USL Record, Clean Sheet For FCC

Club sets USL regular season attendance record against Pittsburgh.

CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati rewrote the United Soccer League records with the single-largest attendance of 23,375 in a 1-0 shutout of Pittsburgh Riverhounds Saturday at Nippert Stadium.

“On this record-setting day, we want to thank all of our fans and the Greater Cincinnati community overall for embracing FC Cincinnati in such an extraordinary manner,” said majority owner and CEO, Carl Lindner III. “As a new professional team, we have been overwhelmed with the support which has only confirmed what we long believed, that Cincinnati is one of the top soccer cities in the nation, where civic pride as a major league community has brought people together in support of our team.”

The win lifted FCC to 5-2-2 overall as the Orange and Blue stretched its unbeaten streak to five games. The 1-0 win via a first-half goal by Jimmy McLaughlin, was also FCC’s first clean sheet of the season.

“I think we always see sacrifice with our team,” said head coach John Harkes. “Doing the right things, it just takes a lot of focus. That was a tough game and credit to Pittsburgh.”

FCC controlled the first half, pressing the advantage and out-shooting Pittsburgh, 7-4. McLaughlin’s goal, the second consecutive for the midfielder, came in the 27th minute and gave FCC the lead for the first time since Apr. 16 when the club took a one-goal advantage against Louisville City FC. McLaughlin made a run on the right flank and received the pass from Sean Okoli. The midfielder fired a shot that was deflected by goalie Mauricio Vargas but McLaughlin jumped on the rebound and slotted the ball inside the near post for the score.

Pittsburgh was held to one shot on goal in the first by the FCC defense. In the 18th minute, Drew Russell worked his way into the box and with Mitch Hildebrandt coming out the meet the play, Russell slid the ball past Hildebrandt but pushed it just wide of the far post.

Okoli opened the second half with a blistering a shot in the box after taking the pass off the header from Andrew Wiedeman but the attempt was knocked away by Vargas. On the ensuing corner kick, Okoli looked to recreate his scissor-kick goal but that effort was blocked by a Pittsburgh defender.

Okoli nearly gave FCC a two goal lead 65th minute. Working a two-man game with McLaughlin, Okoli had the goal in his sights and looked to slip the ball under Vargas but the ball tapped the outside edge of the far post, denying Okoli his fourth goal of the year.

The two teams engaged in a physical half with the two teams combining for 13 fouls after the break. Pittsburgh earned five corner kicks but the FCC defense was able to stymie the Hounds’ efforts.

FC Cincinnati breaks from USL action this Wednesday when the team takes on Indy Eleven in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup at Nippert Stadium at 7:00 p.m.