2017 Match Reports

Match Report: FC Cincinnati 3 – Ottawa Fury 1

Matchday #25: Ottawa Fury vs. FC Cincinnati

Nippert Stadium – Attendance: 20,058

Head Coach Alan Koch spoke on our podcast this week and talked about how the team was physically and mentally exhausted. He said they were all in need of some down time and rest and were looking forward to 4 days off, but first, they needed to take care of Ottawa Fury at home in Nippert Stadium. The fatigue wasn’t going to go away for this game but being home with the Cincinnati 12th man in the stadium, Koch felt that they could turn their fortunes around.

And they did.

It wasn’t always pretty with some tense moments while the players scrummed inside the 6 yard box, but the home town boys got the job done and broke their month long winless streak. Moving up from 9th place (missing the playoffs) to 6th place (back in the playoffs), the team can go into their break feeling positive and ready to make a strong run to the playoffs at the end of the season.

With the first whistle, FC Cincinnati came out right from the start, dominated possession and dictated the flow of the game. Passing was crisp and turnovers were aggressively smothered. The team showed energy and the crowd was responding. A goal for Ottawa was ruled offside early followed by a strike by Delbridge from distance which rang off the crossbar. These and several other chances continued to build the momentum and energy in the stadium.

Finally in the 34th minute, Polak delivered a beautiful cross into the box and forward Danni König managed to get his foot onto the ball and redirect it into the back of the net.

Ottawa almost leveled the score though in the 38th minute when a strike from Ottawa caught Mitch Hildebrandt off balanced. The keeper pushed his clearance attempt upward, but the ball carried back toward the goal line. Center back Harrison Delbridge looks like a contender for Save of the Week as he bicycle kicked the ball off the line and out of the goal.

The boys in Orange and Blue continued to battle and press and in the 42nd minute on a counter, König touched a ball back to McLaughlin who turned on the jets and sprinted half the field to slot the ball past the keeper into the back corner.

As the first half ended, FC Cincinnati was firmly in control of the game with 2 unanswered goals, 55% of the possession, 83% passing accuracy, and a slight edge on shots with 8 (2 on target) to Ottawa’s 6 (1 on target).

Koch’s message at half was to keep the momentum up and the second half started well. In the 57th minute, off a Polak free kick, Sem deWit tapped the ball into the net and scored his first goal for FCC.

But that was going to be it for the home team. Six minutes later, Ottawa would pull one back when Dos Santos would put one in off a corner kick. With a little momentum finally going their way and the fatigue that Coach Koch warned about noticeably slowing the boys down, FCC bunkered down and just held on. The Fury pelted the defense with shots but the Orange and Blue stayed strong and fended off the attacks. In the dying moments of stoppage time, Mitch was called upon to make one more huge save and keep the score line intact.

When the game closed out, we could see that FC Cincinnati had pulled back significantly in the second half. Total possession dropped to 47%, passing accuracy had dropped to 74%, and Cincinnati had only manage to make an additional 2 shots in the second half compared to Ottawa who made 13 (6 on target).

Still, the victory tasted sweet, Cincinnati had turned out for their team and the boys had fought through the exhaustion and delivered 3 points to the Queen City.

3 Thoughts

Motivation: In the last 2 USL games, fans felt that the team was not showing enough motivation. They came out flat and fell behind and didn’t respond well. As the goals accumulated and the fans grew frustrated, the team seemed to shrink and give the opposing team more and more control over the game. Clearly, this was not an issue for this game. Did Coach Koch set his players straight? Did they just need some time to come back down to the USL from the exciting Open Cup run? Whatever the reason, the team battled today. There were some rough patches for sure and Ottowa got unlucky several times, but the grit and determination from FCC was a difference maker.

Kenny Walker: Welcome back, sir. We missed you. When Walker is not on the pitch, the team struggles. He provides a critical role to break up plays before they make it to the defense and is a key piece in transitioning out of the back. When he is absent, the games don’t have the same flow and we struggle to possess and manage the game.

Away Form:  Today was an important win for the team. It broke up a month long winless streak and put the momentum in the right direction going into a long break, but it doesn’t answer the question of away form. The team has 7 games remaining and only 2 of those are home. While Nippert is a fortress and we rarely lose at home, Cincinnati has not performed well away. We need to win many of the remaining games to secure a playoff spot. The game on September 12th will be a critical game to set the tone and show that we’re focused on the USL and looking to be part of another Cup run.

Box Score

FC Cincinnati Starting XI (3-4-3): Hildebrandt (GK), (L-R) Delbridge, Hoyte, de Wit (79′); Polak, Bone, K. Walker, Bahner; McLaughlin (93′), König, Wiedeman (64′)
Subs: Jaye (GK), Berry (11′), Dacres (2′), Djiby, Dominguez, Greig (26′), Schindler

Ottawa Fury Starting XI (3-4-3): Irving (GK), McEleney, Martin Del Campo, Barden; Campbell, Bruna, Manesio (64′), Dixon (45′); Haworth, Dos Santos, Seoane (87′)
Subs: Paulmin (GK), Hume (45′), Meilleur-Giguère, Mkungilwa, Obasi (26′), Reid, Sanon (3′)

Goal Summary:
FCC: 34th – König (Polak)
FCC: 42nd – McLaughlin (König)
FCC: 57th – de Wit
OTT: 63rd – Dos Santos (Martin Del Campo)


Next Up:

Saturday 9/2 – vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds – 4:00 p.m. EST – Nippert Stadium

@Billwwolf for @CincySoccerTalk

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