It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means, but Wednesday’s 1-0 win for FC Cincinnati in the U.S. Open Cup third round over USL Championship side Louisville City FC included a number of very good outcomes.
Starting with the win, of course, as FCC advanced to the next round of the competition. This was achieved despite FCC fielding a starting lineup that featured 10 changes from the side that defeated Portland in MLS play just a few days ago. That lineup in itself was also a good outcome as a number of young players were able to get valuable match experience while affording the first-team regulars a night off (or close to it).
Two youngsters that featured were 15-year-old midfielder Stiven Jimenez and 19-year-old forward Arquimides Ordonez, which the player development-minded amongst the FCC community will be happy to see. These two bright prospects both provided a glimpse of hopefully good things to come.
Ordonez came up with the brightest moment of all, scoring the winning goal in the 85th minute. While the Guatemalan international can be credited with keeping his nerve when presented with an open look at goal, the scoring effort itself was created by veteran substitutes Luciano Acosta and Alvaro Barreal, both of whom provided precise passes to unlock the Louisville defense.
Star forward Brandon Vazquez also helped get the goal-scoring move started with a shielding move that won possession. Yet another good outcome on the evening was the late appearance of Yuya Kubo, back after a long injury layoff, while avoiding an extra 30 minutes of overtime play and penalties can only be considered a plus.
Louisville had a number of decent scoring chances on the evening at TQL Stadium, but Alec Kann reminded us why he is a first-team caliber goalkeeper, with five saves overall and one double-save in the first half especially highlighting his talents in goal.
Another regular starter who contributed as a sub Wednesday night was defender Matt Miazga, and the center-back came up with a couple of vital interventions to stop Louisville attacks in the closing minutes.
FCC Head Coach Pat Noonan agreed afterward that the starting lineup on this night should receive mixed reviews, but noted that many of them have not been playing very often or playing with this particular group.
“These are difficult circumstances sometimes because you expect to go out there and see the best version of all these guys, but the reality is they haven’t had a lot of minutes together, so you saw some sloppy play,” Noonan said in comments distributed by the club to media. “We needed to have a little more composure with the ball and figuring out ways with our center backs especially to be more comfortable in dealing with the pressure.”
Noonan also took a moment to single out Jimenez’s performance at such a young age.
“A 15-year-old started tonight, that’s pretty cool,” Noonan said. “And you know, I think that’s good minutes for him at this stage. That’s a credit to his growth and his maturity for us, for me and for our staff to say we’re confident putting them out there and still being able to go win a game. I thought there was some things that he did well and there was things that our entire midfield could have done better but I think his maturity level in the field, the way he sees and reads the game, aside from at times it could be fast, but he doesn’t put himself in a lot of positions to have to chase because he’s a smart player.”
LINEUPS (courtesy FC Cincinnati)
FC Cincinnati: Alec Kann (C), Isaiah Foster (Álvaro Barreal 61’), Ian Murphy, Joey Akpunonu, Nick Hagglund (Matt Miazga 61’), Alvas Powell, Malik Pinto (Yuya Kubo 90+2’), Stiven Jimenez (Junior Moreno 76’), Marco Angulo (Luciano Acosta 76’), Dominique Badji (Brandon Vazquez 83’), Arquimides Ordoñez
Substitutes not used: Evan Louro
Louisville City: Kyle Morton, Osacar Jimenez (Tyler Gibson 82’), Wesley Charpie (Joshua Wynder 62’), Sean Totsch (C), Manny Perez (Amadou Dia 71’), Carlos Moguel, Elijah Wynder, Rasmus Thellufsen (Ray Serrano 71’), Enoch Mushagalusa, Cameron Lancaster (Wilson Harris 62’), Dylan Mares
Substitutes not used: Paolo DelPiccolo, Daniel Faundez