CINCINNATI, OH --- In the semifinal round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, FC Cincinnati was unable to hold onto a two-goal lead against MLS side New York Red Bulls, dropping a 3-2 thriller in front of a sold-out crowd of 33,250 at Nippert Stadium, the second largest crowd to watch a U.S. Open Cup match. NYRB used two goals in the second half and took the lead for good in extra time to advance to the final against Sporting KC.
“Anytime you are up 2-0 and don’t come out on top it’s disappointing,” said FCC Head Coach Alan Koch following the match. “But, if you put that aside and look at this run, and what it’s done to galvanize this club, this city, and especially these fans you can see how much it has meant to everyone involved.”
After jumping out to a 2-0 advantage on goals from Corben Bone and Cincinnati native Austin Berry, New York scored three unanswered goals to capture the victory. Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips pushed the go-ahead goal through the net on a header in the 101st minute from the center of the box on an assist from Salvatore Zizzo Jr.
Prior to the match heading into extra time, Bone drilled a right-footed shot into the center of the net to give FCC a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute. Forward Andrew Wiedeman dribbled the ball outside the top of the box and then passed to Danni Konig, who was nudged in the process of receiving possession. From inside the box, Konig managed to field the ball with his chest and pass to an open Bone for the score.
In the 62nd minute, the Orange and Blue were awarded a corner kick that set up Berry’s header and FCC’s second goal. Midfielder Kenney Walker stepped up to take the shot for FCC and he skied a perfect pass into the box for Berry, who headed a try into the center of the net. FCC scored two goals for the first time this year in Cup action.
Despite New York controlling 68 percent of the possession in the first half, Berry and fellow defender Harrison Delbridge helped keep the Red Bulls off the board with six clearances apiece at the break. Goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt recorded two saves.
The Red Bulls then began a furious attack to steal momentum in the second half. On a failed clearance by FCC in the 75th minute, New York midfielder Gonzalo Veron drilled a left-footed shot into the net from inside the six-yard box to put the Red Bulls on the board and cut the lead in half.
Shortly thereafter in the 78th minute, Wright-Phillips scored on a header from inside the box for his first goal of the match. Tyler Adams recorded the assist on the play to pull New York even with FCC and ultimately force extra time.
The Orange and Blue gave its all until the final whistle, however. In the 113th minute, FCC midfielder Marco Dominguez saw New York keeper Ryan Meara miss on a clearance. Dominguez had an attempt at the tying score, but his shot was blocked by the Red Bull defense. A clearance out of the box in the 116th minute led to an open lane for Kevin Schindler, who tried a ball from deep outside the box, but his shot missed wide right.
“I’m incredibly proud of everyone in that room,” Wiedeman responded when asked about FCC’s cup run. “I think we went out and showed that we could go toe to toe with another top team in the MLS.”
FCC returns to the pitch Saturday in USL play as they travel to face New York Red Bulls II. The match is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m.
FCC: 31st – Corben Bone (Danni Konig)
FCC: 62nd – Austin Berry (Kenney Walker)
NY: 75th – Gonzalo Veron
NY: 78th – Bradley Wright-Phillips (Tyler Adams)
NY: 101st – Wright-Phillips (Salvatore Zizzo)
FCC: Mitch Hildebrandt, Sem de Wit, Justin Hoyte, Austin Berry, Harrison Delbridge, Matt Bahner, Aodhan Quinn, Corben Bone, Kenney Walker, Andrew Wiedeman, Danni Konig
NY: Ryan Meara, Aaron Long, Damien Perrinelle, Michael Murillo, Kemar Lawrence, Tyler Adams, Felipe, Sasha Kljestan, Alex Muyl, Sean Davis, Bradley Wright-Phillips