FC Cincinnati defeated Nashville SC 3-2 in a Preseason game at Walter Campbell Sports Park on Tuesday afternoon. Isaac Atanga and Calvin Harris each notched a goal and an assist, then academy product Harrison Robledo curled home the winner from outside the box in the 100’ of a 120’ affair.
It was Nashville that opened the scoring just three minutes into the proceedings, but FC Cincinnati responded just 100 seconds later with a goal of their own. Calvin Harris darted after a through ball, maneuvering behind the defense and through on goal. He centered a pass across the face of goal, finding Isaac Atanga who finished into the gaping net from close range.
It would go into halftime 1-1, and the second half saw a full lineup change for Nashville SC, with Nick Hagglund replacing Allan Cruz for the Orange and Blue. Under 2 minutes into the second frame, Atanga and Harris connected again. This time, it was Atanga playing a ball across the top of the box that found Harris, who fired home a low shot for the lead in the 47’.
Nashville quickly answered this time, scoring in the 50’ off the rebound from a free kick.
The match stayed 2-2 until after 90’, when Brandon Vazquez went charging towards goal. He laid off a pass to Robledo, who set his feet and curled a shot from outside the box past the keeper. FC Cincinnati led 3-2 after 100’, and would hold on to take its third victory from four matches this preseason.
Lineup by half
Isaac Atanga, Zico Bailey, Allan Cruz, Calvin Harris, Ashton Kamdem, Ben Mines, Ian Murphy, Quimi Ordonez, Alvas Powell, Gustavo Vallecilla, Kenneth Vermeer (C) First half substitutes:
IN: Stiven Jimenez
OUT: Gustavo Vallecilla
IN: Nick Hagglund
OUT: Allan Cruz
Luciano Acosta, Tyler Blackett, Roman Celentano, Nick Hagglund (C), Ray Gaddis, Yuya Kubo, Nick Markanich, Ronald Matarrita, Haris Medunjanin, Harrison Robledo, Brandon Vazquez
FC Cincinnati Head Coach Pat Noonan
His thoughts on today’s 3-2 victory over Nashville SC
"I thought you could see the fatigue as we as we push minutes for certain guys, but that's where the game becomes very challenging in how we manage that. I thought from probably about the 60 to 75th minute with our first group, you can see when fatigue set in, you know, how we think the game our decision making, you know, it was off, and it costs us in ways where we had to run. Same at the very end, your last 15 minutes how we manage a little bit of wind, and just being a little bit tired. So, that part was, I would say the biggest talking point and what we can improve on, but first half after 20 or so minutes of figuring out how to deal with our front three and pressing against their three center backs and pushing our midfielders a little bit higher up and trying to cut off passing lanes to the to the wing backs. Then we started to create some turnovers in some good spots, and it led to some good moments going forward. But I was really pleased with the reaction of that first group after 20-25 minutes to find their way into the game and after conceding early getting a goal before halftime, you know those things are important."
Did you like the matchups today? What did you think of the combination play of Calvin Harris and Isaac Atanga?
"Well, they created two goals and two very good goals as far as unselfish play, instead of maybe forcing a shot, picking their head up, and finding the right pass in front of goal. I was very pleased with how they finished those plays off there's certainly a still a lot that those two and we can improve on in how we're more involved in the game on a more consistent basis."
How does Harrison Robledo continue to impress you throughout the Preseason?
"It was nice to see him finish off a play. You know that was the work of Brandon [Vazquez] to win the ball back after he lost it. And it put Harrison in a spot to finish a play, certainly a good finish. I think defensively there were some things Harrison could have done to get better pressure to the ball and make play more predictable. We were a little late on some of the releases. So, that's something we'll talk about, but he continues to find ways to impact the game."
And would you like to see a better response after scoring goals or do you think that is part of it being Preseason?
"Yeah, it's happened a couple times now where we need to figure out ways to to ride the momentum of a goal and not change the way we play for teams now putting us under pressure and ultimately scoring goals. So, that we can improve in."
FC Cincinnati return to Preseason action Friday, Feb. 18 against Orlando City SC in Orlando. It will be the final tune-up for the Orange and Blue before the season opener on Saturday, Feb. 26 at Austin FC.
FC Cincinnati's 2022 schedule can be viewed HERE. 2022's home schedule begins at TQL Stadium when the club hosts D.C. United in the home opener on March 5. Fans can get the best tickets at the best price to the best matches all season long, including the home opener, by purchasing season tickets at fccincinnati.com/tickets or by calling 513-977-KICK, that’s 513-977-5425.
Fans can also purchase half-season ticket packages, starting at just $170, and single match tickets to any of FC Cincinnati’s 17 home games are available now.
FC Cincinnati begin their fourth season of MLS competition in 2022, and their second playing at TQL Stadium. 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. Additionally, fans are encouraged to download the team’s official mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for instant access to mobile tickets, team content and match notifications.