CINCINNATI, Ohio- FC Cincinnati endured its fifth loss of the season as it fell 1-2 to New York Red Bulls II Wedensday evening at Nippert Stadium.
FCC was led by Jimmy McLaughlin as he scored his fifth goal of the season, but it was cancelled out as Justin Bilyeu and Florian Valot each tallied a goal for New York. The match also marked FCC's breaking of the USL single season attendance record with five regular season home matches remaining. The night’s attendance of 16,127 brings the season tally to it at 164,109, besting the previous record of 158,516 set last season by Sacramento Republic.
"Our fans are really second to none," said Mitch Hildebrandt, "They are certainly the best in the U.S. and rival even some abroad".
The first half of play remained scoreless as both FC Cincinnati and New York Red Bulls II attacks were stymied by strong defensive performances. Mitch Hildebrandt led the team's defense with three first half saves, plus a magnificently timed tackle from Harrison Delbridge. Four first half yellow cards were dished out – one each to Tyler Polak and Paul Nicholson of FCC, as well as New York’s Konrad Plewa and Junior Flemmings.
"I think we gave away a few dangerous fouls early in the match and gave them some opportunity. Its part of the game, we take this experience and move forward," commented Coach Harkes.
All of the scoring in the match was saved for the second half, and it was FCC who struck first. Jimmy McLaughlin's goal coming in the sixty-first minute. Sean Okoli fed Omar Cummings wide and his wayward shot fell to McLaughlin, who settled and curled a shot past the outstretched reach of New York keeper Kyle Reynish.
But on 82 minutes, Justin Bilyeu would pull one back for New York via a free kick from the top of D. Shortly after, Florian Valot would strike New York's second goal in the eighty-sixth minute. Florian, a New York substitution coming in the seventy-eighth minute, received a cross from Derrick Etienne Jr. and headed the ball in past FCC keeper Mitch Hildebrandt.
While the late loss was a letdown, Harkes refused to be negative post-match: "We’re still at the top end of the table and this is nothing to hang our heads on.”
FCC continues league play with an important match this Saturday, July 23rd, against Louisville City FC. The match against Louisville will be FCC's third and final match-up with the River Cities Cup rivals.