Pre-season: FC Cincinnati vs. Nashville SC
Gettler Stadium – Attendance: Sold Out
Result: FCC 2 – NSC 2
Two halves, two stories. FC Cincinnati started the match without two important midfielders. Kenney Walker had a prior family engagement and Nazmi Albadawi took a knock in practice this week. Despite the depth at midfield, the match started slowly. FC Cincinnati played into the sun the 1st half and struggled to get the ball through the midfield with Nashville keeping a stout defense.
Nashville SC is a built team, and they played a more physical match than expected. In the 5th minute, Keinan went down on a 50/50 header and needed to be stitched up on the field. He fought to stay in the match despite having Paddy Barrett ready to go on the sideline. The official pulled him again later for bleeding, and the club put a big headband around the injury to keep him in.
Nashville scored in the 20th minute after some good passing gave Lebo Moloto the ball. Instead of taking the shot, he tapped the ball back to Matt LaGrassa and caught the defender off guard. LaGrassa took the long shot and put the visiting side up early.
Finally, in the 32nd minute, FC Cincinnati was able to start working Emery Welshman into the match. The forward had been alone up top as the midfield worked to solve the puzzle Nashville had placed before them. Back-to-back chances for Welshman came very close to early goals. On the flip side, Tucker Hume for Nashville was less than impressive. He got a free kick in the 37th minute after going to ground and then decided to stick with that method. The official figured it out quickly, and his next several attempts were met with FC Cincinnati play-on opportunities.
Right before the half, FC Cincinnati went full field after a great Spencer Richey save. Lance Laing got the ball wide open on the left side about thirty yards out. He fired a beautifully curved bullet from distance that Pickens had no chance to save.
With the sun at their backs, FC Cincinnati took over the match in the second half. The midfield struggles dissipated as Nashville proved easy to break down from the wings. Cincy started seeing many chances, but Pickens seemed up to the task, especially on another Laing shot. Richey had a big save in the 58th minute pushing a Nashville shot over the corner.
— Mark Slaughter (@MarkVSlaughter) March 3, 2018
A quick sideline throw-in caught Nashville off guard in the 65th minute, and FC Cincinnati was quick to cross the ball into the box. Pickens fended off the right side, but Welshman got the ball and put the shot in from 5 yards out, just inside the post to make the match 2-1. A couple more chances came FC Cincinnati’s way but nothing materialized before the mass substitution at the 70th minute.
Bahner, Barrett, De Wit, Josu, Seymore, Halfhill, Haber, Cicerone, McLaughlin, and Ameobi all entered the match and held their own. Nashville brought in a few subs in Mensah and Winn. The physicality of the match was noticeable in the final 30 minutes as both teams picked up cards and looked for more. In the 86th minute, a foul in the box was called on FC Cincinnati, and Nashville was awarded a PK. FCC goalkeeper Richey guessed Winn’s kick right, but the ball was a grounder and went just under him. After two minutes of added time, the match ended 2-2.
Need to Start Faster – It took time for FC Cincinnati to figure out their new foe, and it was costly. Cincinnati needed to fight back after going down a goal to get back in this match. Once the midfield was able to work laterally down the sides, the chances created flipped in Cincy’s favor. If the Orange and Blue were able to get Welshman the ball sooner, the score in the first half could have been different.
Laing In Space Is Magical- Very impressive afternoon from Lance Laing. The left-footed winger not only netted the prettiest goal of the preseason, he also passed the ball across the pitch with ease. When the left side of the field closed down, he saw it and cleanly passed it across the pitch to work the right. He could have easily had another goal as he demanded a clinic from Pickens.
Nashville Is Better Than Expected – This thought was echoed by several people around the stands. Nashville has assembled a good squad in a short amount of time. The match today should have been a victory for FCC, but the next battle could be tough. Nashville did not play their more dynamic forwards until late. Expect the next battle between these two squads to also be a physical one.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Richey (GK); (L-R) Hoyte (70′), Keinan (70′), Lasso (70′), Seymore (70′); Ryan (70′), Smith (70′); Bone (70′), Laing (scored 45′)(70′)(, Ledesma (70′); Welshman (scored 65′)(70′)
Subs: Village (GK), Barrett (70), Bahner (70′), Cicerone (70′), Josu (70), De Wit (70′), Haber (70′), Halfhill (70′), McLaughlin (70′), Seymore (70′), Ameobi (70′)
Nashville SC Starting XI (3-5-2): Pickens (GK), Kimura, Woodberry, Doyle, Davis, James, Reed, LaGrassa, Moloto, Hume, Cox
Subs: Mensah, Winn, Shroot, (unlisted)
FC Cincinnati vs. The University of Cincinnati (NCAA) – Wed. March 7th. 7:30 p.m. – Gettler Stadium, Cincinnati, OH. – TICKETS