Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – A crowd of 21,074 fans saw FC Cincinnati and the Charleston Battery play to a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday night at Nippert Stadium as the Battery maintained its undefeated all-time record against FCC in a back-and-forth battle. Cincinnati took the lead in the fourth minute as a free kick by Aodhan Quinn was knocked back across goal by Harrison Delbridge, allowing Djiby Fall to knock in his seventh goal of the season. The hosts almost doubled their lead seven minutes later when Danny Konig was slide into the right side of the penalty area, but put his finish just wide of the left post. Charleston’s Kotaro Higashi had a shot from 20 yards comfortably saved, while Taylor Mueller headed just wide from a free kick in the 25th minute as the Battery started to threaten more. Cincinnati almost caught the Battery on a counter-attack just before halftime as Jimmy McLaughlin hit the outside of the left post, but the Battery found an equalizer in the 63rd minute as a low cross by Ricky Garbanzo was nicked home by Romario Williams just inside the left post. The Battery took the lead nine minutes later as a long throw-in by O’Brian Woodbine was flicked on at the near post by Neveal Hackshaw was flicked home by Forrest Lasso. FCC responded with 10 minutes to go as substitute Andrew Wiedeman controlled and volleyed home from the left side of the penalty area. Charleston almost grabbed a late winner as Heviel Cordoves’ header was denied by FCC goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt, but honors ended even.
4’ – CIN – Djiby Fall (Harrison Delbridge)
63’ – CHS – Romario Williams (Ricky Garbanzo)
72’ – CHS – Forrest Lasso (Neveal Hackshaw)
80’ – CIN – Andrew Wiedeman (Josu)
Three Things That Matter:
1. In front of another massive crowd of 21,074 at Nippert Stadium, FC Cincinnati and the Charleston Battery played a game that lived up to its environment as the two sides went back and forth and ended up all square in a compelling contest. The Battery looked to be on the verge of an impressive road victory when Forrest Lasso gave his side the lead with 18 minutes to go, but an outstanding piece of work to finish by Andrew Wiedeman in front of The Bailey gave FCC’s fans the moment they’d been waiting for to explode into celebration. After a busy week for both sides that saw both sides give plenty, a draw felt like a fair ending.
2. It’s becoming almost uncanny, the manner Forrest Lasso keeps finding the back of the net for the Battery this season, with the center back’s fifth goal of the season coming off another well-worked set piece by the Battery. For the first time in the regular season, it wasn’t a delivery by Justin Portillo that provided the service for Lasso’s finish, as a long throw-in by O’Brian Woodbine deep in the left corner was flicked on by Neveal Hackshaw at the near post, but the manner of Lasso’s flicked finish with the outside of his right showed all the confidence of a striker. In his first full season as a starter for the Battery, Lasso isn’t a one-trick pony, but the goals he’s given the side have been a major reason for the Battery’s boosted attack this season.
3. While a draw might have been a fair result, the Battery will likely be the happier team despite losing an advantage as they remain on top of the Eastern Conference standings. For Cincinnati, Saturday’s game marked the midway point of its home regular season schedule, where the side has currently gone 3-1-4 at Nippert Stadium this season. Those draws are starting to accumulate for FCC, which is still sitting relatively precariously in terms of the USL Eastern Conference playoff positions. There’s still more than half of the overall season to go for Head Coach Alan Koch’s side, but the side’s home form is going to put pressure on Cincinnati to earn results on the road as the season enters its second half.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Andrew Wiedeman, FC Cincinnati – Wiedeman’s outstanding finish salvaged a point for the visitors after the Battery had rallied to take the lead.
FC Cincinnati vs. Saint Louis FC – June 24, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium
Charleston Battery vs. Toronto FC II – June 24, 7 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium