FC Cincinnati maintained their third place standing in the USL Eastern Conference after drawing the Charleston Battery 1-1 in Nippert Stadium. The home side looked to be in control after a 52′ goal by Omar Cummings, but the Orange & Blue allowed an equalizer in the 70th minute to settle for one point. John Harkes’ side escaped after nearly allowing two changes late in the match, but did pick up a point in the standings following losses by Louisville City and New York Red Bulls II.
The 19,229 fans that jammed Nippert were treated to some sloppy play and missed chances in the first half. FC Cincinnati logged 5 shots to Charleston’s 2, nearly netting on a far post effort from Jimmy McLaughlin. Harkes utilized his 4-1-4-1 formation again with Derek Luke taking the place of Pat McMahon in the RB position.
After having much success vs. Louisville playing up the middle of the pitch, Cincinnati worked the wings hard. The Orange & Blue were able to exploit much space up the sidelines, but had issues when getting to the center of the park. The Battery defense would not allow center midfielders Andrew Wiedeman and Eric Stevenson get much room and turnovers and stifled attacks ensued. Wiedeman did have an opportunity from the top of the box late in the half that was deflected wide by the Charleston keeper.
In the second half, FC Cincinnati started on the front foot running at the Battery defense. In the 52′, Tyler Polak drove up the left sideline and passed a ball to winger Jimmy McLaughlin. McLaughlin crossed the ball through the box which found Omar Cummings left foot. The Big Cat slotted home a left footed effort far post to put FCC on top.
Charleston began to turn the tide around the 70′. The Battery won a corner on the right where the delivery of Maikel Chang found the head of Heviel Cordoves. The Cuban Forward out leapt FCC keeper Mitch Hildebrandt and put the speedy delivery in the back of the net. Mitch Hildebrandt came up big at least three more times in the half including cutting off a goal line cross and denying two point blank chances within the final 10′ of regulation.
FC Cincinnati nearly notched a winning goal from 89′ sub Luke Spencer. Wiedeman drove down the right side of the field an sent a ball towards the goal box. The ball seemed to be going a bit high, but the Xavier man somehow found it with his head and was denied.
FC Cincinnati now sits on 38 points through 20 matches while NYRB II sit on 41 pts through 20 matches and Lou City 42 pts through 21 matches. The Orange & Blue will now travel to FC Montreal on Wednesday for a 2 p.m. ET start at Complexe Sportif Claude-Robillard.
I was able to take my 16 month old Bryan Jr. to his first FC Cincinnati match this evening. The atmosphere at Nippert was phenomenal to take a young child and I would encourage anyone to do so. The Cincinnati Zoo and FC Cincinnati put on a great Kid Zone and he was able to see a turtle and a lizard. We sat in the General Admission area and I was able to take in the non-Bailey atmosphere for the first time. I was impressed by how loud the Bailey was, but more importantly how loud all Nippert Stadium was. Hopefully little Bryan can love FCC as much as I do and we continue the growth of our hometown club. It was a great evening!