Adi tallies late for the win, FCC extends unbeaten run to 16 consecutive matches
CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati became the first team to clinch a berth in the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs with Saturday night’s 2-1, come-from-behind victory over Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in front of 25,735 fans at Nippert Stadium.
Fanendo Adi’s first goal for FC Cincinnati (18-3-6, 54 pts.) pushed the Orange and Blue on top with just two minutes left in the match as FCC completed the comeback win over Pittsburgh (12-4-10, 46 pts.) to claim its fifth consecutive time and extend the unbeaten streak to 16 games (12-0-4) since the start of June.
FC Cincinnati has now earned a spot in the USL Cup Playoffs in each of its three seasons in the league: 2016, 2017 and 2018. The 2018 postseason is set to begin on Saturday, October 20.
Dekel Keinan equalized for FC Cincinnati in the 80th minute, after a Romeo Parkes goal in the 58th minute put the visitors on the front foot.
FC Cincinnati will be back on the road on Saturday, Sept. 8, when the club travels to play Louisville City FC at Louisville Slugger Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The match will be televised on WSTR 64 and streamed live on ESPN+.
For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. For more information about FC Cincinnati tickets, call 513-977-KICK (5425) or visit fccincinnati.com/tickets.
FC Cincinnati 2, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 1
Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, September 1, 2018
PGH -- Romeo Parkes (Kenardo Forbes) 57’
CIN -- Dekel Keinan (Emmanuel Ledesma) 80’
CIN -- Fanendo Adi (Kenney Walker) 88’
FC Cincinnati: Spencer Richey, Pa Konate (Michael Lahoud 66’), Forrest Lasso, Dekel Keinan ©, Justin Hoyte, Fatai Alashe (Jimmy McLaughlin 72’), Corben Bone, Kenney Walker, Nazmi Albadawi, Emmanuel Ledesma, Danni König (Fanendo Adi 75’)
Bench: Evan Newton, Sem De Wit, Tyler Gibson, Emery Welshman
STATS: Shots 9, Shots on goal 4, Fouls 10, Offsides 3, Corner kicks 3, Saves 4, Possession 65.2%
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Michael Kirk, Jordan Dover, Hugh Roberts, Joseph Greenspan (Dennis Chin 90’), Tobi Adewole, Mouhamed Dabo, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Christiano François (Neco Brett 70’), Romeo Parkes (Ben Zemanski 78’), Kenardo Forbes ©, Kay Banjo
Bench: Andrew Lubahn, Todd Pratzner, Nathan Ingham, Benjamin Fitzpatrick
STATS: Shots 12, Shots on goal 5, Fouls 9, Offsides 1, Corner kicks 7, Saves 1, Possession 34.8%
CIN -- Forrest Lasso (caution) 38’
CIN -- Fanendo Adi (caution) 88’
Referee: Joseph Dickerson
Weather: 76 degrees and sunny
Man of the Match: Spencer Richey
HOW IT HAPPENED
- 27’ | Kenney Walker played a long ball from the center circle over the top of the Pittsburgh defense to Emmanuel Ledesma right on the edge of the 18-yard box. Ledesma brought the ball down and played a lofted left-footed shot that was cleared by Joseph Greenspan a few feet from the line to keep the scoreline level.
- 29’ | Hugh Roberts broke out on the counter attack for the visiting side down the right flank. After a one-two pass with Christiano François, Roberts sent a cross in to Thomas Vancaeyezeele, who laid off the ball to Kay Banjo, who went to ground after a collision with Kenney Walker. The loose ball trickled to Romeo Parkes, but Walker recovered in time to send the ball away from danger.
- 35’ | François intercepted a backwards pass from Walker intended for Justin Hoyte, and dribbled into the box from the left flank. François sent a low cross in to the feet of Banjo, whose right-footed shot is deflected by Forrest Lasso. Spencer Richey made a right-footed kick save on the deflected ball as he was falling down the other way to keep the Riverhounds off the board.
- 49’ | PGH PENALTY MISS - Banjo dribbled into the box with Lasso closing marking him, and after Lasso went to ground and cleared the ball, referee Joseph Dickerson pointed to the signaling a penalty. On the ensuing attempt, Banjo took a stutter step before skying the ball over the crossbar and into the Nippert stands as Richey came out off his line straight at Banjo.
- 57’ | PGH GOAL - Pittsburgh got inside the FCC box early in the second half when Thomas Vancaeyezeele found Kenardo Forbes on the left side. Forbes created some space and quickly moved the ball to the center of the box before Romeo Parkes pushed one through for the Hounds with a ball into the top of the net.
- 80’ | FCC GOAL -- Following a set piece, Emmanuel Ledesma placed a ball inside the box from about 30 yards out. Dekel Keinan leaped high and connected for the equalizer as his header found the bottom right corner of the net.
- 88’ | FCC GOAL -- Late in the match, Walker sent the ball downfield to Fanendo Adi. With two defenders harassing him, Adi broke free to his left inside the box as a third defender approached. Adi sliced the ball through all three Hounds’ defenders and past keeper Michael Kirk for the game-winning goal.
- With tonight’s victory, FC Cincinnati became the first team in the USL to clinch a 2018 USL Cup Playoffs berth … FC Cincinnati has earned a spot in the postseason in each of the club’s three USL seasons
- The Orange and Blue extended the club-record unbeaten streak to 16 matches … Cincinnati is 12-0-4 in that stretch … FCC’s streak equals the longest unbeaten mark in USL this season set by Reno FC 1868 from April 21 - July 11 … FC Cincinnati is now 8-0-2 at home and 4-0-2 on the road during the current streak … FCC’s last loss came on May 26
- FC Cincinnati extended its all-time best winning streak to five matches
- The Orange and Blue have claimed 25 out of 27 points – most points in an nine-game stretch in club history – posting a 8-0-1 record in their last eight USL matches
- Fanendo Adi scored his first goal as an FC Cincinnati player in tonight’s contest … the forward played 15 minutes as a substitute and registered two shots
- Dekel Keinan found the back of the net for the second time this season … the FCC captain previously tallied in the club’s 2-0 win over Charlotte on July 18 … Keinan joins Forrest Lasso as the only FC Cincinnati center backs to record multiple goals this season
- Emmanuel Ledesma reclaimed the USL lead in assists (11) when his free kick set up Dekel Keinan’s equalizer … Ledesma has recorded four goals and an assist over the last four matches that he has been available for selection
- The assist on Adi’s goal was Kenney Walker’s second on the season and his first since July 18
- Walker led all FC Cincinnati players in total duels (11) and duels won percentage (81.8)
- Pa Konate made his home debut for the Orange and Blue in tonight’s match
- Tonight marked the 18th time in USL play this season that Cincinnati tallied at least two goals
FCC Head Coach Alan Koch
“Fun one for many, many reasons, obviously. Being down is never easy coming back and you’ve got to show the character and the fight to come back, which I think our group showed. I think our group tonight did a very, very good job of managing the individual moments. [It was a] historic night in many respects and most importantly, a big-time three points for our group.”
On what was the key to unlocking Pittsburgh’s defense…
“The players. The individual moments by the players. They’re the guys that go out on the pitch, they’re the guys that work their backs off every day. They went out and grabbed an opportunity and it wasn’t easy. We were playing against another team that’s at the top of the table. They’re a very good team and they showed that tonight.”
On what he told the team after the game…
“Very, very proud of them. Enjoy it tonight and relax tomorrow. Come back on Monday and get ourselves ready for the next one. We have seven games left, and we’re not thinking about seven games. Hopefully get ourselves in the playoffs at some stage, but we’re not going to worry about that right now. We’ll enjoy it tonight.”
FCC Forward Fanendo Adi
On his goal …
“I saw two defenders back when [Kenney] Walker played the ball into me. If I could make a step to the ball and run behind and the defender doesn’t touch the ball, then I’m on goal. I was lucky enough that came true. I just looked for a very tight angle to get a shot off my leg. The space opened, I got a shot off and luckily it went in.”
On his celebration of running over to Alan Koch…
“I think he wants me here so much, he has supported me, and that’s just to show him I’m very tight to him for everything he has done for me. It’s been a tough time for me, adjusting to the league, to the players and to the city as well, but he’s been there every day for me.”
FCC Goalkeeper Spencer Richey
On his saves during the match and staying sharp throughout the season…
“It’s a bit the reality of the position, unfortunately. If you can develop the reputation of a guy that can come in and put in good performances when you haven’t had a tremendous run of games, I think it’s valuable to have. I prepare every week like I’m going to play. I’ve been playing more as of late, and obviously during the first portion of the season I didn’t play as much as I’d like, but at the end of the day, when you get a chance, you’ve got to prove yourself and play well, and fortunately I did that tonight.”
On the significance of tonight’s game…
“Honestly, tonight felt like it had a little something extra, just a different buzz about it. Jeff Berding comes in and gives us his ‘I don’t love Pittsburgh’ speech before the game and kind of get us up a little bit more before the game. Honestly, they outplayed us for most of the game tonight, but you don’t go two or three months unbeaten without finding ways to win when teams outplay you, so tonight was one of those games. You got to find ways to win.”