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Okoli’s Finish Gives Cincinnati Win in Pittsburgh

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 09/24/16, 8:58PM EDT

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FCC forward’s 16th goal of the season also earns lead in USL Golden Boot race


Photo courtesy Terry O'Neil / Pittsburgh Riverhounds

PITTSBURGH – Sean Okoli’s 16th goal of the season gave FC Cincinnati a 1-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium, as the standout forward moved into sole possession of the league-lead in goals this season.  Cincinnati had the first good chance as Okoli shot wide in the fourth minute, while Kevin Kerr had a shot blocked for the Riverhounds midway through the first half. FCC took the lead from the penalty spot just past the half-hour mark, however, as Okoli notched his 16th goal of the season after a Riverhounds handball in their penalty area. Cincinnati threatened to double its lead in the 65th minute as Riverhounds goalkeeper Zack Steffen made a diving stop to deny Andrew Weideman, while Pittsburgh almost leveled the score off a free kick with 16 minutes to go as Sergio Campbell’s header went just over. Cincinnati held firm under pressure late on, however, to move toward the postseason with positive momentum.

Scoring: 
31’ – CIN – Sean Okoli (PK)

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. There was a sense of circumspection from FC Cincinnati in Saturday’s game as they looked to get through their final regular season game in good shape for next Sunday’s home playoff game, and that reflected somewhat in their performance, which was a solid, safe outing. Coach John Harkes got the chance to rotate in players in the second half to get everyone that needed it action as FCC looked to be ready for the club’s first postseason.

  • 2. Sean Okoli’s 16th goal of the season came from the penalty spot, but while it might not have matched some of his previous tallies this season, the shot to the left corner of the net might have been the one that claimed the 2016 USL Golden Boot. The former MLS striker has been excellent throughout the season for Cincinnati after arriving with the club in late February, and now sits alone at the top of the goal-scoring chart after breaking the tie with the LA Galaxy II’s Jack McBean.

  • 3. Saturday night brought down the curtain on the professional career of Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap, who was honored by the club in a halftime ceremony. Having made more than 100 appearances for Pittsburgh in his two stints with the club, Gilstrap was a solid performer for the club, but his impact will be felt within the Riverhounds organization for years to come thanks to his work in founding and building the club’s Goalkeeper Academy, of which he remains the program director.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match

Sean Okoli, FC Cincinnati – Okoli scored the only goal of the game to cap an excellent regular season which will put him in line for not only the USL Golden Boot, but likely other accolades as well.

Upcoming Games:

Pittsburgh Riverhounds – End of Season

FC Cincinnati – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, vs. No. 6 Charleston Battery - Sunday, Oct. 2, 4 p.m. ET – Nippert Stadium

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