CINCINNATI, OH – Team captain Kenney Walker scored his first goal of the season and recorded his fifth and sixth assists, driving FC Cincinnati (10-9-9) to a critical 4-2 victory over New York Red Bulls II on Sat. night at Nippert Stadium.
The Orange and Blue’s regular season home finale drew a USL single-game record attendance of 30,417, eclipsing the previous regular-season record of 25,308 against Orlando City B on Aug 5 as well as the playoff mark of 30,187 set by FCC in last season’s home playoff match against Charleston Battery. With the win, FCC also earned three points in the standings to move into sixth in the Eastern Conference.
“It was important and very meaningful for our organization to get those three points tonight,” FCC Head Coach Alan Koch said post game. “We have nothing but respect for the New York Red Bulls. They’re hardworking and organized. We scored some fantastic goals and soared off the energy of our fans. We had to manage the moments, especially when you’re up 2-1. You need to score that third goal for that buffer because who knows what can happen. I’m very proud of every single player as they all stepped up to take care of the details. We stuck to the game plan for a full 90 minutes.”
Walker had a season best with a score and two assists. His first assist of the match came in the fifth minute and started the scoring early for both clubs. Walker placed a corner kick in the perfect spot for defender Austin Berry, which resulted in a header for Berry into the right corner of the net from the left side of the six-yard box. It was Berry’s first goal in USL action.
In the 67th minute, Walker earned his second assist when he set up Harrison Delbridge with an opportunity from outside the box. Delbridge took Walker’s pass and left-footed a try inside the upper corner of the right goalpost for FCC’s third goal on the night. Delbridge recorded his third goal of the season and Walker tallied his sixth assist.
Walker took the scoring into his own hands in the 72nd minute. On a free kick, Walker right-footed the ball from outside the box, over the New York line of defense and into the back-left corner of the net.
NYRBII rallied with a pair of goals. In the 18th minute, the team came up with an equalizer to Berry’s header. Midfielder Florian Valot tried a ball from inside the box that slipped through the FCC defense and into the back of the net.
Corben Bone scored what would be the game-winning goal on a set situation in the 32nd minute. New York cleared a ball from Walker out of the box but Bone controlled possession and right-footed an attempt from beyond the top of the box and over the outstretched arm of keeper Rafael Diaz.
Walker played a key role on the defensive side as well. In the 55th minute, NYRBII forward Junior Flemmings tried a ball from outside of the box, but Walker deflected the ball and it hit the crossbar, bouncing back into play. NYRBII controlled and seconds later, Andrew Tinari tried a shot from close range that was saved and cleared by Walker.
NYRBII would eventually add to their total late in the match. Valot recorded his second goal in the 80th minute from outside the and into the bottom left corner. Dan Metzger was awarded the assist.
FCC: 5th – Austin Berry (Kenney Walker)
NYRBII: 18th – Florian Valot (Vincent Bezecourt)
FCC: 32nd – Corben Bone
FCC: 67th – Harrison Delbridge (K. Walker)
FCC: 72nd – Kenney Walker
NYRBII: 80th – Valot (Dan Metzger)
FCC: Mitch Hildebrandt, Matt Bahner, Sem De Wit, Justin Hoyte, Harrison Delbridge, Austin Berry, Kenney Walker, Corben Bone, Jimmy McLaughlin, Andrew Wiedeman, Djiby
NYRBII: Rafael Diaz, Jordan Scarlett, David Najem, Hassan Ndam, Noah Powder, Dan Metzger, Florian Valot, Andrew Tinari, Vincent Bezecourt, Stefano Bonomo, Junior Flemmings