CINCINNATI, OH --- FC Cincinnati continued its magical run in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with 1-0 shutout over NASL side Miami FC Wed. night at Riccardo Silva Stadium to become the first lower-division club to advance to the final four since 2011. With the win, FCC will host New York Red Bulls on Tues., Aug. 15 at Nippert Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.
The Orange and Blue defense held a potent Miami offense to three shots on goal as FCC extended their shutout streak to a modern-era tournament record 510 minutes.
“I’m incredibly proud of our team, our staff, the club, the traveling fans who came and supported us,” said Head Coach Alan Koch. “I think we were all part of something truly special tonight.”
Djiby, who put away the lone tally, became the first player in the modern era to score four game-winning goals in the tournament. The deciding goal came in the 68th minute and was assisted by Justin Hoyte, who notched his second of the tournament. Hoyte started the play by beating Hunter Freeman on the left side near the six-yard box. The defender sent a left-footed pass near post to Djiby, who flicked the ball past Daniel Vega to end the scoreless draw.
“This game was very important for the fans and for the club,” said Djiby post-match. “It was a big chance for us to go for the semifinal. We played against a very, very good team. Miami FC was very difficult to play against at home [Riccardo Silva Stadium]. We played with energy and played to make our city happy. That’s our job.”
Miami FC held the advantage in possession, 57.5-42.5 but FCC won 52.9 percent of the duels while firing nine shots in the box to the host’s six.
Following the goal, FCC’s defense stepped up to make several critical plays. In the 53rd, Miami FC earned a corner kick after Harrison Delbridge was forced to send the ball over the FCC goal but the ensuing kick was cleared easily by the Orange and Blue.
Hildebrandt raced off his line in the 59th minute to deny Stefano Pinho, who was driving unchecked towards the goal. An ensuing corner kick led to a dangerous header by Kwadwo Poku but Djiby, who had dropped back to defend, countered with a header on the second ball to clear.
Delbridge delivered with a key defensive play in the 62nd minute as the Aussie came from behind to knock the ball away from Poku, who had worked his way to the goal line.
Poku was challenged again in the 66th minute and Delbridge won the battle again, forcing Poku to take a shot that flew behind FCC’s goal.
In the 76th minute, Miami FC captain Michael Lahoud gave way to Michel and the midfielder nearly tied the game. Freeman, who took the free kick following an FCC foul, curved the ball to the far post to Michel, whose shot was blocked away by Mitch Hildebrandt.
The offensive threats continued in the 87th minute. Miami FC pushed the ball to just inside the 18 but a strong play by Matt Bahner led to a counter for FCC. Djiby tracked down a ball played into space and slipped a long pass to Andrew Wiedeman, whose was able to get a shot past his defender but saw it covered up by Vega.
In the 88th minute, Djiby lost to ball to Mason Trafford and Poku danced his way around the FCC defense. After pushing past Sem de Wit and Harrison Delbridge, Poku tried to get the ball Hildebrandt, who managed to deflect the ball and Vincenzo Rennella, who trailed the play, just missed heading the ball into the net.
In the first half, FCC endured a few Miami FC threats early on, but built an 8-2 shot advantage, including taking six shots from inside the box.
FCC: 68th – Djiby (Justin Hoyte)
FCC: Mitch Hildebrandt, Austin Berry, Sem de Wit, Harrison Delbridge, Kevin Schindler, Corben Bone, Kenney Walker, Aodhan Quinn, Justin Hoyte, Djiby, Danni König
MFC: Daniel Vega, Mason Trafford, Hunter Freeman, Blake Smith, Rhett Bernstein, Dylan Mares, Richie Ryan, Michael Lahoud, Stefano Pinho, Vincenzo Rennella, Kwadwo Poku