On Wednesday, FC Cincinnati took to the field for the second time this season to face the only MLS opponent on their preseason schedule this year, the Chicago Fire. Unlike last year, when FC Cincinnati defeated NYCFC 2-1, they were unable to overcome a feisty Chicago team even after a hectic final 10 minutes that saw the teams combine for three goals. When the final whistle blew, FC Cincinnati walked off the field for the second time this year with a 3-2 defeat.
To start the game, FCC implemented the same formation they used in the second half of the OKC energy game, a 4-1-4-1. Victor Mansaray was the lone striker, with Daryl Fordyce sitting behind him in the midfield, and Aodhan Quinn was placed as the lone defensive midfielder. Quinn again was able to distribute the ball well, creating efficient offensive attacks with Dacres and McLaughlin on the wings. One of Quinn’s biggest plays, and maybe the most controversial of the game came in the 10th minute. Quinn received a pass at the top of Chicago’s penalty box and delivered what appeared to be the first goal of the game. However, the linesman ruled Cincinnati offside (goalkeeper interference) even though no one touched the shot.
— Cincy Soccer Talk (@cincysoccertalk) February 22, 2017
The teams settled down and traded periods of possessions that neither side could take advantage of, then in the 31st minute Chicago delivered the first goal on a cross from midfielder John Goossens to an unmarked Luis Solignac. After the goal, Chicago started to find its rhythm had a good run of play for the remainder of the first half, but Cincinnati was able to prevent them from building on their lead with a well-organized defense.
The second half saw Chicago make wholesale changes to their lineup and nearly double their lead in the second minute of the half. Chicago’s Alveraz sent a corner into the box that found its way to the goal line only to be cleared away by Austin Berry.
With 30 minutes remaining in regulation, Cincinnati’s coach Koch made a large substitution that included Jaye, Craven, Bone, Fall, Dominguez, K. Walker, A. Walker, Townsend, Nicholson, and McMahon. Soon after the mass substitution, Dallas Jaye was required to come up huge after a poor clearance by Aaron Walker. A few minutes later, Cincinnati would have a bit of bad luck as Dominguez struggled to keep the ball out of the net after Chicago’s Leeuw headed the ball on frame.
Cincinnati kept fighting and eventually broke through in the 88th minute when Nicholson sent a long pass forward to Djiby Fall, who headed it over the poorly positioned Chicago keeper. Chicago responded one minute later with a goal from Dekovic, putting the game out of Cincinnati’s reach. Cincinnati’s Kenny Walker added a well-placed free kick from about 25 yards out in the 90th minute to finish up the scoring for the game.
FC CINCINNATI STARTING XI (4-1-4-1): Hildebrandt (GK); Hildebrandt; Bahner, Berry (C), Delbridge, Polak; Quinn; Weideman, Fordyce, Dacres, McLaughlin; Mansaray
Substitutes that entered in 60th Minute in BOLD: Jaye (GK), Williams (GK), Bone, Craven, Dominguez, Fall, McMahon, Nicholson, Narbon, Townsend, A Walker, K Walker
31’ CHI: Solignac (from Gooesens)
70’ CHI: Leeuw
88’ FCC: Djiby Fall
89’ CHI: Dekovic
90’ FCC: Kenny Walker (Free Kick)
- First half defense was more organized than the previous game. Alan Koch started Bahner, Delbridge, Berry, and Polak on the back line. This group appears to have good chemistry and it showed. Other than Chicago’s first goal this line did not allow Chicago a lot of opportunities. I expect this line to get stronger as everyone becomes more familiar with each other (Bahner specifically).
- Improvement needed in the air defensively. All three of Chicago’s goals derived from a cross of some type. Cincinnati needs to find a way to clear the balls out of the box. This problem has been in existence since late last year as seen in the playoff loss to Charleston. Marking needs to be stronger for this team to progress. Offense maybe a strength but gifting teams with goals will prevent this team from the ultimate success it is looking for.
- Fordyce game IQ. I am not exactly sure how to put this, but Daryl Fordyce positions himself well throughout the game. He is fluid and his soccer acumen is extremely high, allowing him to be in the right place at the right time. Although we did not score with him in, you can tell he makes everyone better around him.