FC Cincinnati sets USL regular-season attendance record as it closes its home schedule
CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati defeated Indy Eleven 3-0 on Saturday night in their 2018 USL regular-season home finale at Nippert Stadium in front of a USL regular-season record crowd of 31,478 fans. With the win, FC Cincinnati extended its unbeaten streak to 21 matches (17-0-4) and its winning streak to a USL-record 10 matches.
Jimmy McLaughlin recorded two assists on the night, setting up Fanendo Adi and Danni Konig in the 34th and 65th minutes, respectively. FCC’s third tally came via an own goal in the 74th minute, a play that McLaughlin also initiated and Russell Cicerone sent into the penalty area to cause the defensive miscue. Evan Newton made five saves and registered his ninth shutout of the year.
With the win, FC Cincinnati (23-3-6, 75 pts.) swept the three-game series against Indy Eleven (13-10-9, 48 pts.) after a 1-0 victory on March 31 and a 3-2 win on May 2, both on the road.
Next up, FC Cincinnati will travel to Highmark Stadium to play Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday, Oct. 6. The match will be televised live on WSTR 64 and streamed live on ESPN+.
The team’s next home game will be its opener in the USL Cup Playoffs, when the Orange and Blue host the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20. Tickets to that game go on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 1.
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 3, Indy Eleven 0
Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, September 29, 2018
CIN -- Fanendo Adi (Jimmy McLaughlin) 33’
CIN -- Danni Konig (Jimmy McLaughlin) 65’
CIN -- Own Goal (Carlyle Mitchell) 74’
FC Cincinnati: Evan Newton, Matt Bahner, Sem de Wit, Dekel Keinan ©, Pa Konate (Blake Smith 53’), Russell Cicerone, Tyler Gibson, Michael Lahoud, Jimmy McLaughlin, Danni Konig, Fanendo Adi (Tomi Ameobi 88’)
Bench: Mark Village, Nazmi Albadawi, Kenney Walker, Paddy Barrett, Emmanuel Ledesma
STATS: Shots 9, Shots on goal 5, Fouls 9, Offsides 2, Corner kicks 4, Saves 5, Possession 40.4%
Indy Eleven: Owain Fon Williams, Karl Ouimette, Carlyle Mitchell, Reiner Ferreira, Ayoze, Nico Matern (Juan Guerra 79’), Matthew Watson ©, Kevin Venegas, Jack McInerney (Eugene Starikov 66’), Dylan Mares, Elliot Collier (Soony Saad 76’)
Bench: Ben Lundgaard, Ben Speas, Bradford Rusin, Brad Ring
STATS: Shots 20, Shots on goal 5, Fouls 9, Offsides 3, Corner kicks 6, Saves 3, Possession 59.6%
CIN -- Danni Konig (caution) 31’
IND -- Nico Matern (caution) 31’
Referee: Tim Ford
Weather: 69 degrees and clear
Man of the Match: Jimmy McLaughlin
HOW IT HAPPENED
- 10’ | After possessing the ball in his attacking third, Indy’s Nico Matern passed the ball back to Reiner Ferreira on the edge of the center circle. Ferreira took a few touches and fired a left-footed shot from 35-yards out, but Evan Newton got his left hand on the ball and pushed it over the end line to concede a corner.
- 25’ | From the central third of the field, Michael Lahoud sent a ball into the box, where Dekel Keinan got his head to it and directed it toward the left side of the 18-yard box. Danni Konig made a run to ball and took a left-footed shot, but Fon Williams was able to smother the attempt.
- 28’ | From the edge of his six-yard box, Newton played a long ball to the center circle, where an Indy defender headed the ball directly into the path of Jimmy McLaughlin. McLaughlin’s first touch allowed him to run onto the ball and first-time a right-footed shot at the top of the 18-yard box, however, the shot curled just wide of the far post.
- 32’ | Tyler Gibson intercepted a loose ball in FC Cincinnati’s attacking half and played a through ball to a charging Russell Cicerone. Cicerone first-timed a right-footed shot, which Fon Williams saved to concede a corner.
- CIN GOAL - 34’ | McLaughlin played a one-two pass with Pa Konate on the left flank, allowing McLaughlin to get past the Indy midfielders and find Fanendo Adi in the attacking third. Adi played two touches and then struck a right-footed shot from approximately 23 yards out. The ball dipped just under Fon Williams’ hand as he dove for the save, however, the ball bounced up off the turf and into the back net to give FC Cincinnati the lead.
- 40’ | Indy’s Elliot Collier got to a loose ball just outside of Cincinnati’s 18-yard box. Collier took a left-footed shot inside the arc, but Newton dove to make the stop to preserve the FC Cincinnati lead.
- 52’ | McLaughlin attacked from the left flank and played a through ball to a charging Pa Konate. Konate got to the ball on the left side of the six-yard box, but Fon Williams stepped in front of Konate to deflect the ball into the side netting.
- CIN GOAL -- 65’ | McLaughlin again pushed the ball into the attacking third, this time setting up Konig inside the box and up against a defender and the Indy goalkeeper. Fon Williams left the six-yard box to charge for the ball and was knocked down, allowing Konig to get his right foot on the ball and push a deflected shot past the keeper and his defender for a two-goal advantage.
- CIN GOAL - 74’ | The Orange and Blue found themselves in good position a third time when Adi moved the ball from left to right following a pass from McLaughlin. After sending it out wide right to Cicerone, Adi made a cut toward the net. Cicerone then fed a ball into close range, intended for Adi to redirect, however Indy defender Carlyle Mitchell got a foot out ahead of Adi and deflected the ball toward goal inside the far post, giving Cincinnati a three-goal cushion.
- Following tonight’s game, FC Cincinnati was presented the 2018 USL Regular-Season Championship trophy in a postgame ceremony … USL Senior Vice President of League Operations Brett Luy was on hand to present the trophy to club captain Dekel Keinan
- Tonight’s win extended FCC’s USL single-season win record to 23 games, and its USL single-season point record to 75 points
- Tonight’s attendance of 31,478 established a new USL regular-season attendance mark, breaking the old record of 30,417, which was set by FCC last season in the regular-season home finale against New York Red Bulls II
- On the season, FCC welcomed a USL-record 437,197 fans to Nippert Stadium for a USL-record season average of 25,717 fans per game
- Saturday night’s victory pushed the Orange and Blue’s undefeated streak to 21 games (17-0-4) … during this run, FCC is 10-0-2 at home and 7-0-2 on the road … FCC’s last loss came on May 26 - to Louisville City FC … the USL’s record unbeaten streak is 22 games. (Richmond Kickers, 2012)
- Tonight’s win also extended Cincinnati’s winning streak to 10 games, which is now the USL’s longest single-season winning streak, topping the previous high of nine consecutive wins (Real Monarchs SLC, 2017)
- This victory pushed FCC’s all-time record against Indy to 3-0-0 … this was Cincy’s first-ever win over Indy at Nippert Stadium, and the club is now 1-0-0 at home … FCC is 2-0-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium
- Tonight’s win ensured FC Cincinnati’s ninth series sweep of 2018 … in addition, the sweep of Indy Eleven is FCC’s first three-match sweep on the campaign … the Orange and Blue have claimed two-match sweeps against Atlanta United 2, Charleston Battery, New York Red Bulls II, North Carolina FC, Ottawa Fury FC, Penn FC, Richmond Kickers and Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Fanendo Adi registered his third goal of the season in tonight’s match … Adi has scored in each of FCC’s last three home matches (Sept. 1 vs. Pittsburgh, Sept. 16 vs. Toronto, Sept. 29 vs. Indy)
- Danni Konig scored his first goal since tallying the fastest goal in club history against Nashville SC on Aug. 4 … Konig has now scored 11 times on the year
- Jimmy McLaughlin recorded his first multiple-assist performance of the season … the Malvern, Pa., native has scored two goals and has added four assists on the campaign
- Evan Newton made five saves en route to his ninth shutout of 2018 … the Orange and Blue have now recorded 12 clean sheets on the year, sixth-most among all USL teams
- FC Cincinnati now leads the USL with 69 goals on the year … FCC are averaging 2.16 goals per game through 32 regular-season matches
- Alan Koch made 10 changes to the starting lineup that took the field on Wednesday at Richmond … Evan Newton was the only player to start for a second consecutive match
- Center back Sem de Wit made his second start of the year … he previously started against Bethlehem Steel FC on June 13
- Tomi Ameobi made his fourth appearance for FCC in tonight’s match … Ameobi last appeared against New York Red Bulls II on July 21
- In the last 14 games, the Orange and Blue have claimed 40 out of 42 points – most points in a 14-game stretch in club history – posting a 13-0-1 record in their last 14 USL matches
- Tonight marked the 22nd time in USL play this season that Cincinnati tallied at least two goals … in addition, it is the fifth time the Orange and Blue have scored three times in a match.
FCC Head Coach Alan Koch
“Fun game tonight. I don’t think it would be as enjoyable celebrating a regular-season championship if we didn’t go out and get a positive result against a very good team tonight. Fun night all around. I said to the guys, ‘Go out and enjoy it tonight.’ We obviously enjoyed it Wednesday. We get to enjoy it together tonight with everybody. I think that’s the hard part on the road, you don’t have all your players, you don’t have all your support staff. So, I’m very, very happy for everybody tonight, they can go out and enjoy it. We’re going to give [the players] a few days off and then we come back and have the last two games and every day of training to prepare ourselves for the postseason.”
On putting the victory over Richmond behind them…
“It was difficult from an energy perspective. Going and winning on Wednesday and all the energy expended during in the game, and in the celebration, too, to be honest. Then a log travel day back on Thursday. It’s difficult to find the energy to go out and do what the guys did tonight. But, I take my hat off to them. We obviously rotated a lot, but the players that played tonight were on the road too, and they were on the road for a week, and had that celebration, too. So, it’s not easy to find the energy to go out and play like they did tonight. And obviously, what a very positive result against a very good team tonight.”
On expecting to reach this point...
“I never thought of this, to be honest. I go one game at a time. I’m a builder. That’s why when I was given this job, and a privilege to have this job, I knew we had a lot of hard work ahead of us. We squeezed everything we could out of the group last year, and we had that amazing, Magical [U.S. Open] Cup run, which we’ll never forget. But, we really worked as a club incredibly hard to put this group in place this year. I’m very, very proud of everybody. I’m proud of ownership and management, players, medical, all of my technical staff. Those guys give everything they can every single day. I’m very, very proud of our entire group. I’m proud of our fans, the support they give us here at home is amazing, but the support they give us on the road, I think a lot of people don’t see that is absolutely amazing, too. I think that is a big part of why we’ve had success at home and away this year. Yeah, we adjusted a couple things from a technical perspective and operationally how we managed our group on the road, but the fans were absolutely amazing here and wherever we traveled.”
On what he was proud of tonight…
“It was absolutely awesome just to see Yoann [Damet], Jack [Stern], Austin [Berry], they work with us technically every day. Then to see Aaron [Powell] and Alex [Villasanti] from a medical perspective, and Teddy [Kerr] and Diego [Martinez], all the work that they do. Our technical staff, medical staff [and] operations staff do a lot of dirty work to set the group up for success. We take a lot of pride in setting the players up for success, but the players have to grab those opportunities, and it’s not that easy to grab an opportunity, but the players grabbed that opportunity tonight and they’ve taken them all season long.
On looking ahead to the final two regular-season matches…
“We’re going to go play two teams that one, will definitely be in the playoffs, and the other are competing to be in the playoffs, so they’re two teams that we’ll compete against directly. And going and playing in difficult places, too. We’ll deal with more adversity going to Pittsburgh and going to Nashville, that are exercises, cause there are now exercises that we can use to really see which players in the group are going to continue to step up to those opportunities. I’m looking forward to those games as exercises, but I’m also looking forward to the exercise of training every single day. We want to squeeze everything we can out of this group. I don’t think we’ve peaked yet. As good as we have been, I think we’re still capable of more. But, we want to give ourselves the best chance possible to be successful in the playoffs. In a cup competition, anything can happen in 90 minutes, 120 minutes, penalty kicks. But, we want to control as much as we can control.”
On his moment with the trophy…
“I was surprised by Forrest Lasso ... because he went down and he pretty much hoisted me himself. But, I got an opportunity to kiss the trophy. You don’t win trophies in this business every single day. ”
FCC Midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin
On his time with FC Cincinnati
“It’s unbelievable, honestly. I remember the first day I came to Cincinnati and I got a tour of Nippert Stadium, and I remember them saying, ‘We hope to get 8-10 thousand people here at a game.’ I remember thinking at the time, that’s a little ambitious, but I hope they’re right. But, three years later we’re here lifting the USL regular season championship trophy. This club is like nothing else in the world. I don’t think any club has ever rose this quickly, and it’s unbelievable to be a part of it.”
On his impact in the two decisive goals...
“It’s an amazing feeling. My job is to go out there, create chances, score goals and get assists. To do that tonight was even more special on an occasion like this. It was a goal and an objective of mine. I’m trying to push hard here at the final stretch of the season and keep fighting for playing time and fight for a championship.”
On his focus following the regular-season championship...
“Honestly, we try to focus on the present all the time, but this wasn’t built in one day, this wasn’t built in one year. This has been a long time coming for this club. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs and we’ve had a lot of heartache to get to this point. You look back, you think of the loss in the playoffs in the first year where it feels like we have the victory under our belts. You learn from that, you move on … I think you grow from those experiences and it showed this year. The run we’re on right now is honestly remarkable, and it’s not over yet. We have another goal to accomplish and we’re going to enjoy this tonight, but this week we start preparing for the next objective.
FCC Midfielder Russell Cicerone
On his role in the final goal…
“It was special for me. You put the ball in dangerous positions, and good stuff is going to happen. We were fortunate to get an own goal out of that, so it was good.”
On playing for FC Cincinnati…
“Playing in front of a crowd we had tonight, that’s probably the biggest thing. We have a group of winners here, so we already clinched the league and we still come out and deliver a performance like that, it’s really something special.”
On his objectives down the stretch...
“We just need to fine-tune what we need to do every game before the playoffs, I think that’s the primary objective. And then personally, just keep the question in the coach’s mind if he wants to use me in the playoffs, that’s the biggest thing for me.”