Atlanta United FC Downs FC Cincinnati 2-0
CINCINNATI - FC Cincinnati fell to Atlanta United FC, 2-0, at Nippert Stadium on Wednesday night after reigning MLS MVP Josef Martinez netted a second-half brace.
After taking a 0-0 stalemate into halftime, FC Cincinnati (6-21-3, 21 pts.) conceded a pair of Martinez goals to extended his streak of consecutive games with a goal to an MLS record 15 games for Atlanta United FC (16-11-3, 51 pts.).
FC Cincinnati will host two more games at Nippert Stadium this season, including Fan Appreciation Night on Sept. 29. The team next plays on Saturday, Sept. 21, when the Orange and Blue host the Chicago Fire. First kick is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be televised live on WSTR 64, streamed on FloFC (in-region) and ESPN+ (out-of-region), carried on the radio on WDJO with an audio stream on TuneIn (WDJO) and fccincinnati.com.
Individual-game tickets and group options are on sale for all remaining FC Cincinnati games at fccincinnati.com/tickets or by calling 513-977-5425 (KICK).
For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team's official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati.
Atlanta United FC 2, FC Cincinnati 0
Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
September 18, 2019
ATL - Josef Martinez (Gonzalo Martinez) 59'
ATL - Josef Martinez (Julian Gressel) 65'
FC Cincinnati: PrzemysÅaw TytoÅ, Mathieu Deplagne, Maikel van der Werff, Nick Hagglund ©, Andrew Gutman, Leonardo Bertone, Fatai Alashe (Caleb Stanko 79'), Frankie Amaya (Rashawn Dally 68'), Kekuta Manneh, Joseph-Claude Gyau (Roland Lamah 74'), Emmanuel Ledesma
Bench: Jimmy Hague, Justin Hoyte, Tommy McCabe, Victor Ulloa,
Stats: Shots 14, Shots on goal 2, Saves 4, Corner kicks 4, Offsides 1, Fouls 9, Possession 33.6%, Passes 291 (72.5%)
Atlanta United FC: Brad Guzan, Julian Gressel, Franco Escobar, Miles Robinson, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Darlington Nagbe, Eric Remedi, Emerson Hyndman, Justin Meram (Dion Pereira 86'), Gonzalo Martinez (Hector Villalba 60'), Josef Martinez
Bench: Alec Kann, Florentin Pogba, Michael Parkhurst, Jeff Larentowicz, Brandon Vazquez,
Stats: Shots 15, Shots on goal 5, Saves 1, Corner kicks 7, Offsides 2, Fouls 12, Possession 66.4%, Passes 585 (83.8%)
ATL - Justin Meram (caution) 14'
ATL - Franco Escobar (caution) 49'
ATL - Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (caution) 66'
CIN - Caleb Stanko (caution) 90+4''
Referee: Marcos DeOliveira
Assistant Referees: Jeffrey Greeson, Benjamin Hall-Volpenhein
4th Official: Christopher Penso
VAR: Chico Grajeda
Weather: 78 degrees and sunny
HOW IT HAPPENED
12' | From outside the penalty box, Justin Meram ripped a shot towards goal, but was denied by an outstretched PrzemysÅaw TytoÅ. In the ensuing corner kick, Gonzalo Martinez played a tight cross and connected with Miles Robisnon. Robinson's driven header was on target, but Tyton once again denied Atlanta from getting on the scoresheet
31' | Frankie Amaya sent a cross into the 18-yard box from the corner flag right to the head of Maikel van der Werff. The headed ball from the center back was sent into the turf and bounced up into a diving Guzan who kept the ball from crossing the line, where Remedi headed the ball out of danger.
53' | Emmanuel Ledesma played a ball to Andrew Gutman in the left flank of the field. Gutman attempted to surprise Guzan and curled a left-footed shot towards goal, but the Atlanta goalkeeper tracked back to his line and send the ball over the crossbar
56' | Kekuta Manneh dribbled up the right side of the pitch from the middle third into FC Cincinnati's attacking third, where he played a through ball into Joe Gyau just outside the 18-yard box. Gyau took four touches and fired a right-footed shot at Guzan who made a leaping save
59' | ATL GOAL - Atlanta United caught FC Cincinanti off guard in a counterattack when Gonzalo Martinez played a through ball in between two Cincinnati defenders, catching Josef Martinez in stride. Martinez struck the ball with his right foot and put Atlanta ahead after his one-on-one break with Tyton. .
65' | ATL GOAL - Julian Gressel found Martinez outside the edge of the penalty box. Martinez flicked the ball towards himself with the back of his heel to and after a couple of feints, he curled the ball back across the goal and inside the far top corner for his second of the night.
With tonight's loss, the Orange and Blue fall to 6-22-3 through 31 MLS matches ... in addition, FC Cincinnati drop to 3-11-2 in home contests ... FC Cincinnati's all-time, all-competition record against Atlanta United FC sits at 0-1-1 ... Cincinnati is now 4-13-2 against Eastern Conference opponents
Fatai Alashe earned his first MLS start since June 22 in tonight's contest ... the midfielder has made three starts on the season ... of his three starts, this was Alashe's first start at center midfield -- he previously had started at right midfield on May 4 and at right back on June 22.
Kekuta Manneh returned to the starting lineup after missing each of the last two matches because of a red-card suspension
Ron Jans made four changes to the starting lineup from the match at the Montreal Impact on Sept. 14 ... Nick Hagglund, Andrew Gutman, Fatai Alashe and Kekuta Manneh replaced Kendall Waston, Greg Garza, Allan Cruz and Darren Mattocks
Allan Cruz (concussion), Darren Mattocks (ankle), Jimmy McLaughlin (knee) and Spencer Richey (back) were unavailable for selection because of injury
Kendall Waston was unavailable for selection for tonight's game after receiving a one-game suspension for receiving a pair of yellow cards in the club's previous match at Montreal on Sept. 14.
FC Cincinnati Head Coach Ron Jans
Overall thoughts on the match
"I think the first 15 minutes of the match, 90 percent of the possession was of Atlanta and we had to defend so deep, that when he had the ball we had no options, maybe [Emmanuel Ledesma] up front. After the first 15 minutes we got our moments and especially in the second half, we changed the press with Kekuta (Manneh) helping [Ledesma] and [Ledesma] and Kekuta (Manneh) pressing it helped and maybe we were in a moment in the game over-confident. We got some corner kicks, there was a lot of pushing and going on in the box and I think 10 minutes gone in the second half and we thought we were going to score a goal on the corner kick. They have the better team. They play better football. They have better players. But we played with so much passion and we did the game plan almost perfect in the second half, except for one thing...finishing. I do not know the stats, but maybe we had more and better chances than Atlanta did, but they have this guy called Josef Martinez. I think you can only applaud the second goal, it was quality. So happy with the team, happy with performance, but not with the result."
On finishing being the problem
"That is very easy, you just have to tell (Joseph-Claude) Gyau and Rashawn (Dally) you have to score a goal and they will do it the next time. (laughs) It's not that easy. So always it's about confidence and when you score the first goal it's easy to score the second, but when you miss the first chance, I think (Joseph-Claude) Gyau the second chance, he hesitated so much he was afraid to score a goal. That's also efficiency, you can only change it by finishing and doing it a lot of times and that's what we want to see and we will see what the future is from the team and the players who missed their chances. I coached a lot of games against top teams and my teams, most of the time were at the bottom of the table and I can't get used to that.I hate it, but we're mostly set up and you can see the difference in finishing and tonight was mostly the same."
On the passion the team showed tonight and game plan to try to rattle Atlanta
"I'm sorry, but maybe I saw another game, because there was only one team complaining about the referees and asking for cards and that was not our team. I will never tell my players to make fouls and do everything. So I did not see that."
Thoughts on Josef Martinez
"I think he scored twice, but we haven't seen that much of him. But in the counter attack, especially after the first goal, he has the speed and one versus one and the space behind. Our back four, of course, we want to mark him. I think the defense from (Maikel) van der Weff and (Nick) Haggland did well in defending (Josef) Martinez, but in counterattack you do not have to say you have to mark him and in those situations he was too good."
FC Cincinnati defender Andrew Gutman
On tonight's match
" I think we played really well. We were a bit unlucky not to finish off our chances, but you know the two real chances they got, they finished off. So, you've got to give them that, but I think overall we were really good tonight and I'm proud of the performance."
On if it's difficult to watch them finish chances
"That's the game. You miss chances. We've just got to get on with it and keep pushing. I thought we did that really well. A couple of great goals by them. One of them, you just kind of give it to them. It was a fantastic goal, but overall I thought we played really well, and we were a bit unlucky not to get a result here tonight."
On the two-day break between games
"I think it's just recover as much as possible, and get fresh for Saturday's game. Three games in seven days is not easy. So you've got to rely on almost the whole team to play. So you've just got to take it day by day, recover, and get ready for Saturday."
FC Cincinnati midfielder Joseph-Claude Gyau
On tonight's performance
"I felt like it was a tough loss. It could have gone either way with the way the chances were. I thought that the first half, if I put my first one away, and we also had one off a corner kick. If we put those away, we could have gone up early, but we didn't. And well, you know, they have Josef Martinez. He put his two chances away and that's how the game went."
On how difficult it was to concede after being on the front foot
"Yeah it was tough. It was like a dagger. We were well in the game. We had flow. We had good chances. We're getting forward, and then to get a goal off a counter like that was a bit sour."
On playing with Andrew Gutman
"It was good. We have a good relationship, a good friend of mine. So, playing with him is always good. We communicate very well. I thought we did pretty good on the left side. But yeah, playing with Andrew (Gutman) is good."
Atlanta United FC Head Coach Frank de Boer
On the difficulty of the match
"Yeah, but I am still satisfied about the form because when they park two buses in front of their own goal, it is quite difficult to create chances. We had the patience. You saw in the first half that we, I think, one or two times lost patience and directly get a counterattack against us. After that, corner and they had the chance. I think we did much better. You know, with Columbus Crew we could do the same, and a lot of times we lost the ball in end face, their own box from the opponent. I think we did much better, and you see when they open up a little bit, like the first goal, that we can punish them. I think the most important thing is that we are playing concentrated and we showed in the last five minutes of the first half that we were creating some small chances. And I said, just be patient. After half an hour, they are going to be tired and we get our chances. Of course it is always nice to have a player like Josef (Martinez), who can make a difference. But still, it is always difficult when you play an organized team. They played against Montreal. They get a good result out of it and we get a good result, because I think we didn't lose our patience."
On Josef Martinez's performance
"Yeah, because you that they have to come more and that opens up more spaces, of course, for us. That was a fantastic goal. Good transition to attack and the second goal was more beautiful, I think. I spoke with Ron Jans after the game. He said sometimes you just have to applaud a fantastic goal and that was a fantastic goal."
On applying pressure in the race for first in Eastern Conference
"Yeah, of course. It is always one game at a time. If you turn around, we have another game in front of us. So, it is unbelievable how fast it goes. Tomorrow traveling to Atlanta and next day one training, which is very light, and then we have San Jose. We have to be ready and we cannot think about the second game that is coming up. First San Jose and of course we want three points, because we still have a good chance of being number one. Of course, it depends on New York (City) and Philadelphia, but I think if we win the last for games, then I am quite positive we are on top."
Atlanta United FC goalkeeper Brad Guzan
On the difficulty of saving a tough corner in the first half
"(I was) able to get a finger to it, and Eric (Remedi) obviously heads it off the bar or whatever, does his best. That moment, it's all hands on deck and just kind of trying to keep it out the back of the net."
On the importance of a shutout
"For sure. It's hugely important. We pride ourselves on keeping clean sheets. We pride ourselves on being a team that's tough to beat, and the last two results haven't been good enough from a defensive standpoint. So, to come out and get a clean sheet was definitely important."
On making FC Cincinnati press forward to create opportunities
"A little bit, but on both goals, it was transition. It wasn't anything more than our quality on two plays. We know we've got talented guys, but at the same time we knew we were going to have to work. In the first half, aside from the set piece, they barely crossed midfield. For us, it was always going to be important to break them down, and in the second half, it started to open up a little bit. Like I said, our quality in those two plays was very good."
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