Photo by James Tinnell
CINCINNATI -- A rare set piece error cost Louisville City FC on Wednesday night in its latest run at the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Former LouCity midfielder Aodhan Quinn played a corner kick into the box in the 49th minute, and striker Djiby Fall finished from close range after a deflection to lift FC Cincinnati to a 1-0 win in the latest chapter of the River Cities Cup rivalry.
LouCity had its share of chances in front of 6,519 at Nippert Stadium but failed to convert an equalizer with much a stake: the right to host Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew in the Open Cup’s Fourth Round.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to maybe go and play an MLS team,” said LouCity coach James O’Connor, “so I’m obviously bitterly disappointed to especially give up a goal like that from a set piece early in the second half. From our standpoint, it was a poor goal to give away.
“I was disappointed with the way it finished. Our passing let us down tonight at key times. We got into some good areas and some good positions, but then that final pass? It sort of went to begging for us, which is disappointing in such an important game.”
The teams tallied 22 fouls — 15 of them committed by FC Cincinnati — in another chippy meeting.
This contest followed a 1-1 draw between the two on April 22 when, in the final minutes, Fall was issued a red card and subsequently suspended by the United Soccer League for violent misconduct. Fall remained eligible in this competition, an annual knockout tournament that includes American soccer clubs at all levels, and was involved until substituted at in the 71st minute.
Where FC Cincinnati saw an addition to its offense, LouCity’s attack lost a threat in 16th minute when striker Luke Spencer left with what O’Connor called an apparent hamstring tweak. Ilija Ilic stepped on for his first extended minutes of the season in relief.
“I think it’s very frustrating,” said midfielder Guy Abend. “We played well, I think. For a lot of parts of the game we had complete control, especially in the second half. I would say there was a 20, 25-minute spell when we were all over them in the second half. We didn’t get the finishes today, and we lost a bit of focus on the corner kick when we conceded.”
LouCity appeared lively in response to the FC Cincinnati goal, though one of its own didn’t materialize. Three shots landed on frame in the first half but none in the second. Still, what appeared the best opportunity of the game flew in the 80th minute when Abend’s volleyed boot looped just high over the bar.
“I felt like we had more chances than they did,” said defender Oscar Jimenez. “It’s just the final third (of the field) again. Hesitation — not a good final pass or a final pass — that just cost us today. I wouldn’t say our effort wasn’t there. You watch the game and everybody was working hard. It was just that final third again.”
LouCity will look to regain scoring touch in its return to United Soccer League play. There’s a quick turnaround to Saturday’s road game against first-place Eastern Conference club Charleston Battery. Then it’s a return home June 7 against the Charlotte Independence at Slugger Field.
Match: FC Cincinnati vs. Louisville City FC
Date: May 31, 2017
Venue: Nippert Stadium
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m.
Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy
Men of the Match: Guy Abend and Paco Craig
FC Cincinnati (1,0,0)
Louisville City FC (0,0,0)
FC Cincinnati: 48’ Djiby Fall struck in a rebound off the corner kick.
FC Cincinnati: 1- Mitch Hildebrant, 2- Matt Bahner, 22- Austin Berry, 4- Harrison Delbridge, 32- Justin Hoyte (76’ 3- Tyler Polak), 5- Aodhan Quinn, 19- Corbin Bone, 23- Andrew Wiedeman (87’ 6- Kenney Walker), 7- Kadeem Dacres, 9- Djiby Fall (71’ 11- Danni König), 20- Jimmy McLaughlin
Subs not used: 30- Dallas Jaye, 21- Marco Dominguez, 80- Victor Mansaray, 8- Paul Nicholson
Head coach: Alan Koch
Louisville City FC:, 1- Greg Ranjitsingh 24- Kyle Smith, 18- Paco Craig, 6- Tarek Morad, 19- Oscar Jimenez, 8- Guy Abend, 36- Paolo DelPiccolo, 22- George Davis IV, 10- Brian Ownby (63’ 7- Mark-Anthony Kaye), 11- Niall McCabe (’63 23- Richard Ballard), 12- Luke Spencer (14’ 14- Ilija Ilic)
Subs not used: 28- Tim Dobrowolski, 13- Micah Blesoe, 15- Sean Reynolds, 4- Sean Totsch
Head coach: James O’Connor
FC Cincinnati: 27’ Harrison Delbridge – Yellow Card
38’ Djiby Fall – Yellow Card
90’ Tyler Polak – Yellow Card
Louisville City FC: 42’ Kyle Smith – Yellow Card
60’ – Guy Abend – Yellow Card
91’ – Paco Craig – Yellow Card
Head referee: Brandon Artis