Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati scored early and late to earn a 2-0 victory against the Richmond Kickers on Sunday evening in front of 21,769 fans at Nippert Stadium to move into sixth place in the USL’s Eastern Conference. FCC’s Djiby Fall forced a save inside the opening minute from Kickers goalkeeper Matt Turner, but in the third minute the Senegalese striker gave the hosts the lead. A long ball forward by Kenney Walker found Fall in stride for a finish to the right corner from the edge of the penalty area. Richmond almost responded immediately through Franck Tayou, but his low show was saved by FCC goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt by the left post. Cincinnati had a goal ruled out in the 21st minute as Andrew Wiedeman was ruled offside, but 11 minutes before halftime Jimmy McLaughlin was denied well by Turner with a shot from the left side of the penalty area. Fall also hit the crossbar for the hosts as he looked for his second of the night, while Turner came up with an excellent save to deny Weideman seven minutes into the second half, gathering in the rebound chance himself. The Kickers had a good chance to equalize with 17 minutes to go with a free kick just outside the penalty area, but Yudai Imura’s effort couldn’t beat the defensive wall. A deflected effort by Brandon Eaton almost snuck in for the Kickers moments later as Richmond had its best spell of pressure in the game, but Fred Owusu Sekyere’s red card with three minutes left and a penalty kick after a handball from counterattack stoppage time by Aodhan Quinn killed off the game for the hosts for a much-needed three points.
3’ – CIN – Djiby Fall (Kenney Walker)
90+’ – CIN – Aodhan Quinn (penalty)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Cincinnati got out to a dream start, as Djiby Fall came out of the blocks on fire to bag his ninth goal of the season in just the third minute. The veteran striker almost had his opener two minutes before, and could have doubled FCC’s lead late in the first half when his finish came back off the crossbar, but after a frustrating night against Tampa Bay in its last outing, the early goal gave the hosts and crowd of 21,769 at Nippert Stadium a big lift to open the contest.
2. As good as Fall’s performance and the finish on his goal proved, the delivery by Kenney Walker to set up the chance added another highlight to the central midfielder’s reel for this season. Walker has been an under-sung key for FCC over its first two seasons, and after being named to the USL Team of the Week last Tuesday put in another great two-way performance as he completed 69 of 75 passes, created three other chances in addition to his assist, and notched four tackles and two interceptions defensively. There’s plenty to enjoy about the way FCC plays, but Walker is the glue that holds it all together.
3. After going behind early on the road, the Kickers battled tooth and nail to keep themselves in with a chance of getting something out of the game. They were able to thanks to a tremendous performance by Matt Turner in goal, who finished with six saves on the night as he held the hosts at bay with some excellent play. The Kickers made the moves it had to in order to try and get something out of a one-goal game late, but Fred Owusu Sekyere’s frustrated elbow to Aodhan Quinn’s face that earned him a red card, and Quinn’s penalty kick in stoppage time moments later left the Kicker still looking for their first win since April.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Djiby Fall, FC Cincinnati – Fall’s early goal set the tone for the game, and the forward was active throughout his shift before being substituted midway through the second half.
FC Cincinnati at Louisville City FC – July 15, 7:30 p.m. ET, Slugger Field
Richmond Kickers at Harrisburg City Islanders – July 15, 7 p.m. ET, FNB Field