FC Cincinnati made the two-hour trek west on Interstate 74 to meet Indy Eleven for the first time in USL play and secured a 1-0 win in front of 17,543 in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Orange and Blue (2-0-0) remains unbeaten through two regular season matches and earned three more points with the win. It was the first time since July 2016 that FCC recorded back-to-back wins on the road in USL action.
“Fantastic result, great for our team to come on the road and play against a very good team in Indy and play in front of a great crowd tonight,” FCC Head Coach Alan Koch said. “We could feel their energy the second we came back out for the warm-up and we could feel all the fans’ energy the entire night, which was awesome.”
Forward Emery Welshman, playing his first season with FCC, netted the only tally for either side – his first goal in Orange and Blue – with a header in the 26th minute from inside the box. Emmanuel Ledesma set Welshman up for the try on a cross from the far right side of the pitch. Welshman snuck his score past by the outstretched mitts of Eleven keeper Owain Fon Williams into the left part of the goal.
From that point forward, FCC goalkeeper Evan Newton, who earned his second start in as many chances, played the part in helping the Orange and Blue maintain their one-goal advantage and keep the Eleven scoreless for the balance of the match.
With the board reading all zeros in the 17th minute, Newton got some assistance when Indy defender Tyler Pasher crossed one into forward Jack McInerney for a header that hit the right goalpost.
Eleven again looked to knot things up when midfielder Matt Watson tried for an equalizer on a shot from outside the box in the 28th minute. Newton dove to his right to capture his first save of the match.
In the 39th minute, Newton committed a foul inside his own box in defense of the Eleven attack. The foul gave Indy an opportunity to tie with a penalty kick taken by McInerney. However, Newton earned his second save on a diving stop to his left in response to McInerney’s attempt to score into the right side of the net.
Newton rode the momentum of his stellar defense of the net into the second half. Indy forward Eugene Starikov took a left-footed shot from outside the box in the 56th minute that was swallowed up by Newton.
Crunch time approached and in the 81st minute, Newton again made his presence felt when he soared high to deflect a try by Indy forward Sooney Saad off a free kick. Saad’s attempt was on target until Newton deflected it over the top goalpost.
In the 89th minute, Newton put his stamp on the match with his fifth save on another try by Saad from about 25 yards out. Saturday marked the second clean sheet of the young season for Newton, with help coming via strong defense on the FCC back line.
The Orange and Blue were forced to battle majority of the night without veteran midfielder Kenney Walker. Walker was taken to the ground by an Indy defender in the fifth minute of action and remained on the turf momentarily. He continued to play through the pain until exiting the match in the 16th minute. Koch called on Will Seymore to fill the void left by Walker at 18’.
FCC will return to Nippert Stadium for its 2018 USL home opener when they welcome Louisville City FC for a 7:00pm kickoff next Saturday, April 7.
FCC: 26th – Emery Welshman (Emmanuel Ledesma)
FCC: Evan Newton, Corben Bone, Justin Hoyte, Dekel Keinan, Lance Laing, Forrest Lasso, Emmanuel Ledesma, Richie Ryan, Blake Smith, Kenney Walker, Emery Welshman
IND: Owain Fon Williams, Tyler Pasher, Reiner Ferreira, Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette, Zach Steinberger, Nico Matern, Matt Watson, Ben Speas, Eugene Starikov, Jack McInerney