FC Cincinnati's epic, record-breaking season comes to a close
CINCINNATI - FC Cincinnati fell to New York Red Bulls II, 1-0, in today's USL Eastern Conference Semifinal, ending Cincinnati's record-setting 2018 season.
Fifth-seeded New York (13-8-13, 52 pts.) opened the match aggressively, as Amando Moreno scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 12th minute.
The Orange and Blue (23-3-8, 77 pts.) created a number of opportunities in the second half after adjusting their formation, but were unable to find an equalizer. Spencer Richey recorded five saves for a second consecutive match, tying his FC Cincinnati single-match high.
With today's loss, FC Cincinnati saw its 2018 season come to an end. FCC posted a regular-season record of 23-3-8 and 77 points, setting USL records for regular-season wins, undefeated streak (23 games to close the regular season) and points. The loss also snapped the club's overall 25-game undefeated streak that began on June 2 and also included draws in the club's U.S. Open Cup fourth-round game against MLS' Minnesota United (0-0, 4-1 loss in PKs) and last week's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against Nashville SC (0-0, 6-5 win in PKs).
The next time FC Cincinnati takes the field, it will be as a member of Major League Soccer when the club joins the country's top professional league next season in 2019 as the 24th team. Season tickets for the 2019 season are now on sale at fccincinnati.com/tickets. The club will unveil its MLS branding in the coming weeks.
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. For more information about FC Cincinnati tickets - including 2019 season tickets - call 513-977-KICK (5425) or visit fccincinnati.com/tickets.
2018 USL CUP PLAYOFFS | Eastern Conference Semifinal
New York Red Bulls II 1, FC Cincinnati 0
Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, October 27, 2018
NY - Amando Moreno (José Aguinaga) 12'
FC Cincinnati: Spencer Richey, Justin Hoyte, Paddy Barrett ©, Forrest Lasso, Blake Smith (Emery Welshman 86'), Fatai Alashe, Tyler Gibson (Kenney Walker 61'), Corben Bone, Nazmi Albadawi (Jimmy McLaughlin 79'), Emmanuel Ledesma, Fanendo Adi
Bench: Evan Newton, Matt Bahner, Richie Ryan, Dekel Keinan
STATS: Shots 11, Shots on goal 3, Fouls 12, Offsides 6, Corner kicks 6, Saves 5, Possession 51.7%
New York Red Bulls II: Evan Louro, Ethan Kutler, Hassan Ndam, Kevin Politz, Allen Yanes, Andrew Tinari ©, Christopher Lema, Amando Moreno (Anatole Bertrand-Abang 74'), José Aguinaga (Jordan Scarlett 86'), Jared Stroud (Lucas Stauffer 90'+4'), Tom Barlow
Bench: Niko De Vera, Steven Echeverria, Scott Levene, Andrew Lombard
STATS: Shots 14, Shots on goal 6, Fouls 17, Offsides 2, Corner kicks 5, Saves 3, Possession 48.3%
CIN -- Fanendo Adi (caution) 41'
NY -- Amando Moreno (caution) 72'
Referee: Tim Ford
Weather: 50 degrees, cloudy
Man of the Match: Forrest Lasso
HOW IT HAPPENED
13' | NY GOAL - FC Cincinnati set up a free kick in the New York end of the field, but Emmanuel Ledesma's service was cleared inside the 18 and Jose Aguinaga volleyed it back toward the Cincinnati end to start a counter. Amando Moreno picked up the pass, dribbled through a pair FCC players and created room just outside the area to take a shot from 20 yards back across his body. The ball skipped a yard in front of FCC goalkeeper Spencer Richey and bounced past his dive to put New York up 1-0 early.
21' | Following a midfielder turnover from Cincinnati, New York's Jared Stroud gained possession for the road side on the left flank. The Red Bulls reversed the field and, following a loose ball, Stroud regained possession at the top-right corner of the 18-yard box. He took one touch to his left and fired a left-footed shot at Richey, but Richey was able to make a diving stop.
50' | After beating a defender down the end line, Justin Hoyte changed fields and found Ledesma cutting in down the left side. Ledesma worked around a marking defender and slid a centering pass back into the heart of the area for a waiting Fanendo Adi, but the forward's one-timer with a seemingly open net was stopped by New York goalkeeper Evan Louro to prevent the equalizer.
68' | FC Cincinnati earned a corner kick following a battle for the ball on their own end of the pitch. Ledesma sent his service into the box, but New York cleared and Corben Bone ended up with possession just outside the box. Looking for the equalizer, Bone left-footed a try, but his shot from about 20 yards hit the crossbar and went out of play.
88' | After earning a corner kick, Kenney Walker headed to the left flag and put his service on a dart as Forrest Lasso rose up on the far post. However, his headed effort was narrowly wide of the upper right corner and went out right before the start of stoppage time.
90'+6' | On a New York inbound along the near sideline, Jimmy McLaughlin stole possession away from the Red Bulls. McLaughlin passed across field to Justin Hoyte, who had room to run. Hoyte dribbled and then crossed it into the box in hopes for a late equalizer. Forrest Lasso was able to attempt a header from close range, but Evan Louro was there to save it for New York.
Following today's loss FCC is now 0-3-1 all-time in the USL Cup Playoffs, with a pair of losses in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in both 2016 and 2017 and a draw against Nashville SC last weekend
With today's loss, FCC's all-time record against New York Red Bulls II moves to 3-4-0, including both the regular season and postseason ... FCC had won each of the last three meetings prior to today's match.
Overall - in all contests - FC Cincinnati's unbeaten run lasted 25 games, including 23 USL regular-season games, a U.S. Open Cup fourth-round game (tie vs. Minnesota United on June 6) and last week's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal (tie vs. Nashville SC on Oct. 20) ... the club's last loss prior to today was May 26 at home against Louisville City FC ... three of Cincy's four total losses this season came at Nippert Stadium
Forrest Lasso led all players with 10 clearances in tonight's match ... FCC's center back led the Orange and Blue with 223 clearances during the regular season
Alan Koch made no changes to the starting lineup from its last game out - which was the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal vs. Nashville SC on Oct. 20
Spencer Richey made five saves for a second consecutive match, tying his FC Cincinnati single-game high across all competitions ... the FCC goalkeeper previously made five saves on three occasions this season ... Richey recorded five saves against Nashville SC on Oct. 20, at North Carolina FC on May 19 and at Louisville on Sept. 11
FCC Head Coach Alan Koch
"Tough match. Disappointing result, obviously. Playoff soccer is very, very unpredictable as tonight showed. A long, quality streak ends tonight, unfortunately."
On his team's performance...
"[In the] first 45 minutes, I thought [New York] did a very, very good job of managing the game, manipulating the game, getting under our skin, caressing situations. That's a professional performance, obviously, which set them up for success in the first 45 minutes. I thought we were better in the second half, took it to them. The game is about managing moments, of course, and we've done a fantastic job this year of managing moments. But we were obviously on the wrong end of managing one individual moment tonight."
On New York's goal...
"Was just sheer transition. They're very, very good in transition and we knew that beforehand. I think it came from a set piece ... obviously, they exposed us. We have a photo we showed the guys at halftime, just showing them how good New York are in transition. We showed the guys beforehand, and unfortunately [New York] capitalized on that moment."
On what he told his players...
"It's difficult, because in this business you don't get very long or much time to reflect. I haven't really reflected on the season yet. We spoke about this being a difficult pill to swallow right now. You can see the guys are very disappointed. But at the same time, you really have to look at the positives. This has been a historic season."
On shifting the focus to 2019...
"In a few days time, I'll go to having one job. Where this year, we've had two jobs [managing USL and future MLS obligations]. Try to be as successful as we could this year, try to keep this group together, try to get as much as we could possibly get out of the group ... to be quite honest, I'm looking forward to just having one job. But, it doesn't feel that way just yet, obviously."
FCC Forward Fanendo Adi
On breaking New York down...
"We didn't play a very good game. I don't think it was hard to break them down, we didn't play a very good game. We approached the game... we kept the ball, I think we won all the possessions and everything, but the ball [didn't] go into the net. It's one of those games, We couldn't find a goal today, but I think they got one chance and they had so many chances they could bury, but they were lucky to bury the first chance. We kept pressing, but we couldn't get a goal."
On halftime adjustments.
"I think it was a very complicated game. 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. It's just part of the game. I told the guys in the locker room, we must give credit to the guys. It's been a tough one today, but the guys have come this far, winning a lot of games. As much as this is disappointing today, everyone's got to hold their heads up. It's part of the game and I think we'll learn from this moment."
On shifting to MLS...
"It should be good. I think as you can read from the media, we've hired a lot of guys to help with the scouting. From what I know, we're trying to get the little pieces that are going to come in and be very good in the locker room as well as on the pitch. So, we'll be speaking to the coaches, everyone that is going to be involved next year is going to be ready, because MLS is totally different from the USL. It's just a mental state that the whole team and the coaches and everyone needs to be ready for next year."
Managing the roster changes...
"It's a difficult situation, of course. It's part of the game. You just have to hug everyone and give your good wishes and let them understand that football is this way. I think what the team achieved this year, everyone is happy. If you stay or if you don't stay, you've achieved something very big. So, you should be very happy. Whoever stays or whoever goes, we're going to just have a dinner together and talk together and laugh together and just get ready for the next chapter,"
FCC Defender Paddy Barrett
On the moments after the game...
"Alan spoke to us after the game. We're all mature enough to kind of take down our chin. Obviously, it was disappointing to take. As I said, we're all mature enough to do it, and keep our heads up, because of what we've done this year. To be part of this group, we don't want it to end on such a low after what we've achieved this year. From me and everybody in the dressing room, we should keep our heads up and be proud of what we did this year."
On his feelings right now...
"We always want to continue playing, but as players you have to have that in the back of your mind that it can end so quickly. Unfortunately, it did tonight. I'm obviously very disappointed, but I'm going to keep my head high and look forward."
On his season overall...
"Me, personally, I'm happy how things went here. I've come a long way, and getting used to living away so far and playing a different type of football and new teammates. Obviously, living so far away from home it's difficult to get used to, but as I settled down it got better and better for me. Looking back on the whole season, winning the league is quite surreal. It was unbelievable to be a part of. So for me personally, I'm very happy with how my season went."
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United Soccer League Championship Stories from October 27, 2018
- Louisville City FC Books Place in the Eastern Conference Final with 2-0 Shutout over Steel FC - Louisville City FC
- Bethlehem Steel FC Concludes Historic Season in Louisville - Bethlehem Steel FC
- New York Red Bulls II Snap Cincinnati's 24-Match Unbeaten Run, Advance to Eastern Conference Finals - New York Red Bulls II
- FC Cincinnati's epic, record-breaking season comes to a close - FC Cincinnati
- Phoenix Rising Moves Reaches Western Conference Final Following 4-2 Win - Phoenix Rising FC
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