Pair of Ledesma goals from the penalty spot sees Cincinnati’s unbeaten streak grow to 15 matches

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – USL leader FC Cincinnati defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 2-1, on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium. Emmanuel Ledesma scored from the penalty spot in the second minute and the 86thminute, while the Orange and Blue held on after playing the final 28 minutes of the match down a man to secure the win.

With the win, Cincinnati (17-3-6, 57 pts.) extended its club-record unbeaten run to 15 games (11-0-4), which dates back to June 2. The victory also claimed the season series against Tampa Bay (7-11-7, 28 pts.) after the Orange and Blue claimed a 2-0 win at Nippert Stadium on July 14. Cincinnati is now unbeaten in three consecutive months for the first time in club history.

FCC jumped out to a fast start when Jimmy McLaughlin was brought down inside the 18-yard box just 30 seconds into the match. Emmanuel Ledesma stepped up to the penalty spot and converted his 12th goal of the season to give FC Cincinnati the early lead.

FCC’s Blake Smith was sent off after a second yellow card in the 62nd minute for time wasting. Although the Orange and Blue conceded a goal to Kwadwo Poku in the 75th minute, just 10 minutes later Pa Konate drew a penalty, giving Cincinnati a chance to re-take the lead. Ledesma placed the ball inside the right post to secure his third brace of the season.

After serving as backup goalkeeper in each of the previous three contests, Evan Newton stopped five shots en route to his 10th win of the season.

FC Cincinnati returns to the field a week from today when the Orange and Blue will host Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Nippert Stadium on Saturday, September 1. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., and the game will be televised live on WSTR 64, carried live on The Project 100.7 FM and also 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, Tampa Bay Rowdies 1

Al Lang Stadium | St. Petersburg, Fla.

Saturday, August 25, 2018


CIN – Emmanuel Ledesma (penalty) 2’

TBR – Kwadwo Poku (unassisted) 75’

CIN – Emmanuel Ledesma (penalty) 86’

FC Cincinnati: Evan Newton, Blake Smith, Forrest Lasso, Paddy Barrett ©, Justin Hoyte, Fatai Alashe (Kenney Walker 55’), Michael Lahoud, Jimmy McLaughlin, Nazmi Albadawi (Danni König 78), Emmanuel Ledesma, Fanendo Adi (Pa Konate 67’)

Bench: Spencer Richey, Dekel Keinan, Russell Cicerone, Emery Welshman

STATS: 7 Shots, 3 Shots on goal, 12 Fouls, 1 Offsides, 0 Corner kicks, 5 Saves, 44.1% Possession

Tampa Bay Rowdies: Daniel Vega, Tarek Morad, Abdoulaye Diakité, Hunter Gorskie, Zac Portillos, Joe Cole © (Michael Nanchoff 56’), Dominic Oduro, Kwadwo Poku, Afrim Taku (Georgi Hristov 68’), Sebastián Guenzatti (Leo Fernandes 75’), Junior Flemmings

Bench: Akira Fitzgerald, Tamika Mkandawire, Martin Vingaard, Leon Taylor

STATS: 31 Shots, 6 Shots on goal, 23 Fouls, 2 Offsides, 13 Corner kicks, 1 Saves, 55.9% Possession


TBR – Afrim Taku (caution) 1’

TBR – Joe Cole (caution) 15’

TBR – Kwadwo Poku (caution) 43’

CIN – Blake Smith (caution) 50’

CIN – Blake Smith (ejection) 62’

TBR – Zac Portillos (caution) 68’

TBR – Dominic Oduro (caution) 80’

TBR – Abdoulaye Diakité (caution) 82’

TBR – Abdoulaye Diakité (ejection) 85’

CIN – Paddy Barrett (caution) 88’

CIN – Evan Newton (caution) 90’+’2

TBR – Michael Nanchoff (caution) 90’+7’

Referee: Kevin Broadley

Weather: 76 degrees and rain

Attendance: 5,963


2’ | FCC GOAL – Just 30 seconds into the match, Jimmy McLaughlin was brought down inside the 18-yard box by Afrim Taku to earn the Orange and Blue a penalty. Emmanuel Ledesma stepped up to the spot and scored to the right side of the net past an outstretched Daniel Vega to give FC Cincinnati the early lead
11’ | Sebastián Guenzatti fired a shot from the top of the 18-yard box, but Evan Newton was able to parry the ball back into play, away from danger
20’ | On a counter, Junior Flemmings dribbled from the right flank at the middle of the pitch into the right side of the 18-yard box. The forward put a shot on frame, however, a diving Newton was able to get his right hand on the ball and redirect it over the end line to concede the corner
45’+2 | Guenzatti played a dangerous through ball to Flemmings, who got behind the FCC backline into the 18-yard box, but a charging Newton was able to re-direct the ball to Forrest Lasso to keep the clean sheet intact
51’ | After gathering a loose ball in the attacking third, Dominic Oduro took a right-footed shot from 25-yards out that was re-directed over the end line by Newton
62’ | FCC RED CARD – After receiving a caution in the 50th minute, Blake Smith was issue a second yellow card for delay of game, putting the Orange and Blue down to 10 men for the remainder of the match
75’ | TBR GOAL – Kwadwo Poku attempted to a play a through ball into the box, however, Paddy Barrett deflected the ball back to the midfielder. After two touches, Poku took a right-footed shot from the top of the box to the inside of the near post, beating an outstretched Newton
85’ | FCC GOAL – From the left flank, Pa Konate ran into the box for a loose ball and was taken down by Abdoulaye Diakité. Ledesma stepped up to the penalty spot for the second time in the placed a shot to his right to secure his third brace of the season


Tonight’s match marked FC Cincinnati’s first road victory over Tampa Bay in three seasons across all competitions between the two sides … FCC’s all-time record against Tampa Bay in USL regular-season play improves to 2-1-1, including a 1-1-0 mark at on the road.
The Orange and Blue extended the club-record unbeaten streak to 15 matches … Cincinnati is 11-0-4 in that stretch … FCC’s last loss came on May 26
FC Cincinnati secured the club’s sixth series sweep of the 2018 USL regular season … FCC has posted a 2-0-0 mark against Atlanta, Charleston, New York, North Carolina, Ottawa, and Tampa Bay in each of those completed series
FCC improved to 8-1-3 on the road this season … the win sets a new club record for away wins (8) and away points (27) in a single season … overall this season, Cincinnati has out-scored its hosts 24-13 and is averaging 2.00 goals per road game
With the win, FC Cincinnati completed its third-consecutive unbeaten month for the first time ever, having posted unbeaten records in June (4-0-2), July (3-0-1), and August (4-0-1) … Overall, FCC has tallied seven unbeaten months in club history
Tonight’s win marks the third time FCC has recorded nine points in an eight-day stretch this season … Cincinnati previously went 3-0-0 between April 28-May 5 and July 14-21 … The club did not accomplish the feat in either of its first two seasons
The Orange and Blue have claimed 22 out of 24 points – most points in an eight-game stretch in club history – posting a 7-0-1 record in their last eight USL matches
Emmanuel Ledesma’s second-minute goal was FC Cincinnati’s first-ever goal scored at Al Lang Stadium … Cincinnati was shut out in each of its first three matches across all competitions at Tampa Bay … the goal is the second-fastest goal scored in club history, trailing only Danni König’s first-minute goal against Nashville on Aug. 4, 2018
FC Cincinnati’s goals were the third and fourth goals scored from the penalty spot this season … Kenney Walker tallied from the spot on May 2 at Indy Eleven, while Ledesma converted a penalty on May 19 against North Carolina FC
Fanendo Adi made his first FC Cincinnati start in tonight’s contest … the forward played 67 minutes and was replaced once the Orange and Blue went down a man
Emmanuel Ledesma recorded his third brace of the season … the forward previously scored twice on May 5 vs. Atlanta and June 16 vs. Richmond … this was FCC’s second road brace of the year, with the first coming from Nazmi Albadawi just three days earlier at Atlanta United 2 on Aug. 22
Tonight’s match was the first USL match of 2018 in which Corben Bone did not make an appearance
The red card that Blake Smith received was the first red card given to an FC Cincinnati player this season
Evan Newton returned to the starting lineup after serving as Spencer Richey’s backup for three consecutive matches … Newton made five saves, one shy of the season-high six saves he recorded at Indy Eleven on March 31
Tonight marked the 17th time in USL play this season that Cincinnati tallied at least two goals


FCC Head Coach Alan Koch

On if tonight’s result is a sweet feeling after capturing the club’s first win at Al Lang Stadium…

“Yeah, it’s very sweet actually considering how the whole game went. We didn’t play very well tonight. It’s tough to put three quality performances in in the space of a short amount of time, and then too with the last two games being on the road, but the guys showed their spirits to go out and get a result and obviously dealt with … that was a very, very interesting game, obviously. You’re going to go on the road sometimes in this league and you’re going to have to figure out ways to win. Full credit to the guys, they got the job done.”

On the biggest challenge over three matches in eight days…

“Every challenge is different, obviously, but coming in here and playing here at the end was probably the most challenging game. Tampa were fired up to play, we could tell that they were fighting for their lives, but we’re fighting for our lives too. We’re in a slightly more favorable position right now, but every game is important. We go into every game trying to put in a good performance. Tonight’s performance in terms of how we played was not good, in terms of the character, it was very good to get that result.”

On how the team was able to maintain focus after going down a man…

“It’s difficult, because there were some very, very hard decisions in the game tonight. Still not quite sure why Blake [Smith] got his second yellow, so we’re obviously going to go review that of course, but you’re going to have to deal with tough emotional situations. This game is a very volatile game, it is a very business. You’re going to have high moments, low moments, and you’re just going to have to stay even keel through that. Our guys for the most part tonight managed the game very, very well. Not how we played, but in terms of game management, emotional management, I was very impressed with the guys.”

FCC Goalkeeper Evan Newton

On maintaining focus throughout the match…

“Yeah, I just tried to do my job on that side of the ball. I’m not really happy with my kicking game today. I’m going to go back and have to work on that, kicking wasn’t very good in these conditions and I need to do better there, but the guys busted their butt in front of me and it was a big team performance.”

On if the rain made things challenging…

“It was a little wet. I mean, for the conditions, the pitch was really nice, but obviously, still pretty soggy. From a delay standpoint, not too bad. The hotel is right there, so we just got to hang out and didn’t come over too early. But yeah, huge win, especially with getting kind of a fluke red card, so big, big character win tonight.”