Match Reports

FC Cincinnati Heads Past New York Red Bulls II

Despite some harrowing moments, FC Cincinnati literally and figuratively weathered a storm and took another three points at home with goals coming from both center backs off of set pieces. With the win, FCC extends its unbeaten streak to ten games.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Miller


Matchday #21 – FC Cincinnati vs New York Red Bulls II

Nippert Stadium – Attendance: 23,602
Result: FC Cincinnati: 2 – New York Red Bulls II: 1


It was a dreary night with rain on and off, at times heavy, at times light. The crowd of faithful fans still turned out, but the usual sea of Orange and Blue was a multi-colored array of plastic ponchos. The pitch was slick, and tempers were short at times. New York came to the Queen City looking for three points. It left with its tail between its legs, denied by Cincinnati, who swept the home and away series winning both.

As expected, New York started the game pressing and attacking. The tempo was quick. Cincinnati bent but didn’t break. It struggled early to contain the Baby Bulls and eventually in the 15th minute, New York got an early chance. New York’s Tom Barlow got possession and blew past Forest Lasso. Spencer Richey came out of the box, closed down the attack and kept the scoreline even, preventing the Baby Bulls from taking an early lead.

“(Richey) did everything we knew he could do … Spencer’s been training fantastically for weeks and months and he deserved the opportunity that he got tonight,” FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch said.

Only minutes later, having denied the Baby Bulls their scoring opportunity, Cincinnati struck on a corner kick. Emmanuel Ledesma played a perfect ball near post to Lasso, who was essentially unmarked. He rose up and flicked the ball into the back of the net, putting FCC up 1-0.

Unfortunately, for the Orange and Blue, the lead was short-lived. Eight minutes later, while marking his man on a free kick, the ball deflected off of Danni König’s head and into the back of the net. Unlucky for König, it was ruled an own goal and tied up the game 1-1.

The goal from New York woke up Cincinnati, who pressed to gain the lead again. In the 36th minute, they were rewarded off another set piece. Ledesma put the ball over the back line into the path of Paddy Barrett. Barrett, who was unmarked and charging towards goal, nodded the ball down and to the far post, scoring his first goal for FCC and bringing the scoreline to 2-1.

Though the rain stopped for most of the second half, the remainder of the game was much less exciting. In general, the play was more sloppy and the teams seemed to lack energy at times. FCC gave the Baby Bulls the majority of the possession and spent the majority of the time in its own half.

Despite this, Jimmy McLaughlin nearly earned Cincinnati an insurance goal in the 56th minute, but a slight tug on the defender as he darted past was enough for the center official to blow his whistle and end the celebration.

For the most part, the collective defense of the Orange and Blue held strong and limited opportunities for New York. It was only in waning moments of stoppage time that New York looked likely to equalize. In the 92nd minute, New York’s Barlow unleashed a shot that rattled the crossbar, only inches from changing the outcome of the game. Just a minute later, off a set piece New York redirected the kick and only just missed the far post.

Despite some harrowing moments, Cincinnati literally and figuratively weathered the storm and took another three points at home. The victory increases its unbeaten streak to 10 games.


3 Thoughts

Center Backs and Set Pieces – For the second time in two games, the FCC center backs came up large and scored a goal each. While the club scored many goals earlier in the season, scoring on set pieces was elusive. Fans have probably noticed the team lining up for set pieces differently, creating a lot of congestion and chaos.

Koch didn’t take any credit for the change. “We’ve stolen ideas from other people, to be honest,” he said. “I’m not a rocket scientist, so if we see it work with someone else there’s nothing wrong with going and stealing it. It’s worked. I’m sure teams are going to figure those out pretty soon and we’ll have to adjust and come up with something else.” A credit to Koch for seeing something with potential and giving it a try. Regardless, it’s working. Barrett’s goal was his first goal in Orange and Blue, making him the 12th player to score from the Cincinnati roster.

Age vs. Experience – When Cincinnati competes with New York, it is a classic pair up of age versus experience. New York, with a strong academy program, brings in one of the youngest squads FCC competes against. Cincinnati, on the other hand, has one of the most experienced rosters in the USL. Their youngest players are the same age as the oldest players from New York. Perhaps a coincidence but likely intentionally, Koch rested some of his older more veteran players, giving time to Barrett in place of Dekel Keinan, McLaughlin in place of Michael Lahoud, Bahner in place of Justin Hoyte, Richey in place of Evan Newton. Reducing the age gap and the advantage of youth likely helped, but experience ultimately triumphed with the Orange and Blue winning both legs of the home and away series with the Baby Bulls.

Creating a Gap – Cincinnati continues to dominate the Eastern Conference. It currently sits in first place with nine points more than the second place team. Pittsburgh and Louisville both have three games in hand and could close the gap to one and three points respectively if they win all three of those games. The next best team is Charleston with a game in hand and a potential to close the gap to six points if they win that game. Beyond that, the gap drops off quickly to double digits. There are still many games to play in the season and plenty of potential for teams to close that gap, but as FCC continues its winning ways, it’s making it more and more difficult for teams to catch up. “It’s nice, doesn’t matter how many points it is once (we’re on top),” Barrett said of FCC’s spot at the top of the table. “Whether it’s nine points or one point, once we’re on top and we stay there, that’s the main object.”


Box Score

FC Cincinnati Starting XI: Spencer Richey (GK), Blake Smith, Forrest Lasso, Paddy Barrett, Matt Bahner, Kenney Walker, Corben Bone (90′), Jimmy McLaughlin, Nazmi Albadawi, Emmanuel Ledesma (83’), Danni König (90+1’)
Subs: Tomi Ameobi (ST), Russell Cicerone (7’), Sem De Wit, Justin Hoyte, Michael Lahoud, Evan Newton, Will Seymore (ST)

New York Red Bulls II Starting XI: Evan Louro, Lucas Stauffer, Hassan Ndam, Jordan Scarlett (40’), Niko De Vera, Cristian Casseres Jr., Steven Echeverria (77’), Tom Barlow, Amando Moreno, Andrew Tinari, Jared Stroud (65’)
Subs: Wahab Ackwei, Jose Aguinaga, Christopher Lema (13’), Scott Levene, Andrew Lombard, Kevin Politz (60’), Brian White (25’)


International Friendly: FC Cincinnati vs. RCD Espanyol (La Liga) – Saturday July 28th – 7:30 PM (EST) – Nippert Stadium

  • Includes a celebration for Cincinnati being named the next MLS expansion franchise
  • Autographs and games on the pitch post-match for young fans
  • A “special announcement” expected

Next USL Match: FC Cincinnati vs. Nashville SC – Sat. August 4th – 7:30 PM (EST) – Nippert Stadium


@billwwolf for @CincySoccerTalk

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