CINCINNATI – After being deadlocked after 120 minutes of play, top-seeded FC Cincinnati moved on to the USL Eastern Conference Semifinals after advancing on penalties, 6-5, past eighth-seeded Nashville SC in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday night at Nippert Stadium in front of 20,127 fans. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw after extra time.
Both FC Cincinnati and Nashville converted five consecutive penalty kicks, forcing an additional attempt from each side. On Nashville’s sixth attempt, defender Justin Davis sent the ball over the net before FCC’s Kenney Walker stepped up and converted his attempt to secure a place in the next found for FC Cincinnati.
The two teams remained scoreless at the end of regulation despite Cincinnati creating a few chances at the end of regulation. In the first period of extra time, Walker set up Corben Bone for the first tally of the afternoon and helped push the Orange and Blue in front by a goal after the first 15-minute frame.
In the 115th minute, Nashville leveled off the foot of defender Bradley Bourgeois. After Nashville regained possession when Cincinnati cleared a corner kick, Bourgeois dribbled near the top of the penalty area and sent a shot in, but it deflected off an FCC player and redirect up and over an outstretched Spencer Richey in goal to even the score at 1-1.
Richey made five acrobatic saves on the night to back FC Cincinnati into the next round. Nashville’s Matt Pickens stopped four. Overall, Cincinnati out-shot Nashville 22-16 on the night.
FCC has advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinal for the first time in club history, where they will face the winner of the No. 5 seed New York Red Bulls II quarterfinal. The semifinal match will be played at Nippert Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27, and will again feature a 4 p.m. first kick. Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23. FCC Season Ticket Holders can secure their seats between now the general on-sale time.
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 - including 2018 USL Cup Playoffs tickets - call 513-977-KICK (5425) or visit fccincinnati.com/tickets.
2018 USL CUP PLAYOFFS | Eastern Conference Quarterfinal
FC Cincinnati 1, Nashville SC 1 (CIN advances on penalties, 6-5)
Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, October 20, 2018
CIN - Corben Bone (Kenney Walker) 95’
NSH - Bradley Bourgeois (unassisted) 115’
PENALTY KICK SUMMARY
NSH -- Liam Doyle (good)
CIN -- Fanendo Adi (good)
NSH -- Brandon Allen (good)
CIN -- Jimmy McLaughlin (good)
NSH -- Alan Winn (good)
CIN -- Blake Smith (good)
NSH -- Matt LaGrassa (good)
CIN -- Justin Hoyte (good)
NSH -- Kris Tyrpak (good)
CIN -- Forrest Lasso (good)
NSH -- Justin Davis (missed high)
CIN -- Kenney Walker (good)
FC Cincinnati: Spencer Richey, Justin Hoyte, Paddy Barrett ©, Forrest Lasso, Blake Smith, Fatai Alashe (Kenney Walker 68’), Tyler Gibson (Richie Ryan 100’), Corben Bone, Nazmi Albadawi (Jimmy McLaughlin 85’), Emmanuel Ledesma (Emery Welshman 120’+1’), Fanendo Adi
Bench: Evan Newton, Matt Bahner, Dekel Keinan
STATS: Shots 22, Shots on goal 5, Fouls 11, Offsides 2, Corner kicks 7, Saves 5, Possession 60.1%
Nashville SC: Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura (Ismaila Jome 98’), Bradley Bourgeois, Liam Doyle, Taylor Washington (Kris Tyrpak 105’), Ropapa Mensah, Justin Davis ©, Boluwatife Akinyode (Ramone Howell 110’), Alan Winn, Matt Lagrassa, Tucker Hume (Brandon Allen 74’)
Bench: C.J. Cochran, London Woodberry, Ryan James
STATS: Shots 16, Shots on goal 6, Fouls 11, Offsides 1, Corner kicks 8, Saves 4, Possession 39.9%
CIN - Blake Smith (caution) 104’
NSH - Justin Davis (caution) 110’
CIN - Emmanuel Ledesma (caution) 111’
NSH - Bradley Bourgeois (caution) 116’
Referee: Farhad Dadkho
Weather: 59 degrees, partly cloudy
Man of the Match: Spencer Richey
HOW IT HAPPENED
- 10’ | Following a battle for a loose ball near the center circle, Fatai Alashe gained possession and found Blake Smith on the left flank, who played a pass to the feet of Nazmi Albadawi. Albadawi dribbled into the 18-yard box and took a right-footed shot that was deflected over the end line by Nashville’s Liam Doyle to earn a corner for FCC.
- 34’ | After building up play from the back, FCC reversed the field from right to left and Albadawi played a through ball to Smith near the left corner of the 18. Smith sent Corben Bone into space and he then fed Fanendo Adi but he headed his shot high.
- 42’ | Emmanuel Ledesma interrupted possession from Nashville near midfield and passed to Tyler Gibson, who quickly moved it to Alashe in Nashville territory. Alashe found Fanendo Adi 30 yards from goal, who dribbled once and set up Ledesma with a headed pass. From just outside the box, Ledesma missed narrowly high and wide right.
- 48’| From midfield, Nashville’s Matt Lagrassa sent a pass to Ropapa Mensah at the top of the 18-yard box. Mensah, with his back to the goal, sent a ball to the right flank where Taylor Washington one-timed a cross to to the 18-yard box. In mid-air, Mensah sent a backheel pass directly to the feet of Alan Winn in the six-yard box. Winn fired a right-footed shot from point blank range, where Spencer Richey was in position to make the save.
- 73’ | Justin Davis dribbled near midfield for Nashville and passed into Cincinnati territory for Mensah on the left wing. Mensah dribbled toward the Cincinnati box and tried a shot from the top left corner of the area, but his effort clipped the underside of the crossbar and came back into play, allowing FCC to clear.
- 90’+2’ | Kenney Walker received a pass from Tyler Gibson 40 yards out, gaining space out in front. Walker tried a right-footed shot at the goal, but Nashville keeper Matt Pickens dove to his right for the save.
- 95’ | CIN GOAL -- Jimmy McLaughlin dribbled along the right flank, looking to create space. McLaughlin approached the box and passed to his left for Walker. Walker quickly found Bone at the top of the 18-yard box and he created some space to his right, pushing in a shot to the lower right side and beating Pickens to break the deadlock and put FCC up a goal.
- 115’ | NSH GOAL -- After a Nashville corner and Cincinnati clearance attempt, Nashville regained possession on the far side of the field. Justin Davis passed to the top of the box for Bradley Bourgeois, who tried a right-footed shot that kicked off a Cincy player and up and just out of Richey’s reach, leveling with five minutes to play.
- PENALTIES | Both teams converted their first five penalty attempts and Davis stepped up as Nashville’s sixth kicker. The wind disrupted his set-up - as it did several players in the first shooters - and when he finally found a calm moment to take his shot, he sent his effort over Richey’s crossbar. Walker stepped up and converted - making Cincinnati 6-for-6 in kicks - to send Cincy through to the semifinals.
- Today marks the first time Cincinnati has advanced in the USL Cup Playoffs … FCC is now 0-2-1 all-time in the USL Cup Playoffs, with a pair of losses in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in both 2016 and 2017
- With today’s result, FCC pushed it’s all-time record against Nashville SC to 0-0-4, including both the regular season and postseason … FCC and its rivals from Music City have played to a draw in all four sanctioned meetings this season
- Overall - in all contests - FC Cincinnati is now unbeaten in its last 25 games, including 23 USL regular-season games, an U.S. Open Cup fourth-round game (tie vs. Minnesota United on June 6) and today’s playoff game … the club’s last loss was May 26 at home against Louisville City FC
- Corben Bone’s goal was the second-ever goal scored in the USL Cup Playoffs in club history … Eric Stevenson tallied for the Orange and Blue in the 19th minute of FCC’s 2-1 loss to the Charleston Battery on Oct. 2, 2016 … the goal ended a stretch of 256 consecutive minutes without a goal in postseason play
- Kenney Waker’s assist was the club’s second assist recorded in the USL Cup Playoffs … Sean Okoli registered the assist on Stevenson’s goal against Charleston in 2016
- Today’s match was FC Cincinnati’s first-ever USL Cup Playoffs match to require penalties … the Orange and Blue have gone to penalties on three occasions during the U.S. Open Cup – most recently against Minnesota United FC on June 6 in the fourth round of the 2018 U.S. Open Cup, during which MUFC advanced, 3-1, at Nippert Stadium
- Spencer Richey made five saves on the night, tying his FC Cincinnati single-game high across all competitions … the FCC goalkeeper previously made five saves on two occasions this season, at North Carolina FC on May 19 and at Louisville on Sept. 11
- Alan Koch made one change to the starting lineup from its last game out - which was at Nashville SC on Oct. 13 … Fatai Alashe came into the central midfield, replacing Michael Lahoud
- After returning to the pitch in last weekend’s regular-season finale at Nashville SC, Richie Ryan made his first appearance at Nippert Stadium in more than four months … FCC’s midfielder last appeared in a home match against the Richmond Kickers on June 16
- Tonight’s result will be formally recorded as a draw in the record books
- U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder – and Cincinnati native – Rose Lavelle was a guest at tonight’s game … on Wednesday night, she scored the game-winning goal in the championship contest of the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship after helping the U.S. secure a berth in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup last weekend
FCC Head Coach Alan Koch
Immediate reaction to Saturday’s win…
“[I] said to our players all week long, said to them before the game, said to them at the end of the game tonight: ‘doesn’t matter if you win in 90 minutes, 120 minutes, penalty kicks, sixth penalty shooter … as long as you win.’ I thought we deserved to win in 90 minutes. I thought we deserved to win in the 120 minutes. Penalty kicks is a lottery. I’m glad we won and move on to the next round.”
On the penalty shootout and wind factoring...
“A penalty shootout is an absolute lottery, because anything can happen. Our players were composed, they were relaxed … Our five players that took the first five penalty kicks were very composed. Obviously, playing catch up is not easy. And then Kenney (Walker), that’s a brave young man. I’m very proud of him and I’m proud of the group for getting the result tonight.”
On how he felt after Corben Bone’s goal...
“I don’t think any game is won until the final whistle blows, because anything can happen. You could see tonight. There were a couple of set pieces that they were dangerous on, in transition they had a couple moments. We played against a good team in Nashville tonight, so for us to just think we were going to come out and completely dominate from start to finish is very unrealistic in the playoffs. Playoff games are like that, they’re going to be up and they’re going to be down. I thought our guys managed the game very well tonight.”
On enjoying tonight’s match…
“I don’t really enjoy the game when I’m in it, because I’m working, obviously. I enjoy my job, but it’s work. Once we got to the penalty shootout, I actually could breathe. We selected who was going to take penalty kicks and then you go out and hope the guys take care of business and you have confidence in them that they will. Tonight was special. Obviously, for our club, it’s our first USL Cup Playoffs win, which is huge. It’s another big part of our history.”
On playing Nashville back-to-back…
“Yeah, it’s interesting, because obviously things are fresh in your mind. But, they changed the way they played a little bit and we changed the way we played a little bit, too. I think every time you play a team it is a bit of a chess match. We were aware of changes they may make. We didn’t think they were going to make changes in terms of formation, how they started the game. Like every good team, they’re going to come at you for a little while, and we absorbed that pressure. We won, that’s the most important thing.”
On his confidence in Kenney Walker…
“Kenney’s technique is first-class, and it’s not just this week. We’ve worked with Kenney for a long time, and you can see he’s a very composed player when he’s in possession of the ball in the open game, and he’s the exact same way when he takes a penalty kick. But, to have the bravery, that’s not easy. For an Ohio kid to come in and score that penalty kick for us tonight is absolutely awesome.”
FCC Midfielder Kenney Walker
On his penalty kick…
“It was a little added pressure, but at the same time, you’ve got to go out and score. Either you pick your spot and put it there and he saves it, or you beat him to your spot. That’s as simple as you can put it. There’s still pressure on it. So for me, I missed one earlier on in the season and this one I put in the back of the net.”
On if the wind was a factor…
“For me, it wasn’t too bad. It changed from player to player when there was a big gust. I’m assuming for left-footed players, it was a little more difficult. I wasn’t going to try to keep [the ball] too high off the ground. The wind didn’t play too much of a factor.”
On if there was any relief when Nashville missed…
“Yeah. There was a sense of relief, but then you still have that pressure of, there’s a little bit of release whether you still have the ability to miss and you’re still in it, but there’s still that pressure where you could end it at the same time.”
FCC Goalkeeper Spencer Richey
On if the wind was a factor…
“I think it’s easier to play in half-decent wind than when it’s monsooning like some of the games we had recently. It was a factor, but at the end of the day, it’s one of those things both teams have got to deal with it, so it is what it is.”
On if he uses information or instincts for determining where to dive during penalties...
“It depends. Sometimes you have a bunch of research of guys’ tendencies and where they like to go. Tonight, it was a little bit half-and half. Some guys, like Brandon Allen for example, mixes it up quite a lot so that’s kind of, if I’m going off my gut, maybe trying to do something to make one side look more appealing than the other. There’s definitely some behind-the-scenes work that goes into it. (Liam) Doyle for example, I knew he liked to go that way, but sometimes you hit a good penalty and it’s probably unsaveable.”
On how tonight’s penalties compared to penalties against Minnesota United FC in the U.S. Open Cup
“[There was] definitely more pressure. I feel like the Open Cup is obviously a competition that we want to do well and we want to advance in, but something about tonight felt like it had a different buzz to it. I was really eager to try to keep one or two of those penalties out to try to take some pressure of our guys, but I wasn’t able to do that. Luckily they banged in six-for-six.”
On what he was thinking when the team came up to him after Kenney Walker still needed to convert his attempt…
“That could’ve been a disaster (laughing). I was aware that we needed to score the next one, but I mean, I don’t know. It was a good practice run for them (chuckling).”
On his saves during the match…
“I took this week the exact same way that I have taken every week the last two months where I had a feeling I was going to play on the weekend. You’re going to have an extra five, 10 percent of heightened senses as Alan calls them. In games like this, I feel like it’s even more important to just be easy and just chilling before the game. That was kind of my mindset before: just be loose and play with confidence and luckily I was able to make a few saves tonight.”