FC Cincinnati traveled cross country to take on fellow USL mega-club Sacramento Republic FC in their fifth preseason match of 2017. After going winless in their first three preseason matches and winning a final scrimmage vs the USYNT U-17’s, FC Cincinnati looked to get a result in Sacramento. The game was a mixed bag for FC Cincinnati, but they were able to shock the fans at Bonney Field with a 2-2 draw on a last second header by former Republic FC defender Harrison Delbridge.
Things were against FC Cincinnati early as Hildebrandt had to withstand several early opportunities. The FC Cincinnati midfield showed some creativity in their vision and passes, but the overall execution wasn’t there. In the 21′, FC Cincinnati center back Harrison Delbridge was pulled down in the box on a free kick which lead to an FC Cincinnati penalty kick. Newcomer Aodhan Quinn stepped up to the spot and ripped the ball into the top corner to lead at Bonney Field.
FC Cincinnati developed many opportunities in the middle of the 1st half, but Sacramento regained some momentum as the half ran on. Sacramento was most effective on the counter late with several chances coming. A long strike from Republic FC midfielder Adam Moffat challenged Hildebrandt and a late breakaway from Caesar nearly tied the match. Those chances were not to be and both teams entered the lockers with FCC up 1-0.
Sacramento Republic began the second half on an attacking foot repeatedly challenging the FC Cincinnati defense. Koch’s defense withstood the pressure well until an injury to team Captain Austin Berry in the 54′. Berry looked to have fallen on his right arm on a challenge and would be replaced by Paul Nicholson.
Sacramento would finally get on the board in the 65′ after FC Cincinnati could not clear the ball out of their area cleanly. The goalscorer James Kiffe tackled Quinn when trying to clear a ball. After the turnover, Kiffe made a great run, collected the ball off a ricochet and beat Hildebrant on a shot to the right.
The Republic would then go ahead off a free kick conceded off a poor Paul Nicholson tackle. Williams received the ball off the right and launched a shot at Hildebrandt. The keeper parried it to his right where Kneeshaw collected and slotted it home to go up 2-1.
New signing Kadeem Dacres would star in the final minutes of the match, tormenting from the right wing. He nearly had a goal late after a fantastic dribbling sequence and his shot was barely collected.
It looked like FC Cincinnati would have to leave Sacramento with a difficult defeat, but Sacramento conceded a late free kick in the third minute of stoppage time. The Stevenson free kick was cleared to Dominguez who fed Townsend on the right. Townsend delivered an exceptional ball and the former Republic standout would head it home to secure an away draw.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Hildebrandt (86′) (GK); Polak, Delbridge, Berry (54′), Bahner (79′);Quinn(86′); McLaughlin (77′), K. Walker (84′), Bone (86′), Wiedeman (70′); Fall (77′)
Subs: Jaye (4′) (GK),Williams (GK), Craven (11′), Dacres (20′), Dominguez (6′), Mansaray (13′), McMahon (11′), Nicholson (36′), Stevenson (4′), Townsend (4′), A.Walker
Sacramento Republic FC Starting XI (4-4-2): Newton; (L-R) Kiffe, James (T), Davey*, Hord; Barrera, Blackwood, Moffat, Hall; Caesar, Ochoa
* denotes Chelsea FC Player, T denotes Trialist
Subs: Jakubek (GK), Cazarez, Trickett-Smith, Kneeshaw, Williams, Gissie, Suma, Montano and Chaney
- 21′ – FC Cincinnati – Aodhan Quinn
- 65′ – Republic FC – James Kiffe
- 82′ – Republic FC – Wilson Kneeshaw
- ET+3 – FC Cincinnati – Harrison Delbridge
Defense – The defense showed a marked improvement before the loss of Berry. They withstood the physical attack of Sacramento and held when needed. Bahner looked shaky on several chances, but improved in the second half. Polak pressed high up the pitch and he showed improvement off the 2016 campaign. Things fell apart after Berry exited. A bad clearance from the midfield led to the first goal and a poor foul from converted midfielder Paul Nicholson led to the second chance. I think this unit will be better.The lack of possession on Saturday led to many chances against them they couldn’t prohibit.
Is our Offensive Creativity Present? – I personally thought the quick play and a defined quick touch approach in the first half looked great. Yes, the execution wasn’t there, but it should be in a few more weeks. At times we hoofed the ball up to Djiby up top and he held it capably when surrounded. FC Cincinnati struggled to create great final passes for Fall to capitalize off of, but you saw the thoughts in their build up.
Is the 4-1-4-1 the right formation? – The 4-1-4-1 is designed to be a possession based formation. The problem with that is FC Cincinnati didn’t dominate in that aspect. Yes, they had some creativity, but did it count in the final third? Djiby Fall found himself on an island several times against a well-set Sac Republic defense. I would have liked to see him with an additional forward play off of to pull several defenders away from him. How many times did we see him surrounded by 3 defenders? Credit the Sacramento defense for putting him on an island and stifling the attack in and around the box. As for the midfield, we saw Dacres come on and be a game changer. There was not much individual flair in the starting XI. Maybe some of this could be a personnel swap. With two games to go in preseason, I would look for Koch to use the two additional formations he mentioned on this weeks podcast.
FC Cincinnati supporters took over MadTree Brewing 2.0 as the club unveiled their new all black third kit for the 2017 season. The kit by Nike is available now for pre-order for $85. It is interesting that FC Cincinnati would go for an alternative kit outside the clubs color scheme. The kit appears to look similar to the new US Soccer jerseys except black. There has been some good initial feedback. Leave your comments on the new jersey below.
- FC Cincinnati: Saturday 3/11 vs. University of Cincinnati (NCAA) – 7 p.m. EST – Gettler Stadium (UC)