Match Day13: FC Cincinnati vs. North Carolina FC
Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, NC
Result: FC Cincinnati: 2- North Carolina FC: 0
On a warm evening FC Cincinnati took the pitch against North Carolina FC and were able to see out a victory against an aggressive opponent. FCC newcomer Nazmi Albadawi returned to his hometown to play his previous club and helped deliver a decisive blow late in the game that put the game out of reach and allowed the Orange & Blue to bring back three precious points.
Manager Alan Koch continues to rotate and insert new blood into the team’s lineup. Koch rolled a 4-2-3-1 formation that included Russell Cicerone at right wing, traditionally a position Emmanuel Ledesma holds down, but Ledesma was placed on the left wing. Another oddity that may have played in the team’s favor was a lineup mistake in which the signed lineup card had Michael Lahoud starting. However, Corben Bone was supposed to get the start and instead of modifying the lineup and losing the possibility of playing Lahoud off the bench, Koch kept the lineup as is and allowed Bone to gain some much-needed rest and come on as a second-half substitute.
The home team was able to control the beginning of the game and created some chances that did not really threaten FCC. In the 16 minute NCFC was able to break down FCC and slotted Donovan Ewolo free into the box, but Forrest Lasso was able to slide across and make a clean tackle eliminating the dangerous chance.
The surprise FCC starter, Cicerone, made the most of his time and immediately became a nuisance to the left side of NCFC pitch. Cicerone made run after run and created dangerous chances. In the 24th minute, he ran down a ball at the Carolina byline, and nearly found Danni Konig with a wide open header. The ball did end up at Ledesma’s feet and he was able to get a shot on goal. Thirteen minutes later Cicerone was able to split two Carolina defenders and ripped a shot that Alex Tambakis was able to deflect but the ball skyed up and over to the head of Konig who headed the ball into the back of the next. Konig becomes the all-time leading scorer in FC Cincinnati’s short history, with 17 goals, passing both Djiby Fall and Sean Okoli.
— Cincy Soccer Talk (@cincysoccertalk) June 9, 2018
Although FCC took the lead North Carolina fought back and almost leveled the score just before the half. Steven Miller delivered a beautiful cross that found the head of Daniel Rios. Rios’ header was solid and right on target but Evan Newton was able to parry the ball out of danger. That is how the game entered the half with FCC leading 1-0.
The second half was all about North Carolina as they continued to come in waves at the boys from Cincinnati. There were numerous shots that just missed the target and that seemed to be how the game would play out. NCFC’s Rios found another opportunity late in the half when a long ball was played over the top and he was able to get on the end of it. He gathered the ball and ripped a shot from the top of the box that took a slight deflection off an FCC defender and nearly skipped in but Newton was again able to squash the opportunity and keep the away side in the lead.
The game was finally put away in the 87th minute when Albadawi attacked the top of the box and slotted a pass to his right to a wide open Emery Welshman. The Guayana international cut inside then took a shot that Tambakis blocked but the rebound fell straight to Jimmy McLaughlin’s feet, and he deposited the ball into the back of the net. The resulting scored ended any hopes of the home team acquiring a point and FC Cincinnati walked away with all three points.
Russ a Rone (Rice a Roni)- Cicerone was a breath of fresh air and one of the key components to tonight’s victory. Cicerone had a nice outing on Wednesday against an MLS squad, Minnesota United, but to follow it up with another nice outing shows that he can do it on a consistent basis. He is aggressive and attacks the opponents, forcing defenders into split-second decisions. Sometimes it works but sometimes it does not. The point is to make opponents think while defending. The only other person on FCC that does this consistently is McLaughlin. It is nice to see two guys that can be used to keep the pressure of this attacking style up.
Home Cleaning- Lasso and Albadawi were not only able to come back to the area they grew up in and deliver a victory, but they were also able to contribute to a clean sheet. This is the first clean sheet since Ottawa (April 28). It was not only a long time coming but a difficult one to obtain. NCFC was able to get 20 shots off but only five were on target. I’m sure the entire team is happy to finally get another clean sheet but for Albadawi and Lasso, it had to be extra special doing it in their home state.
No Manu – Ledesma picked up a yellow card early in the first half when he was about to take a corner. The home fans rushed down to the corner area and started yelling at him. Ledesma waited and would not take the kick and the head referee finally issued a yellow for delay of game. It was a unnecessary yellow for Ledesma to pick up — and a costly one. With the card, he obtained his fifth caution of the year which automatically earned him a game suspension, meaning he will not be available for Wednesday’s match against Bethlehem Steel.
37’ – CIN – Konig
87’ – CIN – McLaughlin
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-4-2): Evan Newton (GK), Blake Smith, Forest Lasso, Paddy Barrett, Justin Hoyte, Richie Ryan, Michael Lahoud(61′), Russell Cicerone(73′), Nazmi Albadawi, Emmanuel Ledesma, Danni König(82′)
Subs: Mark Village, Matt Bahner, Sem deWit, Corben Bone(61′), Jimmy McLaughlin(73′), Emery Welshman(82′), Wil Seymore
North Carolina FC Starting XI: Alex Tambakis (GK), DJ Taylor, Peabo Doue, C Tobin, Michael Harrington, Steven Miller, Graham Smith, Marcel Kandziora(65′), Austin da Luz, Daniel Rios, D Ewolo(65′)
Subs: Austin Guerrero, W Fernandes, Guillen, T Shiplane, Fortune, Lomis(65′), K Bekker(65′)
FC Cincinnati vs. Bethlehem Steel (USL) – Wed. June 13- 7:30 p.m. – Nippert Stadium