CINCINNATI, OH --- Justin Hoyte scored his first goal for FC Cincinnati in the waning moments of the first half in a 1-1 draw against Charlotte Independence Sat. night in front of 21,115 at Nippert Stadium.
“Sometimes a point can feel like a win, sometimes it can feel like a loss,” said Head Coach Alan Koch. “After our success at Nippert this season, we come here and expect to win. I think we looked good at moments, but individual, little mistakes prevented us from coming out on top.”
Hoyte’s goal in stoppage time pulled the Orange and Blue even to send the teams into the locker rooms deadlocked. Kenney Walker worked the ball to Hoyte, who made the short pass to Corben Bone in the box, and Bone returned the favor with a flick that bounced off Independence midfielder, Jun Marques Davidson. Hoyte stepped in front of Davidson and fired a shot that beat goalie Cody Mizell in the lower right-hand corner.
FCC searched for the equalizer after a counterattack by the Independence in the 19th minute led to an early lead by Charlotte. Midfielder Alex Martinez was fed the ball from Jorge Herrera and carried it to just outside the six on the left side before finishing with a shot into the upper left corner.
Charlotte held the advantage in possession (55.2%-48.2%) in an active first period but FCC was able to create opportunities, firing 11 shots to the Independence’s six.
FCC threatened in the third minute as Jimmy McLaughlin earned a corner and Aodhan Quinn fired the opening salvo with a shot from distance that flew wide.
Charlotte answered with their first set-piece opportunity in the seventh minute. The clearance off the corner kick fell to Alex Martinez, but his shot was stifled by Mitch Hildebrandt. Hildebrandt then had to contend with a pair of attempts from Enzo Martinez in the ninth minute and 10th minutes with the latter leading to an Independence corner kick that would be cleared by FCC.
It was FCC’s turn to pressure and the team nearly had the tying goal in the 27th minute. Kadeem Dacres took advantage of a turnover by Luke Waechter and worked the ball deep into Independence territory. Dacres found Danni König at the top of the six but the striker’s shot was blocked on the goal line by Waechter.
Charlotte forced a turnover at midfield and turned the tables on FCC as Herrera slid the ball to David Estrada, whose shot hit the crossbar in the 31st.
FCC managed to get into the 18-yard box a second time in the 35th minute. Walker had a look at the goal but could not get the ball past the scrum of Charlotte defenders. The midfielder then had a chance seconds later as the beneficiary of an errant Charlotte pass, but turned away after his shot missed the upper right corner.
In the second half, Herrera opened the action for Charlotte with a corner kick in the 51st minute as his service found Waechter, whose header cleared the crossbar.
König was tripped just outside of the box 10 minutes into the second half, setting up Quinn with a free kick on the right side for FCC. Quinn’s left-footed service was deflected towards the Charlotte goal by Waechter, forcing Mizell to make the one-handed save.
Djiby came off the bench for FCC in the 72nd and threatened with a header off of a corner but his shot floated high.
Enzo Martinez was issued his second yellow card in the 90th minute and Charlotte was forced to play a man down. FCC looked to capitalize and Harrison Delbridge leapt to get on the end of a cross from Quinn but was denied by Mizell.
McLaughlin gave FCC one final opportunity in stoppage time, collecting the pass from Djiby but his shot from just outside of the six-yard box was blocked and the whistle would blow seconds later.
FCC returns to action next Wed., June 14 at Nippert Stadium at 7:00 p.m. against Columbus Crew SC in U.S. Open Cup action.
CLT: 18th – Alex Martinez (Jorge Herrera)
FCC: 45th – Justin Hoyte
FCC: Mitch Hildebrandt, Matt Bahner, Austin Berry, Harrison Delbridge, Justin Hoyte, Aodhan Quinn, Corben Bone, Kenney Walker, Jimmy McLaughlin, Kadeem Dacres, Danni Konig
CLT: Cody Mizell, Austin Yearwood, Luke Waechter, Joel Johnson, Henry Kalungi, Callum Ross, Jun Marques Davidson, David Estrada, Alex Martinez, Jorge Herrera, Enzo Martinez