Photo courtesy of Wilmington Hammerheads
WILMINGTON, NC --- Sean Okoli scored in his third straight game and Andrew Wiedeman logged his seventh goal of the year to lead FC Cincinnati a 2-0 win over Wilmington Hammerheads Sun. afternoon at Legion Stadium. The jockeying for third place continued as FCC reclaims third place with 49 points following Charlotte Independence’s (48 pts.) decisive 4-0 win yesterday against Pittsburgh Riverhounds that put them ahead of FCC until today’s victory by the Orange and Blue.
Okoli netted his 15th goal of the season in the 29th minute to move into a tie for first with LA Galaxy II’s Jack McBean. Jimmy McLaughlin carried the ball down the right sideline and put a dangerous ball into Hammerhead territory. Goalie John Smits dove and managed to get a glove on the ball but Okoli was in prime position to pick up the rebound and easily slid the ball home to put FCC on the scoreboard.
Wiedeman added a goal in the 63rd minute. Eric Stevenson volleyed a ball up front to Wiedeman, who out-dueled Matt Barnes-Homer for the 50-50 ball. Wiedeman, who remained under pressure and pushed the ball towards the goal, saw Smits come out to break up the play but the sliding goalie was unable to get a glove on the ball and Wiedeman capitalized by sending it into the back of the empty net for a 2-0 lead.
The offensive effort didn’t overwhelm either side in the first half but FCC threatened the Hammerhead goal more than a few times.
Tyler Polak’s corner kick in the ninth minute led to a Harrison Delbridge header, but the Australian’s attempt popped directly into the hands of Smits.
Kyle Parker pushed forward for Wilmington in the 19th minute to meet a pass just outside of the six-yard box but Mitch Hildebrandt met Parker almost instantly and blocked the ball out of harm’s way.
Okoli made his presence known in the 23rd and 28th minutes. The forward directed a header towards the net and although Smits made the save, the ball squirted through his hands for an FCC corner. Five minutes later, Okoli received a screen from a charging Wiedeman and took a shot from 25 yards out but Smits was up to the task again as the Orange and Blue earned another corner.
Michael Binns ran seemingly unchecked down the middle of the field in the 59th minute until Pat McMahon caught up to the speedy midfielder. McMahon was charged with the yellow card after barreling into Binns but the Hammerheads were unable to take advantage of the ensuing free kick as FCC cleared away a pair of services into the box.
Wiedeman’s goal seemed to galvanize Wilmington, who forced the action for latter part of the second half. The Hammerheads earned a series of corners in that period, posting a 6-1 advantage in the period, but FCC’s defense held firm.
In the final minutes of stoppage time, FCC escaped what looked to be a certain goal after Jeff Michaud found himself with the ball in a 1-on-1 situation. He avoided goalkeeper Dallas Jaye, who came out for the challenge, but Michaud’s left-footed attempt hit the goal post and stayed out to frustrate the Wilmington side. Michaud had another attempt at cutting the deficit in half on a corner kick but the midfielder’s effort went high.
Mitch Hildebrandt did not register a save in the win and handed off goalkeeping duties to Jaye in the 78th minute of action.
FCC resumes USL action on the road at Pittsburgh Riverhounds this Wed., (Sept. 14) at 7:00 p.m.