FC Cincinnati was defeated in its opening match of the USL season by a heartbreaking 94th minute goal from Charleston Battery’s substitute Jamaican striker Romario Williams. The match kickoff was delayed 45 minutes due to a strong weather system that traveled through the Charleston area Saturday evening.
FC Cincinnati set up in a 4-3-3 formation:
Goalkeeper: Mitch Hildebrandt
Defense: (R-L): Pat McMahon, Harrison Delbridge, Austin Berry, Tyler Polak
Midfield: Kenney Walker, Corben Bone, Ross Tomaselli
Forwards: Andrew Wiedeman, Sean Okoli, Jimmy McLaughlin
Substitutions: 45′ Paul Nicholson (for Harrison Delbridge), 63′ Antoine Hoppenot (for Andrew Wiedeman), 86′ Luke Spencer (for Sean Okoli), 88 Omar Mohammed (for Jimmy McLaughlin)
NOTE: USL teams are allowed 5 substitutions per match! Really? Yes, really.
On a water-logged field at Charleston’s MUSC Health Stadium, Charleston set the pace of play in the first 15 minutes of the game. Passing from both teams looked disjointed because of the poor field conditions. Charleston created a few good chances in the first half, most notably through Heviel Cordoves’ 11th minute 20+ yard strike that hit the inside of the left post. Although FC Cincinnati did not create many quality chances in the first half, they did demonstrate periods of possession and quality passing that Charleston did not. The first half finished scoreless.
FC Cincinnati grew into the game in the second half and looked likely to make a breakthrough. In the 61st minute Andrew Wiedeman nearly produced a goal to take the lead, benefitting from a great long distance Ross Tomaselli pass. Battery goalkeeper Alexandros Tambakis parried Wiedeman’s low powerful strike down and away just to the right side of the goal to keep the game tied at 0-0. The Cincinnati side could not take advantage of its good second half play and in the 94th minute the home side made them pay. Charleston broke down the left side of the field on their last attack of the game. Chang played the ball from the left side of midfield out to the left flank for overlapping fullback O’Brian Woodbine. Woodbine slotted a low ball into the left corner of the 6 yard box for Williams. Williams cushioned the entry pass with his right foot setting up his left to slot a low ball past Hildebrant at the near post from a very acute angle. Charleston 1 – FC Cincinnati 0.
There was no time left to recover, and FC Cincinnati suffered its first ever defeat in its first competitive match in USL to the Charleston Battery.
Despite the last minute heartbreaking nature of the loss, FC Cincinnati played well overall and there are many positives to take away. More details and analysis in tomorrow’s full match recap.
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