Photo courtesy Mark Guthrel / Saint Louis FC
FENTON, Mo. – Danni König scored a stoppage-time penalty kick to claim a 2-2 draw for FC Cincinnati against Saint Louis FC on Saturday night at Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis. Saint Louis got on the front foot early and created more chances in the opening 20 minutes, but were unable to seriously test FCC goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt. Seth Rudolph missed out on a good chance in the 26th minute when he spooned his finish high when alone 16 yards from goal. Cincinnati’s first good chance arrived in the 33rd minute when Andrew Wiedeman shot just wide of the right post, while Jimmy McLaughlin fired a dipping effort that went just over the crossbar two minutes later as the visitors came into the game. The hosts took the lead three minutes before the halftime break, however, as Rudolph drove past his defender and fired into the top-right corner of the net. Cincinnati almost pulled level just before the halftime break as Matt Bahner’s low shot was well saved by STLFC goalkeeper Devala Gorrick, but just before the hour-mark Saint Louis doubled its lead as Christian Volesky converted from the penalty spot after a handball by FCC defender Harrison Delbridge. Cincinnati was spurred into greater attacking endeavor by the goal, and almost pulled one back as Austin Berry’s header was tipped over the crossbar by Gorrick, but off the ensuing corner a half-cleared delivery was sent back with interest by Corben Bone in the 70th minute for his second goal in as many games for FCC. The visitors were denied an equalizer with nine minutes to go when Djiby Fall was called for a foul as he tried to knock down a header for König to finish, and Gorrick came up big for Saint Louis in stoppage time to deny a fierce shot by McLaughlin as FCC pressed numbers forward. In stoppage time, however, McLaughlin was brought down by Gorrick as he broke into the penalty area on a breakaway, and König converted to grab a dramatic late point.
42’ – STL – Seth Rudolph
59’ – STL – Christian Volesky (penalty)
70’ – CIN – Corben Bone
90+’ – CIN – Danni König (penalty)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Saint Louis had far better energy, and as a result the far better chances to take the lead in the opening half-hour, but as Cincinnati began to come into the game the hosts had yet to find the breakthrough. That changed three minutes before halftime as Seth Rudolph again produced an outstanding moment to give STLFC a halftime lead. Rudolph has been by far the most important player in Saint Louis’ efforts to remain in the race for the playoffs, and on Saturday came through again when his team needed a mental boost.
2. If Cincinnati’s performance against the New York Red Bulls II was a step forward, its first-half display on Saturday showed signs of another regression in a season that has seen inconsistency put the side in the situation it currently faces. There were good moments, certainly, but overall there wasn’t a consistent enough threat from the visitors to build on its big win a week ago. FCC emerged with a point thanks to Danni König’s late penalty kick as Cincinnati’s late pressure paid off deep in stoppage time, but the side will likely know on another night it may not have been so fortunate.
3. Saint Louis knew it needed victory on Saturday night to maintain a viable path to the postseason, but on top of that it certainly felt like there was a point of pride at stake tonight for Head Coach Preki’s side. After being held scoreless and conceding six goals in both of its prior meetings with Cincinnati this season, Saint Louis came within a whisker of claiming a victory that would have given it a major mental boost ahead of its trip to the Harrisburg City Islanders. Instead, it will be left to wonder what might have been.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Danni König, FC Cincinnati - König made a strong impact after coming on as a second-half substitute, and kept his cool from the penalty spot to earn the visitors a vital point in their pursuit of the playoffs.
Saint Louis FC at Harrisburg City Islanders – September 30, 7 p.m. ET, FNB Field
FC Cincinnati at Charlotte Independence – September 29, 7 p.m. ET, Sportsplex at Matthews