BRADENTON, FL -- FC Cincinnati's return to the pitch in preseason play saw the USL club draw 1-1 with New England Revolution in a friendly played at IMG Academy Stadium on warm Tuesday afternoon in Florida.
Returning to Bradenton for the third straight preseason, the Orange & Blue once again faced competition from a Major League Soccer club in preparations for the upcoming USL season, though this time against a New England side they have yet to face in any competition.
The first preseason match for Coach Alan Koch's charges, the friendly fixture was actually the third for Brad Friedel's Revolution side after knocking back MLS' New York Red Bulls 4-3 and losing 1-0 to Sweden's Malmö in the week prior to today's meeting.
Koch, who mentioned pre-game that this first match would be an exercise in getting to "know each other", and his team selections in each half were a reflection of that. A completely different eleven stepped onto the pitch in each half as the coaching staff had a chance to evaluate an FCC side that was almost completely overhauled in the offseason.
Unsurprisingly, the team once again found themselves up to the task and then some against the MLS opposition.
The Revolution did manage to work a few early good looks, but FCC starting goalkeeper Evan Newton did well to hold them at bay making great saves to deny Penilla in the 2nd minute and Bunbury in the 23rd. The Orange & Blue countered with chances of their own via Lance Laing and Emmanuel Ledesma.
But the breakthrough came for FCC in the 37th minute when some excellent technical play from Ledesma saw him slip past his defender in the box before laying off for CorbenBone. Bone -- who also scored a draw-earning goal in the club's first-ever preseason match on the same pitch back in February of 2016 -- coolly slotted home the pass from the right side of the box to make it 1-0 to the Orange & Blue.
The scoreline would hold through the end of the half.
A bevy of second-half substitutions from Koch saw an entirely new squad take on a clearly motivated Revolution side at the start of the second half.
It didn't take long before we found ourselves back on level ground. After seeing Penilla get down the right-hand side, New England defender Brandon Bye skipped around his man before slotting home past Mark Village to make it 1-1.
After recomposing themselves after conceding, a tightened up FC Cincinnati defense did well to hold the Revolution while still creating chances. Both sides went close several more times after the tying goal, but neither was ultimately able to break each other down.
New England did see midfielder Zachary Herivaux sent off in the 73rd minute for a tough challenge of FCC defender Matt Bahner, and a few cards were exchanged in the closing minutes of the game.
FC Cincinnati will be back in preseason action this Saturday when USL Eastern Conference foes Tampa Bay Rowdies leave their nearby confines for a 3:30pm kickoff at IMG Academy. Details on streaming availability will be shared on FC Cincinnati's social channels as soon as they are available.
First Half Line Ups:
FCC: Bone (1 G), De Wit, Halfhill, Hoyte, König, Laing, Lasso, Ledesma (1 A), Newton, Smith, Walker
NER: Cropper, Somi, Dielna, Samayoa, Farrell, Caldwell, Rowe, Penilla, Fagundez, Femi, Bunbury
Second Half Line Ups:
FCC: Albadawi, Bahner, Barrett, Cicerone, Haber, Keinan, Seymore, Trialist #1, Trialist #2, Village, Welshman
NER: Cropper, Tierney, Dielna, Samayoa, Bye, Kraft, Herivaux (RC), Angking, Fagundez, Penilla (1A), Wright