Photo courtesy of Chris Cowger/Pittsburgh Riverhounds
PITTSBURGH, PA --- FC Cincinnati earned a point Wed., evening after playing Pittsburgh Riverhounds to a scoreless tie at Highmark Stadium.
The tie kept FCC (14-6-8, 50 pts.) in third place and a point ahead of Charlotte Independence (14-7-7, 49 pts.), who also finished the evening with a 0-0 tie against Richmond Kickers.
Both Mitch Hildebrandt and Zack Steffen were busy in goal as both sides managed to get a series of crosses into the box, scattered with a few flurries of opportunities.
The two teams traded possession early in the second half and Kevin Kerr saw the game’s first real chance of the period, taking a shot from the top of the 18-yard box. However, the midfielder was not able to put the ball on frame.
The ‘Hounds looked to push the action, connecting on several passes but it was FCC that suddenly turned the pressure on, creating a series of near chances.
Jimmy McLaughlin served a dangerous ball into the box in the 66th minute and found Andrew Wiedeman, whose header was parried away by Steffen for an FCC corner. Kenney Walker looked to bend the corner kick in and forced Steffen to drop back into the goal but the goalie was able to hold the ball out in front of the goal-line.
Wiedeman continued to frustrate the Pittsburgh defense as he carried the ball into heavy traffic in the 67th minute. Both he and Sean Okoli were calm under heavy pressure and Okoli managed to work the ball past the Riverhounds’ defense to find Casey Townsend, who made his first start for FCC. Townsend was able to slide and get a foot on the ball but flicked it too high, hitting the crossbar for the team’s closest opportunity yet.
In the 78th minute, McLaughlin jumped on a ball after it ricocheted off a pair of players and took a left-footed shot that just rolled just in front of the far post.
Pittsburgh earned a corner kick in stoppage time but Hildebrandt punched it safely away and it would prove to be the final play of the match.
FCC had the slight edge in shots taken at 10-8. Hildebrandt picked up a pair of saves while his counterpart posted three in the tie.
Townsend looked to spark the offense in the first period, seeing his first attempt at the goal in the 13th minute as he tried to head home a Wiedeman cross but saw the ball arc over the crossbar.
The ‘Hounds received an opportunity in the 26th minute as a clearance by Hildebrandt went directly to Kevin Kerr, who launched a shot back at the net. However, the try was wide right and FCC escaped the play unscathed.
Omar Mohamed charged down the field unchecked in the 28th minute and made his way to the top of the box before taking a left-footed shot that sailed high.
In the 44th minute, Corey Hertzog and Chevaughn Walsh worked a give-and go but the FCC defense disrupted Walsh enough to give Hildebrandt the opportunity to dart out and smother the ball before a shot could be taken and both sides would leave the pitch scoreless.
FCC, who extended their unbeaten streak to three matches, returns for their regular-season home final Sat., Sept. 17 against Orlando City for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff at Nippert Stadium.