FC Cincinnati dropped their second straight road game, 3-2 in Charlotte Wednesday evening. The Orange & Blue will still claim the inaugural Queen City Cup by way of most road goals. Check out our game recap below.
Starters (4-2-3-1): Hildebrandt (GK); (R-L)Luke (90′), Delbridge, Berry, Polak; Bone (45′), Walker (86′); Ripoll (72′), Wiedeman, Stevenson (45′); Okoli
Subs: Jaye (GK),Lee, McLaughlin (45′), Mohamed (ET’), Nicholson (45′), Spencer (4′), Tomaselli (18′)
Coach Harkes made some changes to the starting XI in this match. Alvaro Ripoll made his first USL start while Eric Stevenson started on the left midfield position in place of traditional starter Jimmy McLaughlin. Derek Luke started in place of the suspended Pat McMahon.
Things began on the wrong foot for FC Cincinnati as center back Harrison Delbridge clipped the left knee of Charlotte forward Brian Brown in the 11th minute of the first half and the Independence were awarded a penalty kick. Midfielder Enzo Martinez stepped up to the spot and had his initial shot saved by Cincinnati keeper. Martinez however regained the ball and put the ball in the back of the net to put the Independence up 1-0. The teams would enter the half CLT 2 – FCC 1.
Things began to get chippy in the second half with both squads committing tough fouls against each other. Charlotte was nearly able to get a 2 goal lead after the Independence attack broke down the Cincy defense but CLT midfielder Alex Martinez hooked his shot wide. FC Cincinnati was able to get an equalizer in the 60th minute as an Andrew Wiedeman cross found the back of the head of forward Sean Okoli for his 12th goal of the season. The Charlotte bench wanted a offside call, but the midfielder did stay onside due to a deep CLT center back (See the goal below.)
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Charlotte and Cincinnati traded near shots around the 70th minute as Independence defender Duckett hits the post off a short corner and Ripoll just miss hits chance right. Charlotte was reduced to 10 men in the 79’as Duckett committed his second tough foul of the game and was ejected with his second yellow.
Charlotte scored their third and deciding goal in the 86th minute off a Jorge Herrera free kick lazer. The free kick took a deflection off the head of sub Paul Nicholson and passed Mitch Hildebrandt to make the match 3-2. FC Cincinnati earned a corner in the 94th which was cleared to the foot of Delbridge who laced a pacey shot that was saved off the line by the Charlotte keeper Berner.
This will be a disappointing match for Coach Harkes and his squad as they were able to create chances off corners and wide play, but struggled in the middle of the field and finishing. Andrew Wiedeman’s play on the evening stood out and I hope that he is able to continue to pull the strings next match. The defensive midfield pairing of Corben Bone and Kenney Walker was also a tad shaky. Often times both would roam forward and allow too much space in front of the back four for Charlotte to exploit. Things calmed down a bit with the substitution of Nicholson.FC Cincinnati couldn’t capitalize off the short handed Charlotte side and slumped to their 2nd loss in as many matches.
This result drops FC Cincinnati to 4th place in the USL Eastern Conference after a draw between Richmond and Charleston.
Saint Louis F.C . (7-10-8, 29 Pts.) – Monday, 4:30 p.m. – Nippert Stadium
FC Cincinnati returns to Nippert Stadium for a Labor Day afternoon showdown vs. Saint Louis F.C. of the USL’s Western Conference. This is a different Saint Louis F.C. side than we saw during their first matchup. STLFC has only notched 1 win in 10 matches in the months of July and August. They have relived Head Coach Dale Shilley of his duties and have struggled to get the ball in the back of the net, averaging less than 1 goal per match in that span. Make sure to get your tickets in advance and pack Nippert for the second to last regular season home match of the inaugural season.