FC Cincinnati defeated Toronto FC II 2-1 in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada on Sunday afternoon. An 84th minute goal by substitute forward and former University of Cincinnati star Omar Cummings sealed the victory. Andrew Wiedeman, a former Toronto FC player, scored for FC Cincinnati earlier in the second half.
Before we get into the match details, be sure you have tickets for the home match at Nippert Stadium next Saturday April 30th against the Wilmington Hammerheads. Cincinnati has set national expectations with our attendance numbers and we need to keep it going.
FC Cincinnati set up in its traditional 4-3-3 formation and started the same eleven players for the fifth consecutive match.
Toronto FC II countered with a like-minded 4-3-3 formation. There were 4 loans from Toronto FC (MLS) to Toronto FC II prior to the match. Three of the four players loaned to TFC II went straight into the starting line-up. Cincinnati native Nick Hagglund, who is also on loan from Toronto FC to TFC II, started at center back and played all 90 minutes.
Toronto FC (MLS) first team players are shown in bold.
Goalkeeper: Quillan Roberts
Defense: Wesley Charpie, Nick Hagglund, Skylar Thomas, Ashtone Morgan
Midfield: Chris Mannella, Jaye Chapman, Brian James
Forwards: Raheem Edwards, Shaan Hundal , Malik Johnson
FC Cincinnati controlled the opening minutes of play and had two good chances to take the lead in the first six minutes. Toronto FC looked somewhat disjointed to start, which was likely the result of incorporating four new players into their starting eleven.
Early in the first half Shawn “Ugo” Okoli took an elbow to the eye from TFC II midfielder Chris Mannella. The FC Cincinnati striker received treatment and wore a face bandage for the rest of the match. Midfielder Ross Tomaselli was substituted in the 37th minute and replaced by Antoine Hoppenot. It was unclear whether the substitution was tactical or, more likely, due to an injury sustained by Tomaselli. The first half was otherwise uneventful. Just when it looked like the half would end goalless, the USL’s 3rd leading goalscorer Raheem Edwards struck for Toronto FC II.
Toronto midfielder Chris Mannella played a ball deep from midfield to Edwards in his customary left wing position. Edwards took it off his chest and used his pace to split McMahon and Delbridge and get through on goal. Hildebrandt was slow to close down the opportunity and Edwards slotted the ball past the keeper’s right foot to give Toronto FC II a 1-0 lead at half.
FC Cincinnati dominated the early periods of the second half in terms of both possession and scoring opportunities.
FC Cincinnati was rewarded for their positive play in the 60th minute through a goal from Andrew Wiedeman. Polak and McLaughlin built the attack from FCC’s left. McLaughlin found substitute Antoine Hoppenot in space and he crossed it into the box for Andrew Wiedeman. Wiedeman controlled it well from his chest and slammed the ball low into goal with his left foot from close range. Wiedeman played in MLS for Toronto FC from 2012-2014 making 36 appearances and was surely happy to get on the score sheet against his old club.
In the 83rd minute, FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt made a stunning double save that changed the course of the match. TFC II again built their attack through rising star Raheem Edwards. Edwards found substitute Sal Bernal who controlled the pass with his chest and fired a left footed half-volley at goal. Hildebrandt dove left and acrobatically parried the shot away. The ball looped into the air to Toronto’s Bubacarr Jobe (great name) who tried to head the parried ball into goal from a tight angle. Hildebrandt recovered just it time to snag Jobe’s attempt, skillfully keeping his momentum from dragging him into goal. This play ended up as #3 on ESPN SportsCenter’s top 10 of the day.
FC Cincinnati took the lead moments later, in the 84th minute, in a move that featured two substitutes. Derek Luke found space deep on Toronto FC’s right and crossed the ball low for Omar Cummings who had entered the game only a minute earlier. Cummings attempt on goal was slightly mis-kicked but popped up onto his body and the momentum carried the ball into goal from close range. It was an an inelegant but effective finish.
FC Cincinnati held on during the final minutes to secure the win and improve to 3-2-0 after five games played.
FC Cincinnati used all five of its USL allocated substitutions in this match.
Antoine Hoppenot 37’ (for Ross Tomaselli)
Eric Stevenson 67’ (for Antoine Hoppenot)
Derek Luke 77’ (for Andrew Wiedeman)
Omar Cummings 83’ (for Jimmy McLaughlin)
Omar Mohomed 90′ (for Sean Okoli)
Toronto FC II made 4 substitutions.
Sal Bernal 62′ (for Ashtone Morgan)
Jordan Hamilton 62′ (for Shaan Hundal)
Bubacarr Jobe 72′ (for Malik Johnson)
Aiden Daniels 80′ (for Jay Chapman)
No yellow or red cards were issued.
What does it all mean?
This match was a character test for FC Cincinnati and they clearly passed. Going into the match they had two wins and two losses. With another loss they would have dropped into the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings. The team was coming off a difficult loss to local rival Louisville City FC and gave up a hat trick in that match to their lead striker. They faced a Toronto FC II team away from home that was not only filled with young talent, but one that was littered with MLS level players on loan. They also conceded the lead in this game just before half. Despite all of this, FC Cincinnati found a way to come from behind and pick up three very valuable points in Toronto.
Make no mistake, this match could have gone either way. Without Hildebrandt’s incredible double save, this win could have very easily been a loss. What’s important though is that Hildebrandt did make the saves and the team took advantage of the opportunity a minute later with Omar Cummings’ goal. During the pivotal moments of the match, FC Cincinnati came up big and were rewarded with full points in a close contest.
Omar Cummings has arrived for FC Cincinnati. Within a minute of entering his first regular season FC Cincinnati match, he found the back of the net for the game winning goal. Strikers are typically a confident bunch, but I think even he will be surprised at how immediate his impact was. It wasn’t a finish for the highlight reel, but he found a way to get the ball into the net and that’s what good strikers do. He may not have the speed he had earlier in his career, but the ability to be in the right place at the right time is a skill. His experience and goals will be valuable assets for FCC as the season progresses.
FC Cincinnati finished the game with a clear advantage in several statistical categories, something that’s becoming a habit. They led the game in shots, corner kicks and free kicks won.
The win leaves FC Cincinnati in 4th place in the USL’s Eastern Conference on 9 points. They now head into a series of four games in which they will face teams that are either seventh or lower in the Eastern conference standings. Two of the four matches are at Nippert stadium so FC Cincinnati will be looking to seize the opportunity and cement themselves at the top of the Eastern conference standings.
Look for news news this week on the health of Ross Tomaselli and Antoine Hoppenot. Both players were substituted out of Sunday’s match due to apparent injury.
What’s next for FC Cincinnati?
FC Cincinnati return home next Saturday to face the Wilmington Hammerheads at Nippert Stadium. Wilmington currently sit 7th in USL’s Eastern conference on 7 points after losing this past weekend 1-0 to New York Red Bulls II. They have played one more match than FC Cincinnati. Be sure to get out to Nippert stadium and represent your team and your city. Also be sure to check in with Cincinnati Soccer talk for news and analysis leading up to the match.
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