International Friendly: FC Cincinnati vs. Valencia CF
Nippert Stadium – Attendance: 23,114
Tonight we saw one of the all-time great players in the history of Cincinnati soccer, Omar Cummings, step on to the field for the final time as a professional. Omar has had a tremendous career collegiately for UC, professionally in MLS, and internationally for Jamaica. He has done so much for the game in this area, especially returning to play for the Orange & Blue the last year and a half. He is a consummate professional, gentleman, and role model for aspiring young professionals everywhere. The entire CST team wishes him the best of luck as he transitions into the front office and can’t wait to see him succeed in this next chapter of his life.
Thank You Omar!!!
The much anticipated matchup between La Liga side Valencia CF and FC Cincinnati kicked off in front of a roaring crowd of 23,114 on a beautiful Monday night at Nippert Stadium.
As expected FC Cincinnati Coach Alan Koch opted for a heavily rotated squad but the surprise came from the opposite bench with Valencia Coach Marcelino. The new manager for the 6-time La Liga champion trotted out a team loaded with talent playing for their preseason tune up that featured a lot of starters including former Zarra Trophy (Top Spanish Goal Scorer in La Liga) winner Alvaro Negredo, former Juventus keeper Neto, Italian international Simone Zaza, and captain Dani Parejo.
After losing their first match in North America on Saturday 2-0 vs the New York Cosmos, Valencia needed to get off to a strong start but the men in Orange & Blue dug in and held their own. The crowd at Nippert were nearly the first to celebrate in the 15th minute as Aodhan Quinn ripped a long shot from 30 yards that Valencia keeper Neto had to scramble to tip over at the last minute. Over the first 30 minutes, both teams continued to go back and forth but it was the USL side that looked more dangerous. When “the Bats” were able to get forward Paul Nicholson, Sem de Wit, and Garrett Halfhill were able to tighten up and close any space.
Valencia did start to find their rhythm late in the first half as Negredo and Zaza were able to get a couple great chances forcing first half sub Dallas Jaye to make a pair of saves. Fortunately, the half ended before the visitors could get on the board but you had to feel that Coach Koch was pleased with the effort of his squad for the first 45 minutes. Most notable was the play of midfielder Aodhan Quinn. In addition to his dangerous chance early in the half, Quinn was able to be a rock in midfield limiting chances for Valencia and springing FCC on the counter.
At half, FC Cincinnati held a ceremony to honor Omar Cummings in front of Nippert Stadium. The club announced that the forward would retire after tonight’s match and will join the front office helping with youth outreach and community development. The former University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati State forward made his final appearance subbing in for Kyle Greig at half.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 25, 2017
credit: FC Cincinnati
Valencia continued to knock on the door at the start of the 2nd half and nearly scored in the 58th minute. Sem de Wit collided with Dallas Jaye on a corner forcing Aaron Walker to make a great clearance off the line.
Moments later the Che were able to get on the board after the 23 year old right winger Nando hit a tremendous strike just past Jaye. Nando was sprung up the right side and was able to beat A. Walker up the pitch. Jaye was helpless as the Spaniard hit a beautiful curling ball just inside the far post.
FC Cincinnati was able to get back into the match in the 70th minute as Koch inserted his first team lineup and the pace picked up right away as Omar Cummings sent in a great ball that nearly found Matt Bahner. Dacres had another opportunity moments later as the club seemed to pick up energy near the close of the game.
The away side was able to get one more goal in stoppage time after FC Cincy brought their goalkeeper Dan Williams forward to get an equalizer. Valencia was able to clear the corner immediately leaving Simone Zaza alone on goal before Williams could track back.
Overall you could tell from both teams that this game did not have anything on the line but FC Cincinnati did not look out of place. After the final whistle, Omar Cummings was presented with the “Man of the Match” award sending him off with a little bit of glory.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 25, 2017
credit: FC Cincinnati
New Faces: On the heels of Saturday night’s league win, Alan Koch was able to get a couple players their first start in the Orange & Blue against Valencia. After coming over from the Vancouver Whitecaps organization, Kyle Greig got the start up top and Sem de Wit at center back. Kevin Schindler was able to get his first action for the club and looked good after arriving from Germany. Koch was also able to rotate some players who have not been able to feature much for the club this season. Aaron Walker got the start at left wing-back while last year’s starter Pat Mc Mahon got the nod on the right. Aaron Walker showed some nice footwork on the left and looked promising in case he would need to be called in with Polak’s injury.
Going Forward: Even though Valencia was a little rusty it was still fantastic to see this team in action. FC Cincinnati was able to get 22 men on the field during the match and a couple were able to do well for themselves. Aodhan Quinn & Marco Dominguez fit together well in midfield clogging things up making it tough for Valencia to move the ball. With the Open Cup game next week the schedule becomes congested once again for the club and they will have to rely on players outside their “starting XI”. For a youngster like Dominguez, today’s match could be another confidence builder in a budding career.
Defense Wins Championships: Outside of Nando’s goal in the 61st minute, FC Cincinnati’s defense looked strong with 5 at the back. To keep a technical team to 1 true goal with stars like Zaza and Negredo is something to be proud of and I’m sure Koch will echo those statements to his team. In the first half the Orange & Blue conceded 6 shots but none were truly threatening. If FC Cincinnati is to succeed the last 12 matches of the year, it will be crucial for these guys to put in solid performances like this match.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (3-4-3): (L-R)Hildebrandt 30′ (GK), Halfhill 70′, Nicholson, De Wit 70′; A. Walker 70′, Quinn 70′, Dominguez 70′, McMahon 63′; Mc Laughlin 45′, Greig 45′, Dacres
Subs: Jaye 30′(GK), Williams 30′(GK), Bahner 20′, Bone 20′, Berry 20′, Cummings 24′, Djiby, Konig 17′, Schindler 27′, Stevenson 45′, Temguia 20′, K. Walker 20′, Wiedeman
Valencia CF XI (4-4-2): Neto (GK), Montoya, Vezo, Javi Jimenez; Centelles, Nando, Parejo (C), Medran, Orellana; Negredo, Zaza
Subs: Abdennour, Montoya
61′: Valencia – Nando
90+2′- Valencia- Zaza
Rochester Rhinos: Saturday 7/29 – 7:00 p.m. EST – Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati OH