First-place Louisville City FC hosted third place FC Cincinnati in a packed Louisville Slugger Field on Saturday night. The FC Cincinnati crowd in the stadium was raucous (Sorry Lou Coopers) and offered the region a great look at the passion of a big derby game. 10,062 filled Slugger Field to watch Louisville City draw FC Cincinnati 0-0. The attendance marked a new record for LouCity. You are welcome.
Going into the match, Louisville sat on 34 points with 15 games played while FC Cincinnati racked up 27 points through 13 games. The USL game of the Week on ESPN3 was billed as a “Battle of Strikers”. USL Eastern Conference goal-leader Chandler Hoffman (10) and Sean “Ugo” Okoli who ranks 5th in USL on 7 goals were marketed all week on the USL website, including a poll on who league followers thought was better.
Louisville City SC dominated the first 35 minutes of the match. Returning from injury, winger Kadeem Dacres gave left back Tyler Polak and left winger Jimmy McLauglin fits. In the 4th minute, Dacres unleashed a shot in which Mitch Hildebrandt was called into action. Hildebrandt made a #SCTop10 save in the 14th minute denying a LouCity header. Check it out below. Mitch was called into action again several times in the first half, including an opportunity for where Hildebrandt attempted a clearance that was crossed back in. McMahon denied LouCity from the goal line twice on that attempt to maintain a 0-0 scoreline.
The last 5 minutes in the first saw FC Cincinnati gain the bulk of their chances. In the 43rd minute, midfielder Eric Stevenson attempted a long shot that barely skimmed the top of the crossbar. A minute later, Sean Okoli got behind the defense, but was pulled down by LouCity defender Sean Reynolds. This chance led to an attempt off a cross for Harrison Delbridge that was off the crossbar. After time expired, Coach John Harkes commented that “this was the worst half we played all season”. I could agree. FC Cincinnati had to defend the “infield” side in the first half so Harkes had the midfield and defense sit back. This allowed LouCity, especially Dacres to get space to run at the back four. Luckily a couple crosses couldn’t find their mark to allow FCC to escape the half unharmed.
— Cincy Soccer Live (@cincysoccerlive) June 26, 2016
The second half showed more chances for the Orange & Blue. In the 48th minute, winger Andrew Wiedeman worked a cross to forward Ugo Okoli which was potentially touched a LouCity arm or hand, but was not called by the official. Minutes later, you began to see FC Cincinnati gain more possession. In the 52nd, Jimmy McLaughlin had a nice bit of interplay and had a chance cleared at the top of the 18. Ugo Okoli was pulled down in the box in the 55th minute. After review, it looked like Okoli was at least pushed down at the top of the 18, but the ref continued to hold his whistle.
In the 70th minute, Harkes substituted midfielder Eric Stevenson with Omar Cummings. The change saw FCC begin to break down LouCity including a good flick on by Cummings to Okoli in the 87th that was just out of Ugo’s reach. The last 10 minutes saw LouCity regain possession with a close Chandler Hoffman shot in the 87th. Two late free kicks about 30 yd out saw FC Cincinnati get tested. Hildebrandt came up with another big save in the 90th with a low shot by Lancaster. FC Cincinnati saw out the final 5 minutes to get an away point.
Side note love this:
— Scott Osborne (@Colt_Phan) June 26, 2016
The Pride battled Louisville SG, the Coopers in a match Saturday afternoon. After being deadlocked 0-0 at halftime, the Coopers were able to snatch the winning goal from a close opportunity. The battle for The Plastic Cup was lively and the Pride is anxious for a rematch in July to make redeem our city after the 1-0 defeat. Nobody can deny the wonderful effort the Pride showed during the match. Check out some pictures in our gallery.
Up Next: Bethlehem Steel FC
FC Cincinnati will host Bethlehem Steel FC (4W,4L,5T) next Saturday July 2nd in Nippert Stadium. Before Saturday night’s match at Richmond, Steel FC have notched 1 win in their last 5 games along with 2 draws. Last time out vs. Bethlehem, FC Cincinnati escaped Goodman Stadium with a 2-1 victory. First half goals by Andrew Wiedeman and Ugo Okoli were enough to secured the clubs first victory. Steel FC is currently in 10th place on 17 points in the Eastern Conference before this weekends round of games.