CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati fell to La Liga side RCD Espanyol, 3-2, in international friendly at Nippert Stadium on Saturday night.
The Orange and Blue jumped out to an early lead when Emery Welshman took a Will Seymore pass and found Russell Cicerone inside the box. Cicerone finished the play when he beat Espanyol keeper Diego Lopez with a ball into the back left corner of the net.
Espanyol rallied for an equalizer in the 30th minute on an unassisted goal from Victor Sanchez, and then took the lead in the second half in the 69th minute after Sergio Garcia followed up on a blocked shot inside the FCC box.
Moments later, FCC equalized as Emmanuel Ledesma tallied from outside the box after a feed from Jimmy McLaughlin. McLaughlin spurred the Orange and Blue attack and left the ball for Ledesma at the top of the box. Ledesma, with a curling, right-footed strike, placed the equalizer just inside the top right corner of the goal.
However, shortly later, Garcia found himself in the midst of the attack again for Espanyol. Leo Baptistao took a pass from Garcia late in the match, and there wasn’t much keeper Evan Newton could’ve done as Baptistao place a goal nicely into the bottom right corner for the game-winning score.
FC Cincinnati plays its next three games at Nippert Stadium, scheduled August 4 through 18. Next up, FCC will host Nashville SC in a rivalry game on Saturday, Aug. 4. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on WSTR 64, streamed on ESPN+ and carried on the radio by ESPN 1530.
Tickets for all games are available at fccincinnati.com/tickets or by calling 513-977-KICK (5425).
International Friendly Presented by Cincinnati Bell
RCD Espanyol 3, FC Cincinnati 2
Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, July 28, 2018
CIN -- Russell Cicerone (Emery Welshman) 5’
ESP -- Victor Sanchez (unassisted) 30’
ESP -- Sergio Garcia (unassisted) 69’
CIN -- Emmanuel Ledesma (Jimmy McLaughlin) 76’
ESP -- Leo Baptistao (Sergio Garcia) 79’
FC Cincinnati: Spencer Richey (Mark Village 46’) (Evan Newton 73’), Lance Laing (Blake Smith 73’), Sem De Wit (Dekel Keinan 73’), Paddy Barrett, Matt Bahner (Justin Hoyte 73’), Kenney Walker © (Tyler Gibson 46’) (Forrest Lasso 73’), Will Seymore, Jimmy McLaughlin, Nazmi Albadawi (Danni Konig 73’), Russell Cicerone (Emmanuel Ledesma 73’), Emery Welshman (Tomi Ameobi 61’)
Bench: Michael Lahoud, Corben Bone
STATS: Shots 10, Shots on Goal 6, Saves 6, Corners 2
RCD Espanyol: Diego Lopez (Eduardo Frias 76’), Pipa, Aaron, Victor Sanchez (Sergio Sanchez 73’), Alvaro (Hernan Perez 62’), Melendo (Sergio Garcia 46’)(Sergi Darder 79’), David Lopez (Mario Hermoso 73’), Alex Lopez, Pablo Piatti (Leo Baptistao 68’), Puado (Borja Iglesias 78’), Naldo
Bench: Roberto, Oscar Duarte, Didac Vila, Javi Lopez, Marc Rosa, Granero
STATS: Shots 21, Shots on Goal 10, Saves 3, Corners 3
Referee: Brandon Artis
Weather: 81 degrees, mostly sunny
Man of the Match, Presented by La Liga: Sergio Garcia, Espanyol
HOW IT HAPPENED
5’ | FCC GOAL -- Will Seymore took possession away from Espanyol in the attacking half and quickly passed to Emery Welshman, who was running to his right. Welshman played a ball into the box and from about 10 yards out to Russell Cicerone, who put the Orange and Blue ahead early, 1-0, with a tally into the bottom left corner.
30’ | RCD GOAL -- A pressing Victor Sanchez stepped into the Cincinnati defensive passing lane in his attacking half. With no FCC players in front of him, Sanchez had only keeper Spencer Richey between he and the goal. Richey went down to block the shot, but Sanchez chipped him and scored the equalizer from close range.
53’ | In his first game action of the year following a preseason injury, Tyler Gibson got his first chance to score a goal in the second half. Lance Laing dribbled down the left side and played a one-two pass to Nazmi Albadawi. Gibson took an Albadawi pass approximately 25 yards from the goal and fired a shot with his right foot, but the attempt was wide right.
69’ | RCD GOAL -- Leo Baptistao got deep into the FCC box and aimed for the net, but Sem de Wit blocked his shot. Sergio Garcia retained possession for Espanyol and pushed the ball through to beat a diving Mark Village for an Espanyol 2-1 advantage.
76’ | FCC GOAL -- Jimmy McLaughlin dribbled down the right side and created some space for the Orange and Blue attack before passing to Emmanuel Ledesma outside the box. Ledesma surveyed his options and sent an arcing shot toward the goal that slipped inside the top right corner of the goal for a late rally.
79’ | RCD GOAL -- Baptistao attacked again, this time passing it back and forth with Garcia in FCC territory. Garcia gave it back one last time, and from just outside the six-yard box, Baptistao fired a shot through the Orange and Blue defense and into the right part of the net.
Russell Cicerone’s fifth-minute goal was FC Cincinnati’s first-ever goal in an international friendly … FCC lost both of its previous first two international friendlies, 2-0: vs. Crystal Palace in 2016 and Valencia FC in 2017
Tyler Gibson and Mark Village made their club debuts tonight, coming on at halftime as substitutes … Gibson suffered a broken leg in preseason training in February, an injury that required surgery and five months and three weeks of rehabilitation
Saturday’s game marked the team’s third-ever international friendly … FCC is now 0-3-0 all-time against international opponents, including an 0-2-0 mark against La Liga teams
Kenney Walker started the game as the team’s captain, and then handed the armband off to Matt Bahner at halftime when he was substituted off … When Bahner was removed in the 73rd minute, Dekel Keinan finished the match with the armband
FCC Head Coach Alan Koch
“Fun game tonight. We obviously knew tonight we were going to play against a team that plays at much higher level than us, and I think they showed it at times in the game. I was very pleased with how our guys played, too. It’s a weird business and a weird sport, though, because I don’t think we were that great in the first 45 minutes, and we drew, 1-1. Then I thought we were a lot better in taking it to them in the second 45 minutes, and we essentially lost the second 45 minutes.”
On what he took away from the match…
“Tyler [Gibson] is an obvious one, because obviously seeing one of your players go down in preseason, we’ve all been with him every step of the way. Highly emotional to see him go out and play. Very happy for Mark Village, just before he came off he made the double save. Seeing young [Russell Cicerone] score that early. We gave a lot of players opportunities tonight.”
FCC Forward Russell Cicerone
On FCC scoring it’s first goal in international competition...
“You know, actually I did not know that. Carl Lindner just told me about five minutes ago that I was the first to score. That was a nice surprise to get after the game.”
On his goal…
“Will [Seymore] did a lot of work in the midfield. He found Emery [Welshman] in space and then Emery put it on a platter for me and all I had to do was slide it past the goalie. It was those two that did all the work.”
On the significance of the goal…
“Once I saw it hit the back of the net, I was overcome with joy. Right away it hit me.”
FCC Midfielder Tyler Gibson
On getting back out on the pitch…
“It was a long time coming. It was a surreal feeling, I’ve been waiting for this time. It was a grind, six month grind. I was excited to get back out there.”
On his try in the second half...
“I saw it and before [Nazmi Albadawi] even passed me the ball, I was thinking about shooting because I saw how much space I had. Once I hit it, I thought it had a chance and I was unfortunate to get it on frame, but I got seven more games to make it happen.”
On the chance to play RCD Espanyol...
“Growing up, you’re watching it on TV. It’s been my dream to play at the highest level. Getting to play and match up against them is awesome, to see where you measure up and everything and see what kind of level they actually are. Once you’re out there playing, you think of course they have quality. I think the level is not too far off to be honest.”
On his performance...
“For my first game back, I thought I did well. Just tried to get on the ball, play simple. Just not think and play how I’ve always played my entire life. It’s almost like muscle memory.”