It was a beautiful evening for soccer; great weather, a packed stadium and two teams, one point apart in the standings looking to best each other and gain ground in the playoffs. Unfortunately, Guido Gonzales Jr. had other plans for the evening.
The game started well with Rochester coming out strong and attacking. Just 3 minutes in, Rochester’s James took a shot that skirted the outside right of the goal ruffling the side netting and resulting in a huge sigh of relief from the home crowd. For about 10 minutes, Cincinnati struggled to get a rhythm. Just as the Orange and Blue began to assert themselves on the game, the Rhinos got the upper hand. At the 12 minute, a lovely cross into the box was nodded down to Graf who knocked the ball into the net as Hoyte got turned and fell to the ground.
Down a goal, Cincinnati began to press and gain control over the game. As FCC began to create some chances, the officials began to assert themselves into the game. In the 27th minute, Djiby was given a yellow card for making contact with Kamdem’s head when he went for the ball. For sure, it’s the referee’s prerogative to give that yellow though most would have given him a warning considering the defender was behind him and his eyes were on the ball. But this was only the beginning…
Just 2 minutes after that, Walker placed a perfect ball over the Rochester defense and Jimmy McLaughlin got on the end of it. As the Rhino back line raced to catch up, Gomez came out of the box to cut off the attack. Jimmy placed a perfect ball past the keeper and the crowd held their breath as the ball rolled towards the goal and the Rhinos ran furiously to intercept. To the roar of the fans, FC Cincinnati had leveled the game.
But that was some of the last soccer played this evening….
Guido began to break up the game and call more and more fouls. In the 43rd minute, Djiby challenged for a 50-50 ball and again Djiby came out as the loser when the center decided that he had earned another yellow card and sent him from the match. The crowd at Nippert was furious. They had watched two footed challenges from Rochester get little attention, but with no warning, Djiby gets 2 soft yellows at best.
At the end of the half, the referee had handed out 14 fouls, 3 yellows and a red card. What had started as an exciting soccer game between two teams that looked well balanced trying to gain an advantage over the other, had descended into a ridiculous show of uneven officiating. The score, shots, possession and fouls showed the game to be equal, but Gonzales decided to be the headline and unevenly apply discipline and changed the course of the game.
But Guido was only getting started. It’s tough to call the second half anything but a carnival. The second half contained 21 fouls, 6 yellows and 2 more reds during a comedy that was pretending to be a soccer game. In the chaos, three penalty kicks were awarded. After the first PK, Rochester’s Fall was shown a yellow for celebrating?? The second PK wasn’t even a questionable call, it was 100% wrong. Kevin Schindler was called for handling when the ball wasn’t even close to his arms. The 3rd penalty was originally called outside the box, then during the resulting chaos, two red cards were issued to Dallas Jaye off the bench and the FC Cincinnati assistant coach, Yoann Damet. After that mess was over and a conference was held with the AR, the call was overturned and Cincinnati was given the PK.
The final score was Cincinnati 2 – Rochester 3 but the Rhinos got a lot of help from the 4 extra players wearing green. When a game results in 35 fouls, 9 yellows, 3 red cards and 3 penalty kicks, it’s hard to get any kind of rhythm or energy going, and it’s obvious that the referee has lost control of the entire match and decided to make themselves the main story line.
3 Things to Know
So Much for Good Behavior: Last week with Harrisburg in the house, not a single card was issued to FC Cincinnati in the match. The team has shown that they are showing up to play soccer. Some referees though seem to come into these matches expecting violent conduct especially from Djiby. Until today, Djiby had only earned a single yellow card. There is little we can do when referees don’t act like professionals and come in biased. We need to learn to read these situations and play more cautious when warranted.
Jimmy Scores Again: McLaughlin has been hunting for a second goal for quite awhile now but kept appearing in the Save of the Week videos instead of the Goal of the Week videos. Last week against Harrisburg he got the second goal and now it appears the gate is open and Jimmy will be getting the chance to dust off his dances moves again.
Fouls make for Boring Soccer: Most people would consider a 3-2 score line as an exciting game but when the game is broken up by foul after foul and over half of the goals come from penalty kicks there really isn’t much beautiful game to see. We don’t want players getting hurt, but at some point, the referee has to “Let them play”.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (3-4-3): Hildebrandt (GK), Delbridge, Hoyte, Berry; Josu (67′), K. Walker, Bone, Bahner; McLaughlin (73′); Djiby (43′ RC), Wiedeman
Subs: Jaye(GK), Dacres, DeWit, Greig (13′), König (23′), Quinn, Schindler (17′)
Rochester Rhinos XI (4-1-4-1): Gomez (GK), Kamdem, Farrell, Felix, Dover (72′); Forbes; James, Fall, Garzi (61′), Tergou; Graf
Subs: Lynd, Pratznerm Madison, Defregger (18′), Beresford, Brown (29′), Lee
12′: Rochester – Graf
29′: Cincinnati – McLaughlin (Walker)
78′: Rochester – Fall (PK)
82′ – Rochester – Fall (PK)
86′: Cincinnati – König (PK)
(Open Cup – Miami FC): Wednesday 8/2 – 7:30 p.m. EST – Riccardo Silva Stadium, Miami, FL.
(LEAGUE): Saturday 8/5 – vs. Orlanda City B – 7:00 p.m. EST – Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati OH