John Harkes’ side put in arguably their best 90 minute shift to defeat first place Louisville City FC. Individual performances by Sean Okoli, Mitch Hildebrandt, Harrison Delbridge and Andrew Wiedeman paced the Orange & Blue to a 2-0 result that was not as close as the score line. Check out our player ratings from Saturday night’s match.
Lineup (4-1-4-1): Hildebrandt (GK); (R-L)McMahon, Berry, Delbridge, Polak; Bone; Cummings, Wiedeman, Stevenson, McLaughlin; Okoli
Subs: Jaye (GK), Lee, Luke, Mohamed, Narbon, Spencer, Tomaselli
Scale: 10-9 World Class Performance, 8 Great Match, 7 Good Match, 6 Average Match, 5 Poor Match, 4 Negative Impact, 3-0 Blunders Galore.
Hildebrandt (GK) – 8: Mitch continued to say NO to LouCity! Hildebrandt and the FC Cincinnati defense held Lou City scoreless in their last 5 halves played. Though he wasn’t tested too much on the evening, Mitch came up with a huge save on a headed ball near the end of stoppage.
McMahon (45′) – 5.5: Not sure if his 45′ was due to an injury, fatigue or just a poor showing in the first half. McMahon and Delbridge had a situation late in the first where a ball was played in behind the RB which McMahon should have gathered and cleared. Instead, he lets it go through to a pressured Delbridge who was able to rid themselves of the situation. McMahon and Delbridge both had words for each other on that play.
Berry (80′) – 8: The captain put in a very good 80′ for the Orange & Blue. He was up to the task on Saturday and the CB tandem only allowed 3 shots on goal the whole evening and 1 of those came after he was subbed out. Glad to see him back in the lineup and playing with more confidence. There was one shot form McCabe that Berry may have been able to press higher on, but the shot was from range and their scout may have been to track a little deeper.
Delbridge – 8.5: What can you say? Delbo is the man who commands the back line. He stepped into to the midfield when needed to kill runs and was comfortable in pressure situations. Hoffman couldn’t find any room with Delbridge on his hip. Also had a couple in the box plays including a tackle on Dacres to kill another run.
Polak – 7.5: Played very well vs. Dacres in their third meeting. He quietly put in a good performance and I liked his linking play with the midfield. Had a good pass into the box that was deflected away.
Bone – 9: MOTM: Bone took his game to another level this week. The midfielder looked comfortable teaming up with Wiedeman and Stevenson in the center-of-the-park. Bone held his own limiting chances in the midfield vs. a talented Niall McCabe. His corner kick assist was a thing of beauty. The perfectly weighted ball found Okoli’s head on the back post to secure the River Cities Cup. His performance was one of the most impressive, since he hasn’t played much in this solo role all season and was thought to be more of an attacking player before this season.
Cummings (87′) – 8: Could have nearly had two goals if not for LouCity Keeper Greg Ranjitsing coming hard off his line. Corben Bone almost sent him through on an over the top ball and Okoli nearly played him in on another chance He liked to cut inside and play off other attacking players which is a new look from our “wingers”. I like that Harkes trusts him in different positions on the field. His veteran presence will be a huge addition in this second half of the season.
Wiedeman – 9: Wiedeman contributed as much on the offensive side as the defensive. When LouCity got the ball, Wiedeman, Okoli and Stevenson were in their grill immediately. The 36′ goal was impressive as he was able to take the touch form the LouCity center back’s head and then cut a hard shot back post. If you listen to the podcast, you know how much we like Wiedeman’s play and have been concerned with his form out wide. This game showed that Wiedeman is comfortable in a more traditional center attacking midfielder position and could be a force there later in the season.
Stevenson (70′): 8 – Another person who benefits from being in the center of the pitch. You can really see Stevenson’s speed of play increase every match back from his injury. He picks out passes better and is reading the game at a higher level. I noticed, that it is not always the final ball where he succeeds. Stevenson is a good set up player and puts other teammates into better spaces. Made some smart runs pull a defender off Okoli or Wiedeman.
McLaughlin: 7.5 – One of his more quiet matches. When all the center midfielders pushed forward, McLaughlin would transition into a defensive coverage. Had a couple good passes in from the left.
Okoli (62′): 8.5 – Pressed hard, found space, combined with others well and scored a goal (58′). Can it be that simple? If one player on the field truly played for the badge, it sure seemed like Okoli was the man. We have harped on how he appear lazy, or uninterested, but he brought it today. His goal was a great finish and he could have had a couple more to go along with some great potential assists. He worked great with the ball at his feet and made some good runs off his teammates. Also love that he really showed the crowd his appreciation after the game.
Luke (46′): 7.5 – Did very well playing in the RB position. Luke is a jack of all trades out wide and as a full back. Did push up into the attack in spurts and even had a shot opportunity. Good 45′ for a guy who is pushing for more time against the current starters.
Mohomed (63′): 7 – Mo came on for Okoli and offered a different “headache” for LouCity. Cummings switched to striker and Mo went to the right wing. Omar is also a player gaining form and spent time running at the LouCity left back. He did get a shot off in the second half which drew a save, but just like last match, could have dribbled another couple yards before the shot.
Narbon (71′): 7 – Looks much better in an attack focused role coming on in place of Stevenson. With potential lingering injuries to Walker and Nicholson, you may see the Panamanian more in the coming weeks. He is quick in his touches and pushed the tempo.
Lee (81′): 7 – Was big in the final moments of the game. When a high ball into the box was played toward Mitch, Lee used is body to shield the player away. Still allows a little more space on dribbles, but he held his own vs. a tough opponent.
Spencer (88′): NR – Loved seeing the hometown guy come on to help close a match. We should get to see him more if Harkes decides to rest anyone in Montreal.
Harkes: 10 – Had some pundits giving him some raised eyebrows when the starting XI was released. The XI worked very well and Harkes is beginning to really trust more players in pressure circumstances. As an example, Mohomed would have not seen the field until the 85′ earlier in the year, but now trusts him to put in a good 30 or so minutes raising the effectiveness of the squad. Overall, great management on a hot day coming off a difficult midweek opponent.
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