The Road Warriors of FC Cincinnati defeated Orlando City B 3-1 on a rain soaked field in Melbourne, FL. The Orange & Blue, dominated play for most of the evening and came away with 3 points which move them to 2nd on the USL Eastern Conference Table. This was FC Cincinnati third match played in a downpour following games in Charleston to start the year and last week in Nippert vs. Wilmington. Lightning delayed the start by 2 hours and 20 minutes before the kick off at 9:50 p.m..
Lightning has delayed the start of @OrlandoCityB & @FCCincinnati by 30 minutes. #ORLvCIN Broadcast starts at 8pm pic.twitter.com/9CDGEU7FB9
— Jeff Radcliffe (@Jeff_Radcliffe) May 4, 2016
FC Cincinnati (4-3-3): Hildebrandt (GK); McMahon, Delbridge, Nicholson, Polak (74′ Luke); Walker (87′ Stevenson), Bone, Tomaselli (64′ Cummings); Wiedeman, Okoli (84′ Spencer), McLaughlin (90’+ Hoppenot)
Orlando City B (4-4-2): Ridgers (GK); Turner, McFadden (c), Nitti, Ambrose; Laryea (76′ Mendoza), Ribeiro (81′ Cox), Rocha, Obekop; Rochez (78′ Fennelson GK), Barry
The first 10-15 minutes was filled with each team adapting to the elements. Orlando City SC (MLS) loanee Hadji Barry was paired with forward Bryan Rochez up top. Both make good runs and linked well with midfielder Marius Obekop, giving FC Cincinnati trouble in the middle of the half. Obekop had probably the most deadly chance in the half for OCB in the 10th minute. While dribbling on the top of the penalty are, Obekop was able to find space to launch a shot, but Mitch Hildebrandt came up with another great save.
FC Cincinnati Forward Sean Okoli began to give OCB defenders fits in the later part of the first half. Okoli turned over center back Nitti and was able to get a tough shot off. Later in the half, Okoli found more space on top of the 20 and launched an effort that went inches wide. FC Cincinnati should have had a penalty in the first half as the ball was controlled by an OCB defenders forearm. FCC didn’t get the call, but was still able to get plenty of chances in the first half through their high press. To no avail, they came away with nothing as they went into the locker room 0-0.
The second half, OCB came out with more flair and attacking opportunities as they opened the scoring up in the 2nd half. Bryan Rochez converted a penalty kick in the 52nd minute coming off an FCC foul in the box. Orlando played a ball wide down the right flank causing center back Harrison Delbridge to push wide. Delbridge was nutmegged and left back Polak dragged down the OCB player. FC Cincinnati answered in the 57th minute off a Kenney Walker strike. Celebrating Star Wars Day, “Sky”Walker, beat the goal keeper from almost 30 yards out to change the momentum of the game.
Okoli and the FCC high press continued to cause problems for the OCB defense throughout the second half. Okoli intercepted a bad back pass in the 76th minute and was taken down by the Orlando goalkeeper Mark Ridgers to draw a penalty kick. Ridgers was issued a Red Card and Okoli calmly put away the penalty for a 2-1 lead. The game was not done, as Orlando almost tied the game in the 87′. Substitute Michael Cox played a ball down the right side for a cross. The ball was sent in and Orlando midfielder Jonathan Mendoza was denied by the cross bar.
In the 92nd minute, Omar Cummings laid off a ball to midfielder Eric Stevenson who smashed home the final goal to give FC Cincinnati a 3-1 win. The win brings them to (3-1-0) on the road and (4-2-1) overall on the season.
Give credit to Coach Harkes for managing his substitutions well. Every player who came on for the Orange & Blue in the 2nd half contributed in the victory. Cummings & Spencer played well up top holding up play as well as good distribution. Stevenson received a great lay off from Cummings and finished neatly. Derek Luke continues to impress me each game. Look for him more in the future. Hoppenot was given a run out during the last minute to drag more time off the clock. I hope to see him on Saturday. FC Cincinnati is 2nd on the USL Eastern Conference table with 13 points with a game in hand on leaders LouCity (17 pts.).
– 72′ Delbridge – Yellow – Deny Attacking Opportunity
– 90′ Bone – Yellow – Time Wasting
Orlando City B
– 43′ – Obekop – Yellow – Harsh Tackle
– 78′ – Ridgers – RED – Deny Goal Scoring Opportunity in Penalty Area
– 89′ – Ambrose – Yellow – Dissent
Man of the Match:
Kenney Walker – Walk showed poise on the ball throughout the evening. His workrate was noticeable and this was easily his best performance of the season. The Ohio native and former LA Galaxy player turned the tide after his goal in the 57′.
This absolute BLAST from Walker ties it up for @fccincinnati ! ⚽️💨😱 #ORLvCIN https://t.co/N7yFGIQ4f1
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) May 5, 2016
Harrisburg City Islanders
The Islanders currently sit 11th out of 14 teams in the east on 6 points. Their 2 results came from wins vs. Orlando City FC. Harrisburg was off midweek but they will play two games in three days with the match on Saturday vs. FCC and a game Monday vs. the Charleston Battery. They offense is averaging 1.33 gpg, so let’s see if FC Cincinnati can get their first clean sheet. A big factor in Saturday’s game outside of turnaround and travel is the pitch size. FCC will go from playing on the largest pitch in USL (Orlando), to a baseball diamond in Harrisburg. Teams have used the small Nippert surface in limiting the FCC attack, so it will be interesting to see what Harrisburg City will do. Make sure to follow CincinnatiSoccerTalk.com for more info.
Also, if you haven’t yet check out some of our recent stories:
Orlando City B vs. FC Cincinnati – A Simple Man’s Preview
Episode 12 of the Cincinnati Soccer Talk Podcast – The Dreaded Tie
Photo Gallery – FCC vs. Wilmington
@bryanweigel for @cincysoccertalk