Cincinnati, OH --- In the first-ever meeting between the two sides, FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew SC faced off Wed. in front of 30,160 at Nippert Stadium. Djiby’s second half goal in the 64th minute proved to be enough to secure the victory for the Orange and Blue, advancing the club into the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The match’s attendance set the record of the U.S. Open Cup for a non-final match, surpassing the previous record held by Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders that featured an attendance of 20,376 at Mile High Stadium in Denver, CO in 1999. The match was a doubleheader with the U.S. National Team who hosted Derby County.
Scoring his third goal in as many U.S. Open Cup matches, Djiby found the back of the net when Justin Hoyte centered a long pass to him just in front of the goal. Djiby played the initial ball high into the air off his head. Then, out-jumping Hector Jimenez of Crew SC, Djiby headed the second touch over the outstretched hand of keeper Brad Stuver into the top corner of the goal.
“We played with three in the back tonight, and we spoke to the guys to ensure they played compacted”, said Head Coach Alan Koch. “The Crew’s movement is fantastic and our group had to manage that movement and keep them out of dangerous areas. We played against a very, very good team. It was a challenge all around. We possessed as much as we could and managed when we didn’t have the ball.”
Both sides created ample scoring chances to open the match but struggled to finish with the ball on goal. Coming in the 17th minute, Djiby had his first near-goal opportunity. Midfielder Aodhan Quinn centered a long pass to Djiby just outside the box, which was quickly collected. Djiby blasted a long shot that sailed just high of the crossbar.
The FCC attack would have another close opportunity in the final moments of the first half. In the 45th minute, as a result of the yellow card administered to Waylon Francis of Crew SC, Danni König fired a free kick from the corner of the field into the heart of Crew SC’s defensive unit. The pass crossed two FCC players and would be pushed wide of any further danger by Stuver.
“Coach mentioned that we needed to stay compact. We executed perfectly tonight as a full group”, said Tyler Polak. “Coach also gave me a bit more free position so I had some additional confidence for tonight. Right now, I’m exhausted. But we’re going to get back to training tomorrow for Saturday’s match.”
Regrouping after Djiby’s goal, Crew SC’s attack battled their way back into the match as they sought the equalizer. In the 84th minute of play, Nico Hansen played a low pass to Federico Higuain just in front of the FCC goal. Higuain slid forward attempting to redirect the ball but missed by just inches with his outstretched leg.
In the stoppage time of the match, Higuain found himself again with a chance to score the tying goal. Breaking free of the FCC defense, a deflected shot arched just in front of Higuain. Striking the ball mid-air, Higuain fired a shot to the goal but sailed it high of the goal and out of play.
Crew SC posted a 19-5 advantage in total shots with Mitch Hildebrandt making five saves in the win for the home club.
FCC will return to league play this Sat. June 17 at Nippert Stadium against Charleston Battery. Match play will begin at 7:00 p.m.
64th FCC – Djiby (Justin Hoyte)
FCC: Mitch Hildebrandt, Paul Nicholson, Austin Berry, Harrison Delbridge, Matt Bahner, Tyler Polak, Aodhan Quinn, Kenney Walker, Andrew Wiedeman, Djiby, Danni Konig
CCSC: Brad Stuver, Hector Jimenez, Alex Crognale, Nicolai Naess, Waylon Francis, Will Trapp, Artur, Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram, Adam Jahn