Photo courtesy of FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – Sean Okoli recorded a brace with a goal in each half and FC Cincinnati defeated FC Montreal 2-1 on Saturday in front of a crowd of 14,267 at Nippert Stadium. It was the first meeting of the season between expansion Cincinnati and second-year side Montreal. With the victory, Cincinnati extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (4-0-4) and improved to 7-2-3 overall (24 points). Montreal, which garnered a late tally from Mastanabal Kacher for his first of the season, falls to 1-6-0 on the road and 1-10-0 overall (3 points).
35’ – CIN – Sean Okoli (penalty)
48’ – CIN – Sean Okoli (Eric Stevenson)
90’ – MTL – Mastanabal Kacher
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Sean Okoli created his own penalty kick in the opening half, and he certainly was deserving of the opportunity for the game’s opening goal. The striker drew some shoulder-to-shoulder defending from Janouk Charbonneau, and when Okoli gained a step on him, Montreal’s Simon Lemire tried to assist, only he made contact with Okoli to lead to a 35th-minute penalty kick. Okoli had a bit of hesitation on his right-footed approach on the PK and shot to the left of the frame. Montreal goalkeeper Max Crepeau anticipated correctly with the diving attempt, but it was out of his reach.
2. Cincinnati’s width will frustrate most teams, and combine that with the club’s athleticism and aggressive style and it was only a matter of time before the host side added to its first-half tally. With McLaughlin and Eric Stevenson providing the buildup, it was McLaughlin’s cross from the left, just outside the box, that easily eluded Montreal’s defense and found Okoli. Okoli lined up a right-footed volley and placed it inside the right post for a two-goal lead in the 48th minute. He now has a team-leading seven tallies this season, two more than what Montreal has produced offensively this year.
3. Characteristic of a struggling side, Montreal’s Alessandro Riggi had one of the most wide-open chances to get his team back into the match in the 59th minute with Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt well off of his line. Ballou Jean-Yves Tabala drew Hildebrandt to the edge of the six before dishing toward the top of the 18 to his teammate. With the entire frame to work with, Riggi shot over the crossbar. Riggi scored a team-high nine goals a year ago, but this season he has been held to just one.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Sean Okoli, FC Cincinnati – Okoli continues to produce, recording a brace as Cincinnati was in complete control against a struggling Montreal side.
FC Cincinnati vs. Toronto FC II – June 18, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium
FC Montreal at Toronto FC II – June 15, 11:30 a.m. ET, Ontario Soccer Centre