadow the 1000+ fans that came down from Columbus to see the match. Their presence helped boost the Bailey into a frenzy all night. The Knight’s of the Bailey brought it with their chants and most definitely made a huge impact.
“I think I saw a little extra fire in the crowd, from both groups,” said FCC Coach Alan Koch. “Every player on the field was motivated as it was an important game, and we were comfortable playing in front of a group like that. Our guys were fatigued but the fans helped to pick them back up a bit. This is a big result as a club for us and upsets like this don’t happen very often. This is what our club, our city, and our fans are working towards. It’s a testament to all of that.”
FC Cincinnati has the bragging rights over Crew SC for at least a season and will forever hold the right to claim the first win in the series history. After the win, many MLS and soccer journalists across the country gave the #HELLisReal derby a shout out. I really hope MLS takes notice of what went on last night. Wouldn’t you want to put that rivalry on ESPN once or twice a year?
I drove past this but didn't know it's such a landmark. The roadside sign that may give Cincy-C'bus derby its name:https://t.co/UnpasPJ77Y
— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) June 15, 2017
These Boys: You could tell that this match meant a lot to our squad last night. Look at the hugs after the match, the reactions with the fans, or just the excitement after the victory. Even our captain Austin Berry had some fun on twitter prior to the match (see below). Of course it’s not every day that you get to play your in-state MLS club so they probably wanted to go out and prove something. The tremendous performances of all the guys was noticeable. Whether it was the calming presence of Kenney Walker in the midfield, the long runs by Wiedeman or the stout defense, the boys battled for OUR CITY. They will get my respect for what they did last night. Even if USL results still struggle for a bit.
— Austin Berry (@aberr22) June 14, 2017
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (3-5-2): Hildebrandt (GK); (R-L) Berry(c), Nicholson, Delbridge; Bahner (58′), Quinn, Wiedeman (90’+1), K Walker, Polak; Fall, König (74′)
Subs: Jaye (GK), Cummings, Dominguez (ET) , Hoyte (58’+), McLaughlin, McMahon, Stevenson (74’+)
Columbus Crew SC Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Stuver (GK); (R-L) Jimenez (75′), Crognale, Naess (45′), Francis; Trapp, Artur; Finlay (67′), Higuain, Meram; Jahn
Subs: Steffen (GK), Williams (45’+), Abubakar, Abu, Martinez, Duka (75’+), Hansen (67’+)
64′- FC Cincinnati- Djiby Fall (Justin Hoyte)
What They Are Saying:
— Tom Gelehrter (@Tommy_G) June 15, 2017
5th Round/Round of 16 Opponent: Chicago Fire at Nippert Stadium
Saturday 6/17 – vs. Charleston Battery – 7 p.m. EST – Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH.