Photo courtesy FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – Djiby Fall scored a club-record four goals as FC Cincinnati thrilled a crowd of 23,144 at Nippert Stadium saw the hosts take a 4-0 victory against Saint Louis FC on Saturday night in its home opener. Both teams came close to connecting on corner kicks in the opening 20 minutes, but while Saint Louis had the upper hand in possession Cincinnati’s Matt Bahner combined well with Fall in the 32nd minute to set up a close-range finish that was saved by STLFC goalkeeper Devala Gorrick at the near post. Three minutes later the two combined again for the opening goal. A cross by Bahner from the right found Fall at the back post, and his header just crossed the line to give the hosts the lead. Fall doubled FCC’s lead two minutes into first-half stoppage time as he put home a turning finish off Harrison Delbridge’s header from a corner. Three minutes into the second half Fall had his hat trick as a slide-rule pass by Kenney Walker found Corben Bone breaking in behind the STLFC defense, and he centered to allow the Senegalese forward to tap home, and he notched a fourth just past the hour-mark on his second header of the night.
35’ – CIN – Djiby Fall (Matt Bahner)
45+’ – CIN – Djiby Fall (Harrison Delbridge)
48’ – CIN – Djiby Fall (Corben Bone)
62’ – CIN – Djiby Fall (Kenney Walker)
Three Things That Matter:
1. After a tough road trip to start the season, FC Cincinnati needed a big performance in its home opener, and thanks to its new No. 9, it got it. Djiby Fall had already shown himself a reliable finisher with two goals in his first three games of the season, but in recording the first hat trick in FC Cincinnati’s history – and then adding a fourth for good measure – showed how good a an addition he will be throughout the upcoming season.
2. Saint Louis made numerous changes from its lineup in midweek that earned victory against Pittsburgh, and prior to FCC taking the lead didn’t seem to miss much as they had more possession and put FCC’s defense under pressure. Tyler David in particular looked sharp, completing 50-of-58 passes in the first half in the center of midfield as Octavio Guzman and Ivan Mirkovic were both absent of the starting lineup. The end of its undefeated start to the season will be disappointing, especially in the manner it arrived, but the depth Saint Louis’ squad showed in the performance was a small silver lining.
3. With FC Cincinnati having almost doubled its season-ticket base this offseason, a raucous atmosphere was expected, and FC Cincinnati’s crowd of 23,144 came through to help push their side to a major victory. With visits from both the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Louisville City FC coming up over the next week, the home-field advantage Cincinnati can call on could see it vault its away right back into contention at the top of the Eastern Conference with a pair of positive results, starting with the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 on Wednesday against the Rowdies.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Djiby Fall, FC Cincinnati – The veteran forward marked his home debut for FCC with the first hat trick in club history, and then added one more for good measure, which gave the crowd of 23,144 plenty to cheer about as soccer returned to Cincinnati.
FC Cincinnati vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies – April 19, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium (ESPN3)
Saint Louis FC vs. Charlotte Independence – April 22, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis