Ledesma, Bone score to extend Cincinnati’s club-record unbeaten streak to 13 matches
CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati defeated the Charleston Battery, 3-0, in front of a crowd of 27,142 at Nippert Stadium on Saturday evening.
Cincinnati (15-3-6, 51 pts.) not only extended its club-record unbeaten run to 13 games (9-0-4), but also broke its own USL record for single-season attendance in tonight’s match, as 352,709 have come through the Nippert Stadium gates already this season. The club broke last season’s total of 339,181, still with three home matches remaining.
Cincinnati’s Emmanuel Ledesma and Corben Bone tallied for the Orange and Blue, while a Skylar Thomas own goal gave Cincinnati its third goal on the evening in second-half stoppage time.
With the win, Cincinnati claimed its first ever home victory over Charleston (11-4-10, 43 pts.), bringing the overall regular-season series record to 2-2-2, including an unbeaten 1-0-2 mark at Nippert Stadium.
In just the 12th minute of action, USL MVP frontrunner Ledesma opened the scoring for Cincinnati for the second match in a row. After what seemed like a turnover forced by Charleston in FCC’s attacking third, Ledesma stepped in front of a trio of Battery defenders, gained possession, and ripped a left-footed looping shot from 19 yards out over outstretched Charleston keeper Joe Kuzminsky, striking the underside of the crossbar to give the Orange and Blue the early lead.
In first half stoppage time, Bone added to the lead when he slotted home a Nazmi Albadawi square pass after the duo - with Emery Welshman, who returned from a three-game suspension - broke into the attacking third on a counter.
Spencer Richey collected his third shutout of the season - and his second in as many matches - making one save on the night. Overall, it was FCC’s 11th shutout of the campaign.
FC Cincinnati will embark on a two-match road trip beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 22, when the club travels to play the Atlanta United 2 at Coolray Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The match will be televised on CW Cincinnati 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 3, Charleston Battery 0
Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, August 18, 2018
CIN -- Emmanuel Ledesma (unassisted) 21’
CIN -- Corben Bone (Nazmi Albadawi) 45’+1’’
CIN -- Own Goal (Skylar Thomas) 90’+5’
FC Cincinnati: Spencer Richey, Blake Smith, Forrest Lasso, Paddy Barrett ©, Justin Hoyte, Fatai Alashe (Michael Lahoud 62’), Corben Bone, Kenney Walker, Nazmi Albadawi, Emmanuel Ledesma, Emery Welshman (Fanendo Adi 73’)
Bench: Evan Newton, Matt Bahner, Dekel Keinan, Jimmy McLaughlin, Russell Cicerone
STATS: Shots 8, Shots on goal 6, Fouls 7, Offsides 2, Corner kicks 5, Saves 1, Possession 54.0%
Charleston Battery: Joe Kuzminsky, Neveal Hackshaw, Taylor Mueller ©, Skylar Thomas, Vincenzo Candela (Ian Svantesson 75’), Tah Anunga, Jarad van Schaik, O’Brian Woodbine (Nicholas Rittmeyer 13’), Kotaro Higashi (Patrick Okonkwo 64’), Gordon Wild, Ataulla Guerra
Bench: Odisnel Cooper, Leland Archer, Victor Mansaray, Angelo Kelly-Rosales
STATS: Shots 6, Shots on goal 1, Fouls 14, Offsides 2, Corner kicks 6, Saves 4, Possession 46.0%
CIN -- Emmanuel Ledesma (caution) 13’
CHS -- Tah Anunga (caution) 30’
CIN -- Paddy Barrett (caution) 53’
CHS -- Ian Svantesson (caution) 87’
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Weather: 80 degrees and cloudy
Man of the Match: Emmanuel Ledesma
HOW IT HAPPENED
21’ | FCC GOAL - As Cincinnati progressed in the attack into Charleston’s final third, the Battery seemingly forced a turnover. However, Emmanuel Ledesma stepped into a trio of defenders to steal the ball, evaded heavy pressure from one defender and ripped a left-footed looping shot from 19 yards up and over Battery goalie Joe Kuzminsky that kicked off the crossbar on the far side and in for a 1-0 FCC lead
35’ | Charleston’s Tah Anunga played a ball from the middle third to Gordon Wild, whose shot from nearly 30 yards out was corralled by Spencer Richey,
45’ | Ataulla Guerra secured a loose ball in the attacking third and fired a shot from 30 yards out, which struck the crossbar and went out of play
45’+1’’ | FCC GOAL - After Nazmi Albadawi forced a turnover in the middle third of the pitch, Corben Bone played a through ball ahead to Albadawi, who then layed off a pass to the trailing Bone on his right as Emery Welshman ran over the ball on a dummy move. Bone fired a right-footed shot over the left shoulder of Kuzminsky to extend FC Cincinnati’s lead
58’ | Welshman gathered a loose ball in the middle third of the pitch and played a ball to Albadawi who recorded a shot on net that was steered aside to give FC Cincinnati a corner
67’ | Guerra played a through ball to Patrick Okwonko near the top of FC Cincinnati’s six-yard box. Following a long first touch Okwonko, Forrest Lasso had well-timed slide tackle to put the ball over the endline and concede the corner
90’+’5 | After receiving a pass at the top of the 18-yard box, Fanendo Adi played a ball to Albadawi just to the right of the six-yard box. Albadawi sent in a low cross back in, intended for Adi, but the ball was steered into the net from Charleston’s Skylar Thomas for an own goal before Adi could get to the intended cross.
Tonight’s match marked the first time FC Cincinnati has claimed a home victory over the Charleston Battery in the club’s three-year history … FCC’s all-time record against Charleston improves to 2-2-2, including an unbeaten 1-0-2 mark at Nippert Stadium
FC Cincinnati set the USL single-season attendance record after drawing 27,142 in tonight’s contest, bringing the season’s total to 352,709 … the Orange and Blue surpassed last season’s mark of 339,181 with three home matches still remaining
The Orange and Blue extended the club-record unbeaten streak to 13 matches … Cincinnati is 9-0-4 in that stretch, including 5-0-1 during the now completed six-match USL homestand
FC Cincinnati secured the club’s fourth series sweep of the 2018 USL regular season … FCC has posted a 2-0-0 mark against Charleston, New York, North Carolina, and Ottawa in each of those completed series
Fatai Alashe made his FC Cincinnati debut in tonight’s contest … the former San Jose Earthquake (MLS) started and played 62 minutes for the Orange and Blue
Paddy Barrett wore the captain’s armband for a second consecutive match for the first time this season … the Irishman was named to USL’s Team of the Week last week for his standout performance against Penn FC on Aug. 12
Emery Welshman returned to the starting lineup after missing the last three contests due to suspension … Welshman played 73 minutes before being replaced by Fanendo Adi
Corben Bone’s goal in first-half stoppage time was his fourth goal of the season and his first since May 5 - a span of 16 USL games … his three previous goals all came in the three games between April 29 and May 5 … Bone becomes the second player for FC Cincinnati this season to record at least four goals and four assists, joining Emmanuel Ledesma, who has tallied 11 times and has added 10 helpers
Nazmi Albadawi’s assist on Bone’s first-half goal was his third of the season … it was also his second assist in the last three games
Spencer Richey made one save en route to his third shutout of the season and second consecutive clean sheet … FC Cincinnati goalkeepers have recorded 11 shutouts on the season, tied for fourth among all USL clubs
Emmanuel Ledesma will miss FC Cincinnati’s match against Atlanta United 2 on Wednesday, Aug. 22 due to yellow card accumulation … this will he his second suspension of the season after missing the June 13 match against Bethlehem Steel FC with his first yellow-card suspension after five cautions
Tonight marked the 15th time in USL play this season that Cincinnati tallied at least two goals, but the first time since July 21 … it is the seventh time the Orange and Blue have tallied at least three goals, and the first time since June 27
FC Cincinnati moved closer to ensuring both a playoff berth as well as a home playoff match … with FCC’s win and draws by both Ottawa (playoff spot) and Indy (home berth), FC Cincinnati is now a combined 12 points away from clinching a playoff spot (compared to Ottawa’s point total) and a combined 19 points away from clinching a home playoff match (compared to Indy’s point total)
FCC Head Coach Alan Koch
Good performance. It’s nice to be back, to be honest. I don’t think we were very happy with how we performed in the last few games even though we got positive results. I think the guys were absolute class from the start until the end. I think we managed the game very, very well and it’s a thoroughly deserved three points against a very, very good team tonight.
On getting a good start to the game …
If you have a good first 45 minutes, you set yourself up for success in the second 45 minutes. Basically if you can come out of the gates and play in a positive manner and impose yourself on the opposition and hopefully capitalize on some chances, you’ll give yourself a positive start. But I said on TV at halftime, this game is very interesting. We played very, very well in the first 45 minutes, but if (Ataulla) Guerra’s shot goes in with a few minutes before halftime, it’s probably 1-1 when we go in at halftime. You’ve got to manage those moments. Thankfully we didn’t give them that much tonight and we thoroughly deserved three points.
On Fatai Alashe’s FCC debut …
Great. Quality player. I’ve known he’s a quality player for a long time. It’s not easy coming in and playing your first game. Obviously, he had played as much as he would have liked before coming here, so we’ve had to manage getting him back and obviously find the right moment for him to play. He ran into a little bit of a wall at the end, which is expected, but hopefully we can continue giving him opportunities and he took it tonight and expect him to take it every time.
On getting 16-of-18 points at home in the six-game homestand …
Out of the six games, I wanted to get four wins. That would get us 12 points. We have how many? (16 out of 18) … so we’ll take 16. We obviously we try whenever we can to put a plan in place and execute and get three points in every game. That’s unrealistic. We’re playing against good teams. We’re happy with three points tonight, we know we have two huge games ahead of us on the road to finish out this week.
If tonight felt like a playoff game, playing the No. 2 team in the East …
We’ve played against good teams all season long. I know the standings show we’re in first and Charleston, I don’t know if they’re still in third, so they’re up there. We’ve beaten other teams that are quality teams this season. I’ve said all along. Indy is a fantastic team and we went to their place and we’ve beaten them twice. And we’ve lost a few games. It’s inevitable because there are good teams in this league. So I didn’t read too much into this and we played tonight against a good team and got ourselves three points and we’ll move on to the next game.
FCC Midfielder Corben Bone
On his goal …
I think it started from some quick defending. When you win the ball that high, it turns into offense pretty quick. So, a little counter attack and a couple of … Emery laid it off to me and they started making runs. I found Naz and he found me again – and Emery with the great dummy, which opens the space up for me – thankfully I found the back of the net. Testament to those guys. They worked hard all night, putting pressure on those backs and it paid off.
His thoughts on the first half …
I think it was a pretty fast-paced game especially in the first half. When it comes down to those chances, if you take them, it’s better for us.
His opinion of getting back to FCC football …
Felt good. Felt like there was a rhythm to the game and any time your team can get into a rhythm and you’re in sync and on the same page, it’s always easier to play. You keep it simple. You find yourself in good places and in that moment, if you have your chances, you give yourself a chance to win the game. And tonight we found ourselves in good places. We played confident. We found a rhythm. We scored some good goals.
On the team’s undefeated summer home stand …
Testament to all the players. The quality. And the coaches. It’s been a great run. But after a win, you celebrate that night and it’s on to the next one. We’re looking forward to another two games this week.
FCC Midfielder Fatai Alashe
On playing in front of the FCC crowd …
I thought it was pretty fun. It obviously helps when you have a performance like this and get a result. But I thought they helped us and pushed us through the game. It was obviously we got tired at the end – which is normal – but if you can play in front of a crowd like this, it’s easy to find that energy.
His opinion of his FCC debut …
I thought it was alright. There are definitely some things I can get in and work on, but it’s the first game I’ve played in a while so it’s definitely something to build on. It’s a pretty good start so far. But most importantly, I have to work on my fitness, but that comes in time.
On leading the game in fouls won tonight …
That’s part of the game. It’s something you get used to. I think it’s a testament to the way we were playing: trying to keep the ball. When you’re on the ball as much as we are, it’s definitely going to lead to getting fouled more often.
On fitting in on the field tonight …
I thought it was great. I think we did a good job communicating together tonight, getting each other through the game. I thought for the most part, we were able to bounce ideas off each other and what each guy was seeing throughout the game and I thought it showed in the performance.