Photo courtesy of FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – In the midst of its most difficult stretch of the regular season, FC Cincinnati rose to the occasion Saturday as it defeated Eastern Conference-leading Louisville City FC 2-0 in front of a crowd of 20,151 at Nippert Stadium. Andrew Wiedeman tallied late in the first half and Sean Okoli headed home a Corben Bone corner kick in the second half to lead the charge. With the two-goal victory, expansion Cincinnati also captured its first piece of hardware to win the River Cities Cup. City FC had earned a 3-2 win on April 16 at Nippert and then the two sides played to a scoreless draw on June 25 at Slugger Field. Louisville saw its 17-game unbeaten streak (11-0-6) – the longest in league play this year – come to a close and the team suffered its first road loss (8-1-2). Cincinnati improves to 11-4-4 (37 points) overall and 7-2-2 at home. Louisville drops to 12-2-6 (42 points) but maintains first in the East as the New York Red Bulls II fell 3-2 to the Charleston Battery on Saturday.
39’ – CIN – Andrew Wiedeman
59’ – CIN – Sean Okoli (Corben Bone)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. After ample chances in the early going for both sides, Cincinnati finally broke through in the 39th minute off of a set piece opportunity. Corben Bone took the free kick from just across midfield with a right-footer as he sought Omar Cummings on the right side of the box. Louisville’s defense got a head on the ball, but it wasn’t cleared well as Andrew Wiedeman, who was initially hanging outside the 18-yard box, rushed in to pounce on the loose ball and fired low to the far left post for a 1-0 advantage. It was Wiedeman’s fourth tally of the season.
2. Cincinnati kept pressuring in the second half and took advantage of another set piece, capitalizing on Bone’s corner kick from the left side. He connected with Cincinnati goal-scoring leader Sean Okoli who headed in the delivery at the right post for a 2-0 lead. It was Okoli’s ninth tally of the season. With a two-goal cushion against a heated rival and Okoli sitting on four cautions this season – one away from serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation – the goal-scoring leader was subbed out by Cincinnati Head Coach John Harkes in the 63rd minute.
3. Louisville hit the frame on two occasions during the second half. Louisville midfielder Magnus Rasmussen, who hasn’t seen a bevy of time as he has worked his way back from hip surgery during the offseason, fired a left-footed shot that clanged off of the left post in the 57th minute. Then fellow second-half sub Mark-Anthony Kaye struck from near the top of the box and hit the crossbar in the 75th minute. Down the stretch, Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt faced his biggest challenge in the 87th minute and made a point-blank stop against Ilija Ilic to maintain the clean sheet.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Corben Bone, FC Cincinnati – Bone had a well-rounded game, notching his fifth assist of the season when he set up Sean Okoli and also beginning the sequence that led to Andrew Wiedeman’s opening goal.
FC Cincinnati vs. Charleston Battery – July 30, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium
Louisville City FC vs. Orlando City B – July 30, 7:30 p.m. ET, Slugger Field