TD Place Stadium – Attendance: 5,445
A win today would have clinched a playoff spot for the Orange and Blue, but instead, this dramatic season continues to the last game, and fans will have to wait until the end of the regular season to find out if FCC has post-season games to play.
Today’s game certainly seemed like an easy 3 points. Most people agreed that Cincinnati had the easiest schedule remaining. Ottawa was on a 10 game winless streak. Their last win was August 12th. They had officially been eliminated from the playoffs. In contrast, Cincinnati was undefeated for the last 6 games with everything to play for.
FC Cincinnati seems to love the role of underdog. They could have secured the post season and been playing for a higher seed but now they are forced to get results in the final game to ensure they are in the playoffs at all and will quite possibly be coming in as the lowest seed.
The game started poorly for Cincinnati, going a goal down in the 4th minute. A throw-in was headed to the top of the box by Delbridge, right to Ottawa’s Obasi, who was left unmarked. Obasi took the ball directly off the bounce and put it in the back of the net.
In the 13th minute, Haworth turned Berry in a circle and dribbled the ball across the top of the box with almost no pressure. He found a hole in the defenders and fired the ball straight past Mitch who barely saw it coming.
To add insult to injury, Haworth earned himself a brace in the 20th minute. He got behind Josu on a long ball and kicked the ball right to Mitch, bouncing it off the inside of his leg and into the goal.
In the second half, Coach Koch shifted tactics, pulling Bahner & Schindler off, sliding Hoyte right and bringing König and Wiedeman in to generate more attacking chances. The change did not appear effective initially. In the 47th minute, Edward sped past de Wit off an FCC turnover and crossed the ball to the far post. Forward Steevan Dos Santos separated himself from Hoyte and clinically headed the ball into the back of the net.
In the 69th minute, sub Kyle Greig fouled Ottawa’s Venter who reacted violently shoving Greig to the pitch. The ref had given Ottawa advantage, but immediately stopped play, and as would be expected, rewarded the retaliatory response with a straight red card.
As the game wore on, both sides seemed eager for the game to just end. Eventually it did. Even a man up, FCC never looked threatening. In 90 minutes, they only took 3 shots on target.
Red Card Advantage? – Despite being at a man advantage for over 20 minutes, FCC was still not able to gain any control of the game. Though it’s unlikely they could have reversed a 4 goal deficit, this team has developed a reputation lately for grit and tenacity and to see nothing come of 20 minutes playing against 10 men was disappointing.
No excuses – We’ve seen dramatic “blow out” score lines earlier in the season, but they were easy to justify. Fixture congestion. Mental and physical exhaustion. Focusing on the upcoming Open Cup game. Still down from the previous Open Cup run. Not mentally “all in” to the USL league games with the US Open Cup tournament running in parallel. Today, the team crumbled with no excuses. The Open Cup run is over. The team is only playing one game a week. This was a game that could clinch the team into the USL playoffs. There was every reason for the team to do well. Kenney Walker was absent from the game due to suspension and that is certainly noteworthy, but it doesn’t explain such a complete break down. There are questions that need asked and they are for the players and coaches to ask themselves and each other.
Don’t Leap Off The Cliff Yet – While the results today were certainly frustrating, Cincinnati has not missed the playoffs yet. Their destiny is 100% in their hands. They are in 8th place and a win in their final game will clinch a playoff spot. FC Cincinnati will have to wait for results from Bethlehem and New York to see if they can rise above 8th. Even a loss or draw on Saturday won’t eliminate them if Orlando doesn’t earn more points than FCC, so playoff potential is still strong.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (3-4-3): Hildebrandt (GK), (L-R) Delbridge, Hoyte, Berry; Josu, Bone, de Wit, Bahner (45′); McLaughlin, Djiby (65′), Schindler (45′)
Subs: Jaye (GK), Dominguez, Greig (25′), Halfhill, König (45′), Polak, Wiedeman (45′)
Ottawa Fury Starting XI (4-4-2): Irving (GK), (L-R) Obasi, Venter, Del Campo, Edward; Reid (71′), Bruna, Dixon, Haworth (87′); Dos Santos (77′), DePuy
Subs: Paulmin (GK), Barden (3′), Campbell (13′), Meilleur-Giguère (19′), Rozeboom, Sito , Williams
4’ Obasi (OTT)
13’ Haworth (OTT)
20’ Haworth (OTT)
47’ Dos Santos (OTT)
24′ Reid (OTT)
39′ Fall (CIN)
69′ Venter (OTT) (Red)
70′ Greig (CIN)
89’ Campbell (OTT)
91’ Obasi (OTT)
Saturday 10/14 – at Toronto FC II – 7:30 p.m. EST – Toronto, Ontario