Matchday #22 – FC Cincinnati vs Nashville SC
Nippert Stadium – Attendance: 27,426
Result: FC Cincinnati: 1 – Nashville SC: 1
After a late start because of a rain delay, fans poured into Nippert stadium to catch their first glimpse of new FC Cincinnati players face off against Nashville SC for the first time at home. Those who made it to their seats in time were treated to FC Cincinnati’s fastest ever goal. Nashville rolled out a nearly identical game plan the last time the two sides faced, albeit with some different faces putting it into action. That plan was to clog up the midfield, work for interceptions on the defensive half and build off those moments in the attack. Unlike the last match, Nashville was the team caught off guard in the first half. Danni König received a pass right as the match started and dribbled down, made a move and shot the ball right past Nashville keeper Matt Pickens to put FCC up 1 in under a minute.
“Yeah, I was surprised (to be so open),” König said.” He knows I’m right-footed, and he was expecting me to go down the right flank and he showed me too much. So I went inside and finished with my left foot.”
Once the first-minute goal was conceded, the game settled in. FC Cincinnati struggled to break down the Nashville defensive half. Nashville SC did a better job of breaking into Cincy’s half, but FCC coach Alan Koch’s bend-but-don’t-break style would not let them get off a clean shot. Nashville SC has struggled all year converting shots into goals and were plagued with that issue again in the first half.
The second half picked right back up with the same challenges presented in the first half. Fans witnessed more drives stopped before the shot for Cincinnati and more fruitless attacks back by Nashville. Tucker Hume did get off a good header in the 66th minute, but Evan Newton was there to make the grab.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) August 5, 2018
Finally, in the 72nd minute, Fanendo Adi made his FC Cincinnati debut. The crowd went wild for his entry to the match, and the Bailey dropped a new banner that read, “CINCINN-ADI HERE WE GO!” After a risky Forrest Lasso clearance, Adi got his first shot on goal. Unfortunately for Adi, Pickens was ready.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) August 5, 2018
Nashville finally found the net at the end of the match. Hume capitalized on a pass and scored the equalizer in the 87th minute. Following his goal, he had a bit of fun with the FC Cincinnati fans that have taken to calling him “Big Bird” since the draw in the preseason by “flying” in front of the Bailey as part of his celebration.
Playing at home, fans expected FC Cincinnati to play as the more dominant side. Whether it was the early lead or the game plan vs. Nashville, Cincy did not do a good enough job protecting their house. The visitors walked away with more possession, 19 shots (only five on frame), and their players really wanted the win. A draw in Nashville was acceptable, but FC Cincinnati needs to take these home wins. Pittsburgh won on Saturday, so while this draw didn’t cost FCC in the short term, the standings just got a lot tighter.
Playing to Strengths – Nashville SC did a much better of a job of playing to their strengths. The defense has built the Nashville squad, and they held strong while frustrating the Cincinnati midfield, which is one of the best in the league and can normally cut through to help the attack. With few balls going into the attack, it was easy to not worry as much about the star forwards.
“Disappointing performance, disappointing result, disappointing game in so many respects,” Koch said. “It was probably the game this season that I’m most looking forward to going and reviewing. Obviously, we take responsibility. I don’t think we played our best game, and you’re going to have games like that throughout the course of the season.”.
No Risk — FC Cincinnati was lacking the will to make something happen. All season fans have been spoiled by shots and goals that turned nothing into something. Little risk was shown last night with the early lead to protect. It seemed like FC Cincinnati was waiting for another defensive mistake, and those just don’t happen often enough vs. a disciplined Nashville squad. A little risk should have been taken in order to get some creative looks in the attacking half.
One Last Shot – FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC are stuck in a deadlock. Neither side has been able to beat the other over three meetings this year, with one more match on the books late in the season. That match might mean more to both teams depending on where each sits in the table at the time. Cincinnati needs to find a way to adjust and break through vs. Nashville before they do the same.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI: Evan Newton (GK), Justin Hoyte, Blake Smith, Forrest Lasso, Dekel Keinan, Michael Lahoud, Kenney Walker, Corben Bone, Nazmi Albadawi, Emmanuel Ledesma, Danni König (Goal 1’)
Subs: Spencer Richey, Matt Bahner, Paddy Barrett, Fanendo Adi (73′), Tyler Gibson (67′), Jimmy McLaughlin (76′), Russell Cicerone
Nashville SC Starting XI: Matt Pickens (GK), Kosuke Kimura, Justin Davis, London Woodberry, Liam Doyle, Michael Reed, Matt LaGrassa, Bolu Akenyode, Taylor Washington, Tucker Hume (Goal 85′), Alan Winn
Subs: C.J. Cochran, Dunstan, James, Ismaila Jome (66′), Lebo Moloto (74′), Allen, Ropapa Mensah(66’)
Next USL Match: FC Cincinnati vs. Nashville SC – Sun. August 12th – 6:00 PM (EST) – Nippert Stadium