Pre-season: FC Cincinnati vs. Sacramento Republic FC
Result: Sacramento Republic 2 – FC Cincinnati 1
A goal from Dekel Keinan couldn’t stem the tide as FC Cincinnati took a 2-1 loss vs Sacramento Republic FC.
FC Cincinnati Coach Alan Koch in his post-game press conference hit the nail on the head. “We are very disappointed with our performance today. That wasn’t even close to where we need to be at this stage of our preseason.”
For 90 minutes the Orange & Blue looked lackluster and uninspired against Sacramento Republic foe that was expected to be outmanned against one of the favorites to win the league in 2018. The home side failed to connect passes consistently and played most of the match on the back foot in their defensive half of the field.
Unfortunately for FC Cincinnati, the loss to Sacramento Republic FC snaps their undefeated streak this preseason. In the end, the Orange & Blue ended their preseason 4-1-2 (W-L-D).
Like the first half against Nashville last week, Alan Koch’s side had a difficult time possessing the ball in the midfield. Every time the Orange & Blue would gain possession, Sacramento was right on their heels to win back the ball. With a lack of possession, it was difficult for FCC to put much of an attack together
Sacramento was knocking on the door midway through the first half when 2018 Republic addition Cameron Iwasa put the away side ahead in the 33rd minute. Aleman did a nice job to get the ball in the box and had his initial shot saved by a diving Evan Newton. Unfortunately, FC Cincinnati was unable to get to the ball as Iwasa pounced on the rebound ahead of Blake Smith and slotted it in for the early goal.
FC Cincinnati was unable to get on the board in the first half and didn’t have many quality chances. The two most memorable attempts were by their new CB Forrest Lasso off set pieces. Twice the 6’5″ Lasso got his head to the ball to put one over the bar and the other just wide. If he gets them on target, they go in.
Sacramento continued to shut down the Cincy attack in the 2nd Half and put the match away with a 71st minute goal by Villyan Bijev. As you can see in the video below, Bijev was the beneficiary of a bouncing ball through the box and took the most of his opportunity slotting the ball past Newton. Credit to Bijev for getting the ball on target but I have to think Newton has to do a better job there. I’m not sure if he was expecting the shot but he ended up off balance and unable to get in front of the ball.
— Cincy Soccer Talk (@cincysoccertalk) March 10, 2018
Dekel Keinan was able to get on the board again this preseason for FCC with a goal in the 84th minute that put a tiny breathe back into FC Cincinnati. Daniel Haber continued his strong preseason with a wonderful cross off a corner that found the former Maccabi Haifa man who put it in the back of the net. FCC tried to claw their way back for a draw in the 92′ when Tomi Ameobi found his way 1v1 against the Republic keeper but was unable to chip it over Cohen and the ball went out of play.
— Cincy Soccer Talk (@cincysoccertalk) March 10, 2018
Not Where We Want to Be – It is the preseason so this result does not count but the product we saw on the field was disappointing to say the least. Last season the club had issues maintaining possession and had to rely on getting up the flank and crossing balls into the striker’s head. We were told this year would be different with the addition of Koch’s selected players but the same symptoms have started to rear their ugly head again. It seemed Saturday afternoon that the only chance of attack came up the left side with Jimmy McLaughlin and Blake Smith. Sadly every time they crossed a ball into the box, Tomi Ameobi was neither there or out of position. When Ameobi did get the ball to his feet his first touch let him down. Koch mentioned in his presser that it was good for the club to lose which is fine, but FC Cincinnati got embarrassed at most people’s first live look at the 2018 squad. He has a week to come up with a solution and one thing is for sure, we know the players will have a tough week ahead.
Newton With the Nod – Evan Newton was tipped to start in goal and made several good first chance saves including in the 3rd minute off a tough Sacramento corner. He could’ve had a little more help in the 33rd minute with Iwasa goal. The 71st minute goal was more concerning. Bijev picked up the ball on the right side of the box after it ping-ponged through several players. It looked like a tough angle but the ball somehow found its way in the 1 foot between Newton and the goal post. It looked like Newton either didn’t expect the shot or was off balance and unable to adjust. It remains to be seen who will start next Saturday but it looks like we might have seen our first real hiccup in the competition between Newton and Richey.
Looking Ahead – FC Cincinnati might have had the kick in the pants needed to really take this team to the next level. I’m not saying they read their press clippings but a team this highly regarded, it’s hard not to start believing that you just have to show up to defeat their opponents. In their matches against Nashville and Sacramento, the squad has come out uninspired. This needs to change immediately. Captain Dekel Keinan in his post-match interview said even after today’s result he is still positive on the team because they have such a great locker room. As professionals, these guys need to take this “wake-up call” and move forward. They have the talent to win a USL Championship and need to get all the pieces together quickly if they want to win.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Newton (GK); Hoyte, Keinan, Lasso, Smith (77′); Walker (77′), Ryan; Ledesma (73′), Bone (77′), McLaughlin; Ameobi
Subs: Richey (GK), Albadawi (77′), Bahner (77′), Barrett, Cicerone, Haber (73′), Seymore (77′)
Sacramento Republic FC: Cohen (GK); Partain, Taintor, Seiler, Gomez; Villareal, Hall, Aleman; Bijev, Iwasa, Eissele
33′ Sac- Iwasa
71′ SAC- Bijev
84′ FCC-Keinan (Haber)
FC Cincinnati vs. Charleston Battery (USL) – Sat. March 17th. 7:00 p.m. – MUSC Health Stadium, Charleston, SC