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FC Cincinnati Preseason Silverware

FC Cincinnati convincingly beat Danish side HB Koge 4-0 to win the IMG Suncoast Classic preseason tournament in Bradenton, FL.  Early substitute and forward Andrew Wiedeman had a huge impact on the game scoring two of FCC’s four goals.  The team benefitted from a 55th minute red card to HB Koge goalkeeper Frederik Hansen.

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From IMG Academy on Facebook

Game recap

FC Cincinnati made changes to both their formation and the starting lineup for its third and final match of the tournament. Tactically they moved from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-1-1, replacing forward Andrew Wiedeman with midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin. Additionally Corben Bone made way for Omar Mohammed (my preseason favorite player, I love his potential).  Sean Okoli led the forward line again and the back four remained unchanged.  HB Koge also made several changes to its lineup, deciding to feature their reserve goalkeeper, three under 19 squad players and omitting attacking midfielder #20 Kristian Andersen, arguably their best player.

FC Cincinnati started the game brightly displaying the passing and movement of a side with more experience.  After only 11 minutes of play, French forward Antoine Hoppenot left the game with an injury and was replaced by Andrew Wiedeman as the supporting attacker.

HB Koge grew into the game and nearly scored when a 22nd minute free kick from Michael Broni fell dangerously to the feet of several Koge players in the box, but they were unable to convert.

In the 28th minute FCC forward Shawn Okoli controlled a long ball in the box from Harrison Delbridge and had clear sight of goal, but couldn’t get any power on the strike and the ball rolled harmlessly to 2nd string keeper Hansen.  Koge looked threatening in the last 10 minutes of the half and probably should have taken the lead, but the half ended scoreless.

I encouraged everyone at halftime to pay attention to another very important competition.  HB Koge mascot Svante the Swan is competing to be Denmark’s best football mascot.  Competition is stiff as many of the Danish Superliga (top division) mascots are participating as well.  HB Koge is in the second tier.  I still encourage everyone click through to watch the video, which features Danish Ewan McGregor, and vote for Svante!  It’s video magic.

The matches pivotal moment occurred in the 55th minute, when FCC striker Sean Okoli got through 1 on 1 with Koge keeper Frederik Hansen.  Hansen brought down Okoli in the box to prevent a goal, prompting a penalty kick and red card for the keeper.  Andrew Wiedeman cooly converted the penalty, slotting the ball into the lower right corner.

FC Cincinnati made the most of their numbers advantage, scoring 3 more times.  In the 65th, following a passage of threatening play from FCC, the ball was looped over the Koge defense finding the lively Jimmy McLaughlin on the left side of the penalty area.  He controlled well, pressed further toward goal and drove the ball over the keepers left shoulder into the top right corner of the goal.

Andrew Wiedeman doubled his tally in the 78th when a pass from back line found him on the right behind the HB Koge back line.   He controlled, dribbled further and fired a low grassburninging drive through the keepers legs (5 hole!) to make it 3-0.  Here was the reaction at a packed Rhinehaus in OTR following the 3rd goal:

In the last minute of regular play, midfielder and late substitute Jamie Dell got in on the scoring act in a move started by Omar Mohammed.  Mohammed passed to Luke Spencer who drove toward the byline, cutting the ball back and left to Dell who slotted the ball confidently past the keeper to the left and into the net.

Glory.  Silverware.

What does it all mean?

First, it means FC Cincinnati collects its first trophy after playing only 3 matches.  It also means a little cold hard American cash in the sum of $10K for the club.  Back home, the team treated its fans to 3 very entertaining matches, and took the buzz surrounding the club to another level.  Now for the broken record part, it’s preseason.  Fitness and figuring out the first team are what’s important.  It’s true but boring. Winning tournaments, that’s fun.

Tell us what you think on Twitter….what accounts for FC Cincinnati’s early preseason success?

What’s next?

Two more preseason games to come.  They will face NASL side Indy Eleven on March 12th and the Xavier University Men on March 18th.  There’s so much buzz right now it’s a shame there’s not another game for a couple of week’s, but I’m sure Harkes and his team are grateful for the time to continue preparations.  At Cincinnati Soccer Talk, we’ll do our part to keep the conversation and the buzz around this team going, join us!

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