Emmanuel Ledesma’s previous experiences with Louisville City FC at Nippert Stadium ended in defeat and frustration.
Ledesma joined FC Cincinnati ahead of the 2018 season, when the Orange and Blue hosted their River Cities Cup rival twice at home. Both ended in 1-0 losses that felt like season-defining moments.
A lot has happened since, of course.
For Manu, he was the 2018 USL MVP after scoring 16 goals and provided a league-record 16 assists. For the team, they eventually went 23-games unbeaten to claim a USL regular-season title and joined MLS in the offseason.
But those lasting memories of losing to Louisville at Nippert remained – until Wednesday night.
Ledesma and Cincinnati beat their southern rivals, 2-1, after extra time in the fourth round of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. With the win, Cincinnati advanced to the fifth round for the second time in club history, and eliminated Louisville along the way.
"This is something special. The taste is special. They love to talk in the social media. Last year they talked too much. Now is the time to say go back home. Go back home and don’t talk too much." - @LedeManu18 pic.twitter.com/MksulBKDKc— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) June 13, 2019
“This is something special,” Ledesma said after the win. “The taste is special. They love to talk in the social media. Last year they talked too much. Now is the time to say, ‘Go back home. Go back home and don’t talk too much.’”
The Argentinian forward provided the game-winning assist to Kekuta Manneh in the 103rd minute when he collected a ball from Przemysław Tytoń then delivered a back-post cross to Manneh, who headed Cincinnati through in the U.S. Open Cup.
“I was very happy because we were working so hard,” Ledesma said of the goal. “We did a lot of positive things today. This is the best game to start over and to start again with positive energy. Now, we have to keep focusing this way.”
Cincinnati’s Cup run continues. For Louisville, they “go back home.”