OTTAWA, Ontario --- FC Cincinnati battled to come from behind twice and post a 4-3 win over Toronto FC II Sat. night at TD Place Stadium. With the win, FCC jumps from eighth to sixth in the Eastern Conference standings with 46 points and a 12-10-10 record. Bethlehem Steel FC (12-12-7, 43 pts.) will take on Saint Louis FC Sun. at 3:00 p.m. A win by Steel FC would drop FCC to seventh by virtue of the first tiebreaker of total wins.
“I am very proud of the character that our group showed tonight. We have put together an excellent run of results on the road over the last few weeks, and we are excited to start the playoffs next weekend,” said Head Coach Alan Koch. “The players showed the fight and the willingness to work for each other even though we went behind several times this evening. We look forward to a good week of training back in Cincinnati and finding out where we will play on the road.”
FCC trailed 2-0 after giving up first-half goals to Tsubasa Endoh. Endoh struck in the 10th minute after jumping on a rebound and finding the back of the net from the center of the box. Luca Uccello sent in a cross from the left side and Ben Spencer took an initial attempt. Mitch Hildebrandt managed to deny Spencer but was unable to recover to stop the following attempt by Endoh.
Endoh doubled the lead for the home side in the 31st minute. A pass from the right went to Spencer a second time but instead of taking the shot, the forward headed the ball back to Endoh, who recorded a near identical goal.
Danni Konig cut the lead in the half in the 41st minute. FCC, which had been pressuring the Toronto FC II defense for the final 15 minutes of the period, earned a free kick just outside of the 18-yard box. Kenney Walker chipped the ball in and Konig, who was camped at the top of the six, won the header and put the ball past Mark Pais.
FCC mounted a furious offensive onslaught to start the second half and was rewarded with the tying goal in the 49th minute. Konig came close to posting a brace two minutes into the second half, receiving a pass from Corben Bone at the top of the 18. Konig pushed the ball ahead and then took a right-footed shot that was saved by Pais, who was unable to hang onto the ball but was backed by his defense, which cleared the ball.
Kenney Walker did erase the deficit just a few minutes later in the 49th minute. Walker took a pass from Jimmy McLaughlin and then worked a pass to Bone. Bone drew the defense and made the short pass back to Walker, who buried a shot in the lower left corner to knot the score at two goals apiece.
TFC II which had been caught on the defensive to start the second half, countered in the 54th minute. Brandon Onkony sent in a long pass from the midfield to Shaan Hundal. Hildebrandt came off his line to meet the play at the top of the 18, but Hundal alertly chipped a shot over Hildebrandt into the open goal to give TFC II the 3-2 lead.
McLaughlin had been a catalyst for FCC and set the scene for the team’s third goal in the 66th minute. Carrying the ball down the left side, the midfielder worked to get to the six-yard box and sent in a left footed shot to Djiby, who posted his 12th goal of the year with a finishing touch.
Justin Hoyte capped the scoring in the 85th minute with the game-winning tally. Kadeem Dacres found Hoyte down the right side. Hoyte centered the field with a pass to Walker and then rounded the TFC II defense. Walker alertly flicked a pass over to Hoyte, who scored his second goal of the year.
The Orange and Blue out-shot TFC II 19-4 in the second half with six shots on goal. McLaughlin led the FCC offense with seven shots. Konig, Djiby and Dacres each added four shots apiece.
TFCII: 10th - Tsubasa Endoh
TFCII: 31st - Tsubasa Endoh (Ben Spencer)
FCC: 41st – Danni Konig (Kenney Walker)
FCC: 49th – Kenny Walker (Corben Bone)
TFCII: 53rd – Shaan Hundal (Brandon Onkony)
FCC: 66th: - Djiby (Jimmy McLaughlin)
FCC: 90th: Justin Hoyte (Kenney Walker)
FCC: Mitch Hildebrandt, Tyler Polak, Harrison Delbridge, Justin Hoyte, Austin Berry, Andrew Wiedeman, Kenney Walker, Jimmy McLaughlin, Corben Bone, Danni Konig, Djiby
TFCII: Mark Pais, Rocco Romeo, Mitchell Taintor, Brnadon Onkony, Liam Fraser, Luca Uccello, Dante Campbell, Ashtone Morgan, Shaan Hundal, Ben Spencer, Tsubasa Endoh