Club advances to next round in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup to face the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies.
CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati hosted the prestigious Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in club history and came away with a 2-1 victory at Nippert Stadium. Omar Cummings scored a penalty kick and Jimmy McLaughlin added another goal from the bench as FCC defeated Indy Eleven to advance on to the third round of the tournament and will play June 1st against the Tampa Bay Rowdies from the North American Soccer League. The match will be played in Florida with a time yet to be determined.
In front of a crowd of 8,668, FCC continued to excite as they continued their impressive start in their inaugural season.
“Happy to get the result and to advance on, certainly in this competition,” said FCC head coach John Harkes. “The unique part is that it’s an equal opportunity for everybody; amateur and pro status. When you get teams that we face at this level, you know that you are always going to have a hard game. We reflect back on some lessons learned here and many opportunities that we created. Overall, some great individual performances and some other things we need to continue work on as a young club.”
FCC dominated the possession in the early stages of the game and collected a few opportunities through Cummings. In the thirty-sixth minute FCC’s continued offensive attack resulted in a penalty kick after a hand ball was called. The veteran Cummings took the penalty and scored from the spot to put FCC up 1-0, his shot going down the middle to fool the diving Indy Eleven goalkeeper Cody Schweitzer.
“It feels great,” said Cummings about scoring the penalty kick. “Great atmosphere and just wanted to get it started.”
It only took three minutes before Indy Eleven had pulled one back to even the score at one. It was Vincent Mitchell collecting a through ball from Cristian Soto on a give-and-go play inside of the eighteen yard box. Mitchell edged out the FCC defense and slotted the ball past goalkeeper Dallas Jaye to tie the score 1-1 to go into the half.
The second half saw a much more balanced match, with Indy Eleven putting on offensive pressure early and nearly going ahead with Mitchell attempting a back heel shot inside the six, but he wasn’t able to get enough on it to put it on frame and the ball went wide.
In the fifty-seventh minute FCC made their first substitution on the night and Harkes chose McLaughlin and it only took the midfielder four minutes before he put FCC ahead. Luke Spencer served a ball in from the left wing and Cummings rose to meet it, heading the ball towards goal. Schweitzer made a save on the header, but the ball spilled out to an opportunistic McLaughlin who drove the ball into the corner of the goal to give FCC the lead back at 2-1.
“I think I have always been taught to never give up on the play,” said McLaughlin. “I put myself in a decent spot that if there was a rebound or something to put the ball away.”
It was McLaughlin’s third consecutive game with a goal and extended FCC’s home unbeaten streak to six games in all competitions. FCC held an 18-10 advantage on shots and Jaye, making his first start, recorded four saves between the posts in the win.
FCC will be on the road to take on the Charlotte Independence this Saturday, May 21st. The Orange and Blue defeated Charlotte 2-1 in the club’s inaugural home game earlier this season.