Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati earned its third consecutive league victory with a 3-0 win against the Harrisburg City Islanders in front of a crowd of 18,334 at Nippert Stadium on Saturday night after two lightning delays – one in either half – delayed proceedings. Harrisburg (6-9-5, 23pts) had the first good chance when John Grosh forced a low save at the right post by FCC goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt with the first good chance of the game. Harrisburg’s aggressive start was tempered by a lightning delay in the 27th minute, however, and within five minutes of the resumption Cincinnati (8-6-6, 30pts) had the lead through Djiby Fall’s 11th goal of the season. Harrisburg almost equalizer just before the halftime break, but Ropapa Mensah was unable to control his volley from Abass Mohammad’s cross, and in the second half the hosts began to take the upper hand. Fall forced a save in the 69th minute with a shot from the left side of the penalty area, but a minute later a perfect slide-rule pass by the Senegalese forward to Danni König sent the Danish striker in alone to finish and provide the insurance goal the hosts were looking for. Harrisburg almost found an answer with 11 minutes to go as a run into the penalty area by Paul Wilson saw him flash a shot across goal, only for no final touch to arrive, but then again the lightning arrived with six minutes to go to send the game into another delay. Moments after the teams returned, however, Cincinnati sealed victory as Jimmy McLaughlin turned his defender well and curled home into the right corner of the net.
32’ – CIN – Djiby Fall
70 – CIN – Danni König (Djiby Fall)
86’ – CIN – Jimmy McLaughlin (Kenney Walker)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Cincinnati ended up with a comfortable victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders in front of another remarkable crowd at Nippert Stadium, but it took a little while to find its rhythm against another form side in the City Islanders. Once FCC came out of the first lightning delay and quickly took the lead, though, there seemed little doubt as to the outcome of the contest as the hosts posted an 8-2 advantage in shots on goal and produced a good display that keeps the positive momentum rolling into Monday night’s international exhibition with La Liga’s Valencia.
2. Harrisburg opened the game in the manner of a side that had won four of its last six games, but seemed to get thrown out of its rhythm by the opening lightning delay in the 27th minute, and was never quite the same side again as Cincinnati ended up cruising to a comfortable victory. The visitors should take some heart from the past week, though, having earned a point against the Charlotte Independence on Tuesday kept them in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. A short break to recuperate after a busy recent schedule should be useful before a return to action in what will be an important game against Orlando up next.
3. Cincinnati got to see what a lineup with both Djiby Fall and Danni Konig looked like on Saturday night, and with the chemistry between the two shown on the second goal of the game it might be a wrinkle that Head Coach Alan Koch is willing to utilize again in the future. With the race at the top of the Eastern Conference now starting to tighten, too, FCC might be in just the right place to challenge the sides now not too far away from its fifth-place position.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Djiby Fall, FC Cincinnati – Fall scored the opening goal, and provided a beautiful assist for the second as Cincinnati continued its surge up the Eastern Conference standings.
FC Cincinnati vs. Rochester Rhinos – July 29, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium
Harrisburg City Islanders at Orlando City B – Auguat 2, 7:30 p.m. ET, Orlando City Stadium