CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati defeated the Charleston Battery, 3-0, in front of a crowd of 27,142 at Nippert Stadium on Saturday evening.
Cincinnati (15-3-6, 51 pts.) not only extended its club-record unbeaten run to 13 games (9-0-4), but also broke its own USL record for single-season attendance in tonight’s match, as 352,709 have come through the Nippert Stadium gates already this season. The club broke last season’s total of 339,181, still with three home matches remaining.
Cincinnati’s Emmanuel Ledesma and Corben Bone tallied for the Orange and Blue, while a Skylar Thomas own goal gave Cincinnati its third goal on the evening in second-half stoppage time.
With the win, Cincinnati claimed its first ever home victory over Charleston (11-4-10, 43 pts.), bringing the overall regular-season series record to 2-2-2, including an unbeaten 1-0-2 mark at Nippert Stadium.
In just the 12th minute of action, USL MVP frontrunner Ledesma opened the scoring for Cincinnati for the second match in a row. After what seemed like a turnover forced by Charleston in FCC’s attacking third, Ledesma stepped in front of a trio of Battery defenders, gained possession, and ripped a left-footed looping shot from 19 yards out over outstretched Charleston keeper Joe Kuzminsky, striking the underside of the crossbar to give the Orange and Blue the early lead.
In first half stoppage time, Bone added to the lead when he slotted home a Nazmi Albadawi square pass after the duo - with Emery Welshman, who returned from a three-game suspension - broke into the attacking third on a counter.
Spencer Richey collected his third shutout of the season - and his second in as many matches - making one save on the night. Overall, it was FCC’s 11th shutout of the campaign.
FC Cincinnati will embark on a two-match road trip beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 22, when the club travels to play the Atlanta United 2 at Coolray Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The match will be televised on CW Cincinnati and streamed live on ESPN+.
For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. For more information about FC Cincinnati tickets, call 513-977-KICK (5425) or visit fccincinnati.com/tickets.
FC Cincinnati 3, Charleston Battery 0
Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, August 18, 2018
CIN -- Emmanuel Ledesma (unassisted) 21’
CIN -- Corben Bone (Nazmi Albadawi) 45’+1’’
CIN -- Own Goal (Skylar Thomas) 90’+5’
FC Cincinnati: Spencer Richey, Blake Smith, Forrest Lasso, Paddy Barrett ©, Justin Hoyte, Fatai Alashe (Michael Lahoud 62’), Corben Bone, Kenney Walker, Nazmi Albadawi, Emmanuel Ledesma, Emery Welshman (Fanendo Adi 73’)
Bench: Evan Newton, Matt Bahner, Dekel Keinan, Jimmy McLaughlin, Russell Cicerone
STATS: Shots 8, Shots on goal 6, Fouls 7, Offsides 2, Corner kicks 5, Saves 1, Possession 54.0%
Charleston Battery: Joe Kuzminsky, Neveal Hackshaw, Taylor Mueller ©, Skylar Thomas, Vincenzo Candela (Ian Svantesson 75’), Tah Anunga, Jarad van Schaik, O’Brian Woodbine (Nicholas Rittmeyer 13’), Kotaro Higashi (Patrick Okonkwo 64’), Gordon Wild, Ataulla Guerra
Bench: Odisnel Cooper, Leland Archer, Victor Mansaray, Angelo Kelly-Rosales
STATS: Shots 6, Shots on goal 1, Fouls 14, Offsides 2, Corner kicks 6, Saves 4, Possession 46.0%
CIN -- Emmanuel Ledesma (caution) 13’
CHS -- Tah Anunga (caution) 30’
CIN -- Paddy Barrett (caution) 53’
CHS -- Ian Svantesson (caution) 87’
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Weather: 80 degrees and cloudy
Man of the Match: Emmanuel Ledesma
HOW IT HAPPENED
FCC Head Coach Alan Koch
Good performance. It’s nice to be back, to be honest. I don’t think we were very happy with how we performed in the last few games even though we got positive results. I think the guys were absolute class from the start until the end. I think we managed the game very, very well and it’s a thoroughly deserved three points against a very, very good team tonight.
On getting a good start to the game …
If you have a good first 45 minutes, you set yourself up for success in the second 45 minutes. Basically if you can come out of the gates and play in a positive manner and impose yourself on the opposition and hopefully capitalize on some chances, you’ll give yourself a positive start. But I said on TV at halftime, this game is very interesting. We played very, very well in the first 45 minutes, but if (Ataulla) Guerra’s shot goes in with a few minutes before halftime, it’s probably 1-1 when we go in at halftime. You’ve got to manage those moments. Thankfully we didn’t give them that much tonight and we thoroughly deserved three points.
On Fatai Alashe’s FCC debut …
Great. Quality player. I’ve known he’s a quality player for a long time. It’s not easy coming in and playing your first game. Obviously, he had played as much as he would have liked before coming here, so we’ve had to manage getting him back and obviously find the right moment for him to play. He ran into a little bit of a wall at the end, which is expected, but hopefully we can continue giving him opportunities and he took it tonight and expect him to take it every time.
On getting 16-of-18 points at home in the six-game homestand …
Out of the six games, I wanted to get four wins. That would get us 12 points. We have how many? (16 out of 18) … so we’ll take 16. We obviously we try whenever we can to put a plan in place and execute and get three points in every game. That’s unrealistic. We’re playing against good teams. We’re happy with three points tonight, we know we have two huge games ahead of us on the road to finish out this week.
If tonight felt like a playoff game, playing the No. 2 team in the East …
We’ve played against good teams all season long. I know the standings show we’re in first and Charleston, I don’t know if they’re still in third, so they’re up there. We’ve beaten other teams that are quality teams this season. I’ve said all along. Indy is a fantastic team and we went to their place and we’ve beaten them twice. And we’ve lost a few games. It’s inevitable because there are good teams in this league. So I didn’t read too much into this and we played tonight against a good team and got ourselves three points and we’ll move on to the next game.
FCC Midfielder Corben Bone
On his goal …
I think it started from some quick defending. When you win the ball that high, it turns into offense pretty quick. So, a little counter attack and a couple of … Emery laid it off to me and they started making runs. I found Naz and he found me again – and Emery with the great dummy, which opens the space up for me – thankfully I found the back of the net. Testament to those guys. They worked hard all night, putting pressure on those backs and it paid off.
His thoughts on the first half …
I think it was a pretty fast-paced game especially in the first half. When it comes down to those chances, if you take them, it’s better for us.
His opinion of getting back to FCC football …
Felt good. Felt like there was a rhythm to the game and any time your team can get into a rhythm and you’re in sync and on the same page, it’s always easier to play. You keep it simple. You find yourself in good places and in that moment, if you have your chances, you give yourself a chance to win the game. And tonight we found ourselves in good places. We played confident. We found a rhythm. We scored some good goals.
On the team’s undefeated summer home stand …
Testament to all the players. The quality. And the coaches. It’s been a great run. But after a win, you celebrate that night and it’s on to the next one. We’re looking forward to another two games this week.
FCC Midfielder Fatai Alashe
On playing in front of the FCC crowd …
I thought it was pretty fun. It obviously helps when you have a performance like this and get a result. But I thought they helped us and pushed us through the game. It was obviously we got tired at the end – which is normal – but if you can play in front of a crowd like this, it’s easy to find that energy.
His opinion of his FCC debut …
I thought it was alright. There are definitely some things I can get in and work on, but it’s the first game I’ve played in a while so it’s definitely something to build on. It’s a pretty good start so far. But most importantly, I have to work on my fitness, but that comes in time.
On leading the game in fouls won tonight …
That’s part of the game. It’s something you get used to. I think it’s a testament to the way we were playing: trying to keep the ball. When you’re on the ball as much as we are, it’s definitely going to lead to getting fouled more often.
On fitting in on the field tonight …
I thought it was great. I think we did a good job communicating together tonight, getting each other through the game. I thought for the most part, we were able to bounce ideas off each other and what each guy was seeing throughout the game and I thought it showed in the performance.