The Staff of Cincinnati Soccer Talk is bringing back our End of Season Awards for the 2017 FC Cincinnati season. On Monday we released our 2017 Fan-Vote Player of the Year Harrison Delbridge who made a guest appearance on Tuesday night’s show. On Wednesday we released our 2017 Goal of the Year followed by today’s 2017 Moment of the Year and the 2017 Staff-Voted Player of the Year on Friday. Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk as we look back on our favorite points of the 2017 FC Cincinnati season.
Watch the videos of our favorite moments and why each staff member voted for that specific event:
1.) FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew SC (US Open Cup) – Djiby Fall Goal
Brad – Djiby’s goal against the Columbus Crew. I think most fans would admit that they didn’t think there was a realistic chance that the Orange & Blue had a chance against our neighbor to the north. As the game progressed, Nippert kept getting louder and louder as hope and confidence built. As Djiby’s header hung in the air you could feel every emotion run through your body culminating in the eruption from the crowd as it crossed into the back of the net. Sitting in the Bailey made it even more special as all my friends were there to enjoy the moment and will be one that I will never forget.
Yosief – I never thought for a moment FCC could defeat their I-71 rival. I’ll never forget the moment when the ball left Djiby’s head and the 2 seconds that we all held our breath and watched the ball fall into the corner of the net. It was the start of the realization FCC could really have a successful Open Cup run.
Ken – I think anyone would be hard-pressed to pick something outside of the USOC run. The one for me was Djiby header against the Crew. The game had so much hype fueled by what a rivalry should have, distaste for another team. When Djiby scored the stadium erupted in a way that I don’t think will be seen again. It almost signified to Columbus, “We are not your little brother. Bring it on!”
Other moment considered: The release of John Harkes. This is a moment that Jeff Berding stated this is his team. Whether it’s seen as a good/bad move is a personal one. But that moment changed the direction for the entire team and fanbase.
2.) FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire (US Open Cup) – Penalty Kick Saves
Rob – Mitch Hildebrandt’s performance in the penalty kick shootout victory over the Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals wasn’t just FCC’s Moment of the Year. It was the greatest moment in Cincinnati sports — period — since Jay Bruce’s NL Central-clinching home run in 2010 and the most exciting sporting event I’ve ever seen in person. The Fire came into Nippert Stadium as the hottest side in MLS. Minute by minute, you could feel the confidence building in the stands, especially in the second half and extra time. It had to have felt that way on the pitch too. It seemed as if FCC and Hildebrandt could will themselves to victory if they could get the match to penalty kicks. Once it got there, after Hildebrandt’s first two stops, the “Mitch says no!” chants around Nippert were unrelenting. With the third and final, it’s very possible Nippert actually shook. That’s the way the legend will be passed down to our children, anyway.
Seubs – The PK Shootout vs Chicago. I was there, and it was one of the greatest days of my life. The crowd was amazing and there was so much excitement from this game. Back and forth opportunities for both sides. Mitch stood on his head and ultimately came up big in the shootout. An experience I will never ever forget.
Griffin – The moment of the year has to go to Mitch’s final save in the penalty shootout against the Chicago Fire. The emotion and joy it brought to the erupting crowd in Nippert Stadium will be a memory I will never forget. High fiving and hugging my friends and family, it was truly the best sporting event I have ever witnessed.
Ben – Do I really need to say much? That was the greatest feeling as a fan of any team that I have ever had. A packed house in one of the most important games to date and Mitch came up with a save no keeper is supposed to make. I would pick his performance through the entire match if I could, but just picking out one moment, it had to be the save the won the game.
3.) FC Cincinnati vs. New York Red Bulls (US Open Cup) – Big Stage
Bryan – My favorite moment also led to the “soul-sucking” moment of the year. It was the US Open Cup Semi-Final, but more specifically the second goal in that match. The 62nd-minute header by Austin Berry was just sheer will. I don’t know if we will ever see him jump that high and finish with that powerful of a header ever. The jubilation in that moment was incredible. I may have tackled a certain Jamie Amis so hard that it knocked him off his feet (there is a video). That moment led to hugs, tears and everything in between from dedicated supporters to newcomers alike. Of course, the final score didn’t go in the Orange & Blue’s favor, but that match won the club many fans. I couldn’t have been more proud of the city and FC Cincinnati.
Bill – This is an easy one for me. The last US Open Cup game versus the New York Red Bulls. Sure, we lost the game, but it was never really about the score. Cincinnati was there in force. We broke another attendance record (our own) and the energy was crazy electric right from kick off. The Red Bulls players clapped our fans at the end of the game and their coach Jesse Marsch gave us high praise that evening and days later calling it one of the best atmospheres he’d experienced and said he expected to be back in Cincinnati soon for a league game. Don Garber and Sunil Gulati both attended the game. Garber had visited Cincinnati the previous November and seen the stadium and city. They’d both seen attendance numbers on paper and had likely seen games on the stream, but this was the real thing for them to drink in and drink it in they did. For me, this was the turning point in our MLS bid. Up to this point, our attendance numbers spoke well for us but there was always a sense that media market or our size would work against us, but the tone of the discussion changed to me. Cincinnati was not a lock, but its value had just gone up. This was the day I stopped saying “if Cincinnati gets an MLS franchise.”
WINNER: FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire – Penalty Kick Saves