FC Cincinnati wrapped up their regular USL season at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh in a contest that had little value to either side. Cincinnati had already cemented their 3rd place finish and Pittsburgh was out of the playoffs. The only prize up for grabs tonight was the Golden Boot and Sean Okoli, who held the lead position, was certainly looking to extend the lead.
Coach Harkes brought out a strong starting XI returning to his 4-1-4-1 formation but showing that he wanted to keep his team match fit and carrying momentum into the playoff race. One might have expected Harkes to make liberal use of his subs but he only used 4 of his 5 subs and his first subs didn’t come until the last 20 minutes of the game.
Luke Berry Delbridge Polak
Stevenson (71′) Wiedeman (87′) Bone McLaughlin (71′)
The only goal of the evening game in the 31st minute when Sean Okoli netted his 16th goal of the season. The goal came off a penalty kick after a spinning ball bounced up and was handled by Pittsburgh’s William Hunt. Hound’s keeper Steffen guessed right but was not able to get to the ball quick enough as Ugo tucked the ball into the lower left corner.
The match itself was a back and forth affair. Pittsburgh with “long passes” over the top to a charging Hertzog. FC Cincinnati attempting to build up play from the back but often failing to complete their third or fourth pass and turning the ball over to the Hounds. In the last 20 minutes, the Hounds pressed and the Orange and Blue absorbed a lot of pressure. The defense help and ended their season with a clean sheet.
Other games this evening did have impact and several teams were vying for playoff positions. This is how the landscape shook out. While the 8th playoff position is still to be decided on Sunday when Orlando play Bethlehem Steel, the remaining positions are now determined. Charleston’s loss along with Rochester’s win and Charlotte’s tie means that the Battery will travel to Cincinnati on October 2nd for FC Cincinnati’s first ever playoff game. FCC’s record against Charleston is 0-1-1 losing in stoppage time in their first ever USL match and then earning a tie when the Battery visited Nippert later in the season.