Matchday #36 – USL Eastern Conference Semifinal Round – FC Cincinnati vs. New York Red Bulls II
Nippert Stadium – Attendance: 16,617
Result: New York Red Bulls 1, FC Cincinnati 0
FC Cincinnati’s unbeaten streak is over — and so is the club’s time in the USL.
New York Red Bulls II forward Amando Moreno scored on a 12th minute counter-attack to send FCC crashing out of the USL Cup with a 1-0 victory in the Eastern Conference semifinal round Saturday at Nippert Stadium. The loss stops the club’s 24-match unbeaten streak — five months and a day after it began with a road win at New York — and the franchise’s three-year stay in the USL.
“It’s a difficult pill to swallow right now,” FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch said. “The guys are very disappointed. But at the same time you really have to look at the positives. This has been a historic season. I know people use the word ‘historic’ quite casually in speech. … This undefeated streak, the consecutive victories, the ability to bring a trophy to our city, to the club — there’s been clubs around the world that have been in existence for decades and they haven’t brought a trophy back to their city before. So for us to do that in our third year by winning the league (regular season) championship, I’m very, very proud of that.”
Said centerback and captain Paddy Barrett: “We’re all mature enough to keep our heads up, because of what we’ve done this year — to be part of this group.”
New York advances to play the Louisville-Bethlehem winner in the Eastern Conference finals next weekend. FC Cincinnati, the overall No. 1 seed, has a different future — preparing to enter MLS in just over four months as an expansion club.
Koch said he’ll have a team meeting on Monday to break down the logistics of the coming weeks and then let the players know individually where they stand as soon as the technical staff makes those decisions.
In the match’s opening minutes, Emmanuel Ledesma lined up a long-range free kick intended for Fanendo Adi. Ledesma missed his mark, and Moreno was off to the races against FC Cincinnati’s back line. Moreno weaved past Justin Hoyte and fired from 20 yards out, hitting the left corner of the net.
“That was just sheer transition,” Koch said. “They’re very, very good at transition. We knew that beforehand.”
FC Cincinnati struggled to get much going in the first half with just one shot and a 62.2 percent pass completion rate on 164 passes.
The Orange and Blue had more chances in the second half. Adi gave the club its first shot on goal in the 50th minute, and Corben Bone hit the crossbar in the 67th minute.
“I thought we were better in the second half,” Koch said. “We took it to them. The game is about managing moments, of course. We’ve done a fantastic job this year of managing moments, but obviously we were at the wrong end of managing one individual moment.”
FC Cincinnati had trouble at times getting the ball up top to Adi. The club’s striker had 44 touches and just the one shot. New York played with a disruptive style, Adi said.
“I think it was a very complicated game,” he said. “They came in a very disruptive way. That’s the way they wanted to play, to go to the referee for every little thing — five or six players out there. It’s one of those games — you can’t really do much. We had very few chances and we couldn’t take them.”
New York had six shots on target compared to FC Cincinnati’s three.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-4-2): Spencer Richey (GK), Paddy Barrett, Justin Hoyte, Forrest Lasso, Blake Smith, Emmanuel Ledesma, Nazmi Albadawi, Corben Bone, Tyler Gibson, Fatai Alashe, Fanendo Adi
Subs: Evan Newton, Dekel Keinan, Kenney Walker (61′, Gibson), Jimmy McLaughlin (79′, Albadawi), Emery Welshman (86′, Smith), Richie Ryan, Matt Bahner
New York Red Bulls II Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Evan Louro (GK), Allen Yanes, Hassan Ndam, Kevin Politz, Ethan Kutler, Jose Aguinaga, Andrew Tinari, Jared Stroud, Christopher Lema, Amando Moreno (Goal, 12′), Tom Barlow
Subs: Jordan Scarlett (86′, Aguinaga), Steven Echeverria, Lucas Stauffer (90+3′, Stroud), Scott Levene, Anatole Bertrand-Abang (74′, Moreno), Niko De Vera, Andrew Lombard
NYRBII — Amando Moreno 12′