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Okoli’s Brace Ignites Cincy in Front of 17,415 at Nippert

By CHARLIE CORR -, 09/05/16, 6:45PM EDT


Stoppage-time penalty kick lifts Cincinnati into third following 2-1 win against STLFC

Photo courtesy of FC Cincinnati

CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati had a dominant performance against Saint Louis FC, and it was late before things finally came around for the host side. Sean Okoli tallied twice in the closing minutes, including a stoppage-time penalty kick, as Okoli lifted Cincinnati to a 2-1 victory in front of 17,415 fans at Nippert Stadium in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3. Okoli redirected an Andrew Wiedeman ball from the left in the 84th minute, only to have STLFC’s Patrick Doody find the equalizer in the 86th minute. It appeared a draw was ultimately going to be the result, but Cincinnati drew a foul in the box in stoppage time and Okoli confidently converted the PK for the winner. Cincinnati moves back into third place in the Eastern Conference with the win, improving to 13-6-7 (46 points) overall and 8-2-4 at home. The club also ended its first two-game losing streak. Saint Louis drops to 7-11-9 (30 points) overall and 3-8-2 on the road. STLFC is now 0-5-1 in its past six road games and in the midst of a seven-game winless streak (0-3-4) overall.

84’ – CIN – Sean Okoli (Andrew Wiedeman)
86’ – STL – Patrick Doody
90’+ – CIN – Sean Okoli (penalty)

Three Things That Mattered:

  • 1. A chaotic final 10 minutes occurred after Saint Louis had held off Cincinnati for much of the match. Sean Okoli has been Cincinnati’s dominant scoring force all season, and he came through once again Monday, first with a right-footed redirect of an Andrew Wiedeman cross from the left side to gain a 1-0 lead in the 84th minute. STLFC had an impressive response less than two minutes later when Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt’s batted ball could not be further cleared and Patrick Doody snuck a 20-yard shot inside the left post to tie the score. Ultimately, it was Okoli’s night with his 14th goal of the season in the third minute of stoppage time. STLFC goalkeeper Mark Pais read the approach well, but Okoli’s right-footed shot snuck past in the left side of the frame for the winner. Okoli is now tied with Louisville City FC’s Chandler Hoffman for second in the USL Golden Boot race, one behind the LA Galaxy II’s Jack McBean (15).

  • 2. Cincinnati controlled the brunt of the first half near the offensive third, but didn’t have a tally to show for its efforts through 45 minutes. In the fourth minute, Cincinnati’s Tyler Polak from the end line crossed to Kenney Walker, whose chance from outside the box was deflected by STLFC’s defense. Okoli tried to get a redirect at the near left post, but it went out of bounds. In the 32nd minute, Jimmy McLaughlin took a shot from a difficult angle to force Pais to make a reaction save and parry it over the goal. In the final five minutes of the half, Cincinnati pushed the ball just wide right of the far post on two occasions, with Okoli’s 41st-minute chance and then Andrew Wiedeman’s wonderful turn and left-footed strike from 19 yards out in the 43rd that would have been a highlight-reel tally if he pushed it on frame.

  • 3. STLFC generated little in the run of play, with its best chances coming on corner kicks or an occasional James Musa throw-in. The combination of Cincinnati’s heavier possession and the host side’s tight marking in the defensive third when called upon limited STLFC’s ability to create some high-percentage scoring opportunities. Saint Louis also clearly missed the services of Salvadoran international and team goal-scoring leader Irvin Herrera who is away for World Cup qualifying duty. Man of the Match:
Sean Okoli, FC Cincinnati –
With his brace and PK winner, Okoli now has 14 goals and is one shy of the USL lead.

Upcoming Games:
FC Cincinnati
at Wilmington Hammerheads FC – Sept. 11, 3 p.m. ET, Legion Stadium
Saint Louis FC at San Antonio FC – Sept. 10, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Field