Photo courtesy of Orlando City B
MELBOURNE, Fla. — Despite a delay of over two hours, FC Cincinnati (4-2-1) weathered the storm to collect a 3-1 win against Orlando City B (2-5-1) on a rainy Wednesday night at the Titan Soccer Complex.
The kick-off, originally scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., was held up due to lightning and both teams agreed to start the action at 9:50 p.m. without an extended warm-up.
The rain steadily fell hampering both sides in their ability to create chances early on. In the 35th minute, Pat McMahon created an opportunity by intercepting an errant pass by OCB. McMahon found Corben Bone, who took a shot from outside the box, but saw it sail high. Sean Okoli then pulled away from an OCB defender a minute later and also got off a solid shot that would miss the mark.
FCC earned a corner kick as the clock neared the final minute in the first half but Tyler Polak was unable to connect and shortly after OCB cleared the ball, the teams headed into their locker rooms level at 0-0.
OCB broke through in the 52nd minute as Hadji Barry worked his way into the box and was fouled to earn a penalty kick. Bryan Rochez, taking his second attempt of the year, put the shot away in the lower right corner to put the home team on the board, 1-0.
As they have done all year when trailing, FCC responded by accelerating their offense and was rewarded with the equalizer in the 57th minute. After an OCB foul, Bone picked up his third assist after finding Kenney Walker, who launched a kick from distance to beat Mark Ridgers for his first goal of the year.
FCC continued to pressure as Andrew Wiedeman launched a shot on goal but missed putting away the go-ahead tally in the 66th minute as his shot flew just over the top of the crossbar.
In the 76th minute, OCB committed a costly turnover. Following a throw-in, Tyler Turner sent the ball back into OCB territory and Okoli intercepted the pass and touched the ball past Ridgers towards the goal before being clipped in the box. With the red card, Ridgers gave way to the OCB bench but Okoli, taking the penalty kick, went over the top of the diving Jake Fenlason to put FCC ahead 2-1.
With the departure of Rochez, FCC played with a man advantage for the final 12 minutes of the match. OCB managed push their way into the FCC territory with Turner serving a ball to Johnny Mendoza, who cracked an attempt from inside the box but bounced the dangerous shot off the cross-bar.
In the waning minutes of the game, FCC’s depth closed the door on Orlando City B. Well into stoppage time, Omar Cummings, inserted into the contest in the 63rd minute delivered a quick pass to an oncoming Eric Stevenson, who found the back of the net for the final goal seconds before the game would end.
Stevenson, a two-time All-MAC first-team choice from the University of Akron, notched his first goal of the year with Cummings earning his first assist of the season. Mitch Hildebrandt had one save in the win.
The Orange and Blue will continue on the road against Harrisburg City Islanders Saturday at 7:00 p.m.