Match Day 16: FC Cincinnati at Toronto FC II
Lamport Stadium: Attendance 288
Result: FC Cincinnati: 3 – Toronto FC II: 3
After eleven days of rest, FC Cincinnati traveled to Canada to take on Toronto FC II. Cincinnati, sitting at the top of the table, were considered the heavy favorite against the last place team in the conference. The game began as expected with FCC dominating possession and the flow of the game. Cincinnati found the net early with Blake Smith headed the ball toward the corner to a waiting Emmanuel Ledesma. The Argentine snatched the ball from the Toronto defender and played the ball to Nazmi Albadawi at the top of the six. Albadawi, calmly tapped the ball into the goal for the 1-0 lead.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) June 27, 2018
FC Cincinnati, then, dropped back and absorbed pressure from Toronto. Eventually, TFC2 found the equalizer they were looking for. Toronto strung several passes together in the center of the pitch and eventually played it outside to Dante Campbell. Campbell was given space and was able to cross the ball to Ayo Akinola who headed the ball past Evan Newton from almost point blank range.
The equalizer seemed to wake up the Orange and Blue. They retook possession and control over the game and worked to gain the advantage again. A long ball from Paddy Barrett found Albadawi, who won a battle with a Toronto defender and was able to cross the ball central to an onrushing Emery Welshman. Welshman, buried the ball in the back of the net and FC Cincinnati retook the lead.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) June 27, 2018
Continuing with the momentum, FCC remained on the attack. A few minutes later, Welshman gathered the ball at midfield and dribbled the ball past several defenders before passing the ball to Ledesma. Ledesma looked up and launched the ball into the net from 25 yards out.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) June 28, 2018
In the second half, Toronto came out of the locker room ready to battle. FC Cincinnati seemed secure in with their win and allowed TFC2 to manage the game. Toronto continued to attack looking for an opportunity. On a free kick off of a Barett foul, Robert Boskovic got above the defense and headed the ball into goal past Evan Newton to bring the Young Reds within one.
With the momentum gained from their goal, Toronto pressed and was rewarded four minutes later. Steffan Yeates sent a cross into the box, where an unmarked Jordan Hamilton executed a beautiful side volley that leveled the score.
With fifteen minutes of regulation time remaining, Cincinnati attempted to regain the upper hand and control over the game, but they were never able to generate a serious threat to Toronto. While road points are hard earned, FCC will be disappointed not to come back home after holding a two-goal advantage.
Attack, Attack, Attack – The Orange and Blue continue to show their prolific capability to score. With 33 goals for the season thus far, they are on track to score 70 goals for the season. Ledesma netted his eighth goal moving him up to top goal scorer for Cincinnati. He is on track to score 16 goals this season and match Sean Okoli’s golden boot performance in FCC’s first season. Albadawi’s goal brings his total to six goals in ten appearances, which is actually more goals per appearance than Ledesma (8 in 15). Ledesma’s assist earns him the top spot as the league leader with eight assists to date. It also earns him the record for the most assists for FCC in a single season displacing Kenny Walker who held that record after earning seven assists last year.
Tale of Two Halves – Though, in general, earning a point on the road is considered acceptable, the Orange and Blue were considered heavy favorites in tonight’s match. Not only that, but they came out and scored early. Admittedly, they then sat back and let Toronto come at them until Toronto equalized, but what’s important is that Cincinnati then responded by regaining possession and control over the game. They scored two more goals to end the half with a two-goal lead and limited Toronto to only a single shot on target. However, the second half was a poor performance from FCC. In a complete reversal, Toronto limited Cincinnati to a single shot and it wasn’t even on target. For large stretches, FC Cincinnati wasn’t able to get the ball out of their own half and eventually Toronto was able to equalize. Giving up a lead twice to the last place team in the Eastern conference certainly is disappointing.
Bone for Ryan – Six minutes after Corben Bone was brought in to replace an injured Richie Ryan, Toronto began their come back. While Bone certainly played a more defensive role at times in the past, this season, he has predominantly played in a more attacking role. Where Ryan helped secure the midfield and transition into the counter, Bone seemed to be a lot quieter in that role. Perhaps adjusting the team formation around the change in personnel would have been more effective. Moving to the 4-4-2 diamond formation, with Bone on the left and Ledesma shifting central and higher might have been a more natural fit. Considering that FC Cincinnati was struggling to get an attack started in the second half this may have also helped.
8´ – FCC – Nazmi Albadawi (Emmanuel Ledesma)
28´ – TFC – Ayo Akinola (Dante Campbell)
38´ – FCC – Emery Welshman (Nami Albadawi)
40´ – FCC – Emmanuel Ledesma (Emery Welshman)
70′ – TFC – Robert Boskovic (Ryan Telfer)
75′ – TFC – Jordan Hamilton (Steffen Yeates)
45′ – TFC – Kyle Bjornethun
88′ – TFC – Dante Campbell
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Evan Newton (GK), Blake Smith, Dekel Keinan, Paddy Barrett, Matt Bahner, Richie Ryan 64′, Michael Lahoud, Emmanuel Ledesma, Nazmi Albadawi, Russell Cicerone 83′, Emery Welshman 73′
Subs: Corben Bone 64’, Daniel Haber, Justin Hoyte, Danni König 73’, Forrest Lasso, Jimmy McLaughlin 83’, Spencer Richey
Toronto FC II Starting XI (4-3-3): Borja Angoitia (GK), Robert Boskovic, Dante Cambell, Juilian Dunn-Johnson, Kyle Bjornethun 46′, Liam Fraser, Gideon Waja 71′, Luca Uccello, Malik Johnson, Jordan Hamilton, Ayo Akinola 78′
Subs: Noble Okello Ayo, Aiden Daniels, Shaan Hundal 78’, Rimi Olatunjl, Rocco Romeo, Ryan Telfer 46’, Steffen Yeates 71’
FC Cincinnati vs. Ottawa Fury – Sat. June 30th – 7:30 p.m. – Nippert Stadium