CINCINNATI, OH – FC Cincinnati greeted defending USL champion Louisville City FC in its 2018 home opener at Nippert Stadium and fell to their archrival 1-0 on a brisk Saturday night. It was the first loss suffered by the Orange and Blue in USL play this season and drops their record to 2-1-0.
Saturday’s match drew an attendance of 25,667, which set a new record for a USL home opener, topping FCC’s previous record set on April 15, 2017 against Saint Louis FC. The match also marked the eighth regular-season matchup between FCC and Louisville City, with the series proving itself competitive at 3-3-2.
“Disappointed to lose a derby, obviously. I don’t think anybody anywhere in this business would be happy to lose a derby and represent your team, your fans and the city,” FCC Head Coach Alan Koch responded postgame. “That’s not taking away from Louisville. They’re a very good team, a very cohesive team. Having said that, it’s a learning experience as a group after an excellent start to the season. We’re disappointed tonight. We really need to look at it and learn from it, dig ourselves out of the passion and emotion of this evening. We’re still in a very, very good place after three games to any season.”
Louisville midfielder Cameron Lancaster pushed the only goal of the night into the back of the net in the 13th minute. Following strong defense from the Orange and Blue’s back line, Lancaster controlled possession within the FCC six-yard box and struck into the right part of the goal with his left foot.
Lancaster’s goal was the first allowed this season by goalkeeper Evan Newton. Newton, playing his first season with the club, previously recorded clean sheets in FCC’s two road contests at Charleston Battery and Indy Eleven, respectively, to open USL action.
FCC generated great opportunities at an equalizer after falling behind a goal early. In the 18th minute, midfielder Lance Laing found Emmanuel Ledesma for a header try from the center of the box that was blocked by Louisville.
In the 31st minute, Laing took one upon himself with a clear path toward the net. Laing tried a left-footer from 25 yards out, but a diving stop by Louisville keeper Greg Ranjitsingh kept FCC scoreless heading into the break.
“We’ve just got to keep going. You have no idea how I feel right now,” Laing added postgame. “Very, very disappointed. I came into this game with high hopes. These fans are very, very passionate. They deserved it. They deserve something. I promise you guys, we’ll be back.”
Newton and the FCC defense prevented Louisville from scoring for the remainder of the match and kept its own attack in full force, ensuring Ranjitsingh did not go home without a fight. In the 78th minute, defender Hoyte serviced forward Danni König, who entered the match in the 57th minute for Will Seymore, on a cross into the box. However, König’s header attempt for an equalizer sailed over the net.
Jimmy McLaughlin took one final try at an equalizer in the 90th minute of regulation. McLaughlin crossed the ball from the left side into the box for Hoyte, whose shot was high off target.
The Orange and Blue hit the road again to face off with Bethlehem Steel FC in a 3:00 p.m. kickoff on April 15.
LOU: 13th – Cameron Lancaster (unassisted)
FCC: Evan Newton, Corben Bone, Justin Hoyte, Dekel Keinan, Lance Laing, Forrest Lasso, Emmanuel Ledesma, Richie Ryan, Will Seymore, Blake Smith, Emery Welshman
LOU: Greg Ranjitsingh, Sean Totsch, Paco Craig, Magnus Rasmussen, Cameron Lancaster, Pat McMahon, Oscar Jimenez, George Davis IV, Kyle Smith, Paolo DelPiccolo, Devon Williams