On a beautiful Sunday in April, FC Cincinnati was left feeling dreary as they dropped their 2nd match of the season 2-0 to Bethlehem Steel FC. With 2 goals by Seku Conneh, FC Cincinnati ended their 3 game road trip to start the season with 3 points (1-2-0).
For the 2nd consecutive week, FC Cincinnati had to go to their bench early as former Arsenal fullback and debutante Justin Hoyte went down in the 13th minute. The left back quickly took out his shin guards and was subbed in favor of Tyler Polak.
FC Cincinnati was handicapped even further when Steel FC midfielder Corey Burke was fouled by Paul Nicholson in the box. Nicholson looked to have gotten his feet tangled with Burke which brought the player down in the box. Steel FC were awarded a penalty kick and Nicholson a straight red card for his role in the play. Fortunately for the Orange & Blue, Mitch Hildebrandt came us big as he saved Seku Conneh’s PK diving to the lower right hand corner to parry the shot away.
Coach Alan Koch was forced to make another change in the 28th minute to try and keep defensive shape to stave off any further Bethlehem chances. Mele Temguia was given his debut with the substitution in favor of Andrew Wiedeman.
Down to 10 men, FC Cincinnati allowed Bethlehem to have more possession but that did not stop the Orange & Blue from trying to get a goal or two on the board. In the 30th minute, Aodhan Quinn was fouled just outside the box. Steel FC keeper Jake McGuire made a great save on the free kick jumping to the top left corner to collect the shot.
Neither team was able to net in the first half but Jimmy McLaughlin was able to get up the left flank and forced a pair of Yellow cards on Bethlehem.
The 2nd half started off poorly for FCC in the 47th minute as Bethlehem was able to get on the board first. Seku Conneh got up the left hand flank and cut in to take on Temguia. The debutant fell leaving Conneh 1v1 with Hildebrant. The Steel forward ripped a shot into the top right corner for a 1-0 Steel FC lead.
Things continued to get worse as Bethlehem doubled their lead in the 60th minute with Seku Conneh’s second of the match. Hildebrandt stopped Moar’s initial shot but Delbridge’s clearance found Moar again who calmly slotted it to Conneh who deposited it into the open net.
FC Cincinnati fans could take some solace in the return of the “Big Cat” Omar Cummings in the 71st minute. Cummings came into the game for Kadeem Dacres and provided a spark up the right side of the pitch.
With a two goal cushion, Bethlehem didn’t sense the need to push the envelope further and was content to hold on to the ball and maintain possession. With a 65/35 lead in possession, FC Cincinnati was unable to find a goal to get back into the game.
With the loss, FC Cincinnati falls to 1-2-0 and sits on 3 points in 13th place early into the 2017 season.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Hildebrandt (GK); (R-L) Bahner, Nicholson, Delbridge, Hoyte (13′); Quinn, K. Walker; Dacres (71′), Wiedeman (28′), McLaughlin; Fall
Subs: Jaye (GK), Bone, Craven, Cummings (71′), Mansaray, Polak (13′), Temguia (28′)
Bethlehem Steel FC Starting XI (4-2-3-1): McGuire (GK); (R-L) Jones, McKenzie, Trusty, Wijnaldum; Najem, Elliott (75); Moar (81′), Burke, Epps; Conneh
Subs: Freese (GK), Roberts (75′), Reymann, Mahoney, Heard, Nanco, Rayyan (81′)
- 47′-Steel FC- Conneh (assisted by Elliott)
- 60′-Steel FC- Conneh (assisted by Moar)
- Red- Nicholson- 23′
- Yellow- Burke- 29′
- Yellow- McKenzie- 34′
- Yellow- Jones- 45+2′
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Forced Changes Hurt FC Cincinnati Once Again- For the 2nd time is as many weeks Coach Alan Koch was forced to go to his bench early. Newly signed defender Justin Hoyte went down injured in the 13th minute and had to come out of the match. In his first 10 minutes of the match you could see why the club was high on the defender. Hoyte was able to get up the left flank early with some overlapping runs and had a shot on goal. With Nicholson’s red card, Koch preferred to keep a back 4 and inserted Temguia for Wiedeman. A Temguia error led to the first goal for Bethlehem as the former FC Montreal man lost his footing leaving Conneh alone against Hildebrandt.
Lack of Attack- FC Cincinnati’s issues on the offensive side of the ball continue to rear their ugly head in the match, especially in the 2nd half. Even after dropping to 10 men early, the Orange & Blue continued to resort to the hold up play of Djiby Fall. The only real dangerous scoring chances came on set pieces by Quinn. The sub of Wiedeman off early could deserve some questioning as he has been the one creative player of FC Cincinnati that has not been afraid to take chances. Through 3 matches, FCC has looked stagnant going forward and has yet to find a consistent link at midfield to reach Djiby. They could be in trouble with 3 matches in a row against opponents who have looked deadly going forward.
The Orange & Blue Finally Head Home- After spending the first 3 matches on the road in 2017, FC Cincinnati finally gets to play their first home game of the year next Saturday. Nippert Stadium was friendly to the club last season posting a 9-3-3 record. The club will need to continue that form with 3 games in 8 days against some tough competition in Saint Louis FC, Tampa Bay Rowdies, and Louisville City FC.
Saturday 4/15 Saint Louis FC – 7 p.m. EST – Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH.
@BradleySWeigel for @CincySoccerTalk