CHARLOTTE, NC --- Kevin Schindler came off the bench to score his first goal and Mitch Hildebrandt stopped a penalty kick in the final seconds of the game as FC Cincinnati claimed the Queen City Cup with a 1-0 win over second-place Charlotte Independence Fri. night at Sportsplex at Matthews. The win stretched FCC’s unbeaten streak to six as the team improved to an 11-9-10 (43 pts.) record.
“We’re happy to come in here tonight and put in a performance that got us the three points,” said Head Coach Alan Koch. “It certainly wasn’t easy by any means. Charlotte’s a very, very good team and you can see through their movement they tried to break us down a few times and are also very solid defensively. A game like tonight was going to come down to moments. We capitalized on a set piece and we are happy that Kevin got his first goal for the club. Also, a huge moment by Mitch, who stepped up to the plate and took care of business on the penalty kick. We’re very happy to get the result and get three huge points.”
Koch brought in Schindler in the 74th minute for Danni Konig and the move proved to be the right one as the forward scored his first goal for FCC a minute later. Kenney Walker initiated the play on the corner kick, finding Djiby in the box, who headed the ball towards the goal and the un-marked Schindler finished off the sequence by swiping the ball past goalkeeper Cody Mizell.
Schindler’s tally nearly came seconds earlier as Corben Bone tracked down a loose ball and slipped it through to Bremen, Germany product, who burst ahead of Alex Martinez, only to have his attempt blocked away by Mizell.
FCC had avoided a loss in the final seconds of action against Saint Louis FC last weekend and had to battle against back-to-back threats by the Independence, including a penalty kick in stoppage time. Bone was called for the foul against Enzo Martinez in the box and Jorge Herrera stepped up to take the penalty kick. However, Hildebrandt dove to his right to parry the ball away as FCC went on to hand Charlotte their third scoreless decision.
The missed penalty attempt was one in a series that frustrated the Independence on the night. In the previous play, Herrera received a pass from David Spies just above the six-yard box only to watch his attempt loop over the crossbar.
The Independence controlled the first half, holding the Orange and Blue to just one shot while peppering the FCC defensive unit with 10. The Independence had an early look in the second minute as Enzo Martinez took the first shot of the match, one that went wide.
David Estrada threatened in the 17th minute from the left flank but Jimmy McLaughlin intervened by sliding in front to block the effort.
In the 22nd minute, it was Enzo Martinez again, but the forward came away empty despite have a one-on-one situation and getting Hildebrandt to commit with the slide tackle. Enzo Martinez avoided Hildebrandt to get an open look at the net but could not capitalize and missed on the right side.
Charlotte earned a final corner in the period and Henry Kalungi got on the end of the service but his header floated directly to Hildebrandt, who registered one of his five saves.
The Independence created an additional 10 chances in the second half with FCC registering five shots in the period.
FCC’s defense factored heavily again in the second period. In the 61st, an FCC corner led to a Charlotte counterattack, but the Orange and Blue were able to break up the play at the top of the box.
Austin Berry had key tackle in the 71st minute to prevent Enzo Martinez from turning to get a shot off and Hildebrandt’s tackle on Herrera in the 73rd deflected the ball enough off its path to keep it out of the net. Charlotte maintained position and got the ball back to Enzo Martinez, who missed the mark by hitting the side of the net.
Hildebrandt logged a save in the 79th minute and handled another Charlotte offensive effort in the 88th. A free kick found Caleb Calvert, who was able to get his foot on the ball and send a high bouncer towards the net, but Hildebrandt positioned himself to grab the ball out of the air and prevent a second effort.
McLaughlin had a rare shot for FCC in the 89th minute, blistering the ball off the crossbar. Kyle Greig, also a second-half substitution, jumped on the rebound but was unable to put the ball past Mizell.
FCC travels to Ottawa Fury FC next Sun. (Oct. 8) at 2:00 p.m. ET
FCC: 75th – Kevin Schindler (Djiby)
FCC: Mitch Hildebrandt, Austin Berry, Sem De Wit, Harrison Delbridge, Matt Bahner, Kenney Walker, Corben Bone, Josu, Danni Konig, Jimmy McLaughlin, Djiby
CLT: Cody Mizell, Austin Yearwood, Henry Kalungi, Bilal Duckett, Joel Johnson, Lewis Hilton, Callum Ross, David Estrada, Enzo Martinez, Alex Martinez, Jorge Herrera