Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – FC Cincinnati rallied from an early deficit to take a 3-2 victory against Louisville City FC on Saturday night as a Louisville club-record crowd of 11,632 was on hand for the second regular-season edition of the River Cities Cup this season. Louisville took the lead in the eighth minute from the penalty spot after FCC’s Harrison Delbridge was ruled to have handled in the area. Ilija Ilic stepped up, and his Panenka finish found the net as Mitch Hildebrandt’s early dive saw him see the shot float into the net. Cincinnati hit back eight minutes later as Louisville goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh was unable to claim a cross, and the ball fell to Djiby Fall for a first-time finish into the open net. Louisville almost regained the lead just past the half-hour mark as Brian Ownby’s finish beat Mitch Hildebrandt was cleared off the line by Josu, and Ownby went close again as he forced a save by Hildebrandt at his near post after skillfully getting past his marker on the right. Corben Bone also forced a low save by Ranjitsingh late in the first half, but Cincinnati took the lead 10 minutes into the second half when Josu’s corner from the right was nodded home by Delbridge. Louisville almost responded in the 67th minute when George Davis IV got onto a chipped pass by Ilic, but Hildebrandt clawed his finish to the right corner away. FCC then added to its lead with 13 minutes to go as Danni König scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute after Ranjitsingh parried a fierce shot by Josu. Louisville pushed late to get back into the game, and grabbed a late goal in stoppage time as an own goal that caromed in off Andrew Wiedeman after a header by Luke Spencer, but Cincinnati held on to earn its first win at Slugger Field in its history.
8’ – LOU – Ilija Ilic (penalty kick)
16’ – CIN – Djiby Fall
55’ – CIN – Harrison Delbridge (Josu)
77’ – CIN – Danni König
90+’ – LOU – Own Goal (Andrew Wiedeman)
Three Things That Matter:
1. After the letdown of Wednesday night’s postponement in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Cincinnati put in arguably its best league performance of the season to take a massive road victory against its biggest rivals. After going down early, a gift that was gratefully accepted by Djiby Fall for his 10th goal of the season got the ship righted, and then a clinical set piece that saw Harrison Delbridge find the net in his return to the lineup put the visitors on top. It certainly wasn’t easy as Louisville pressed hard for an equalizer, but Danni König’s fifth goal since arriving in Cincinnati gave the side the insurance goal it needed, and sent a big travelling contingent home happy.
2. Louisville got off to the idea start with Ilija Ilic’s cheeky Panenka penalty kick to take an early lead, but were then partly architects of their own downfall as Greg Ranjitsingh’s handling mistake allowed FCC to level the score quickly. The end of a 13-game undefeated streak at home to the club’s biggest rivals will certainly sting, and that will only partially be mitigated by the fact it was in front of the biggest crowd in club history as 11,632 made for a memorable atmosphere. Now out of the top two in the conference, Louisville will need to rebound strongly as it faces another big rival next weekend in Saint Louis FC.
3. Victories for both FC Cincinnati and the Charlotte Independence on Saturday night have made the Eastern Conference standings a lot more interesting than they were looking three weeks ago, with now at least six teams in contention for a top-four position as the stretch run to the playoffs begins in earnest. With Cincinnati in particular now looking like the side they could be on paper at the start of the season, the next few weeks are shaping up to be very interesting indeed.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Josu, FC Cincinnati – Josu came on as a first-half substitute, but had a massive impact with a goal-line clearance, an assist, and a hand in FCC’s clinching third to send the side to victory.
Louisville City FC at Saint Louis FC – July 22, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis
FC Cincinnati vs. Harrisburg City Islanders – July 22, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium