CINCINNATI, OH – For the third time this season, FC Cincinnati (5-1-2) took to the pitch at Nippert Stadium, this time squaring off with Atlanta United 2. The Orange and Blue made Atlanta victims of their recent surge in attacking flair in a 4-2 victory and extended the club's winning streak to three games.
With its first home win of 2018, FCC jumped into first place in the USL Eastern Conference standings.
“Nine points from nine points this week,” said FCC Head Coach Alan Koch postgame, “I don’t really think we need to say much else, to be honest. Very, very special week; this is not the end, this is the beginning. It’s a platform to set [us] up for the rest of the season.”
While the goal tally ended high, FCC and Atlanta played scoreless soccer for the first 25 minutes. It wasn't until midfielder Kenney Walker found a gap in the back line of Atlanta’s defense as he found Emmanuel Ledesma who did well to avoid the offside flag. The Argentine attacker then patiently picked out Danni König with a square ball across the box for a wide-open tap-in from close range to give us an early lead.
It wouldn't be long until the Orange & Blue struck again.
Just two minutes later, defender Blake Smith again beat the Atlanta a defense-splitting pass again to a streaking Ledesma. With only Atlanta keeper Caraux in front of him, he calmly rounded the keeper into the bottom corner to double the FCC lead.
Next was Atlanta's turn to quickly respond.
Following a caution shown to Cincinnati captain Dekel Keinan in the 31st minute just outside our own box, Atlanta's Jon Gallagher pounced on a loose ball from the ensuing free kick and poked it home to cut the FCC lead in half at 2-1.
Just eight minutes later, midfielder Corben Bone restored the two-goal advantage yet again in the 39th minute. Atlanta failed to clear a Kenney Walker effort, with effort falling right to Bone. From the top of the box, Bone pushed a right-footed shot into the center of the net. The goal was the midfielder's third in three matches and sees him top his previous two season's output.
But again, it wouldn't be long until Atlanta struck back.
For the second time, ATLUTD2 closed the gap to one goal, this time in the 41st minute as Laurent Kissiedou collected at the top of the box and blasted it past Spencer Richey into the top right corner rounding out an entertaining if chaotic half of action.
The second half resumed, FC Cincinnati immediately jumped out of the blocks.
Capitalizing on a poor pass in the 46th minute from by Caraux, Emmanuel Ledesma intercepted and quickly whipped it back on goal. The goal would be the second of the night for the Argentine, added to his assist on our first, and for a third time restored FCC's lead to two -- and would also prove the final strike of the evening.
FCC recorded six shots on target over the course of the match and its four goals set a new season-high for a match attended by 22,532 despite a rainy evening at Nippert Stadium.
FCC hits the road again to face Charlotte Independence next Saturday, May 12th with the action scheduled to kick off at 7:30pm. The Orange & Blue will then return to Cincinnati for midweek action in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, May 16th for a 7pm kickoff against the winners of the Round 1 matchup at Gettler Stadium between Detroit City FC (NPSL) and Michigan Busk (PDL). A small amount of tickets for the match remain available by calling 513-977-KICK or visiting fccincinnati.com/tickets.
FCC: 26th – Danni König (Emmanuel Ledesma, Kenney Walker)
FCC: 28th – Emmanuel Ledesma (Blake Smith)
ATL: 31st – Jon Gallagher (AJ Cochran)
FCC: 39th – Corben Bone (unassisted)
ATL: 41st – Laurent Kissiedou
FCC: 48th - Emmanuel Ledesma (unassisted)
FCC:Spencer Richey, Forrest Lasso, Justin Hoyte, Dekel Keinan, Blake Smith, Kenney Walker, Corben Bone, Richie Ryan, Danni König, Jimmy McLaughlin, Emmanuel Ledesma
ATL: Nicolas Caraux, Shawn Nicklaw, A.J. Cochran, Kendall Edwards, Mikey Ambrose, Christopher Goslin, Laurent Kissiedou, Oliver Shannon, Jack Metcalf, Jon Gallagher, Andrew Carleton