It was a frustrating night for FC Cincinnati (FCC) and its fans Friday after the team suffered a lopsided 3-0 loss at the hands of Real Salt Lake. It was a bitter defeat for FCC — not only due to the score line, but also because of the disproportionate chances for goals.
FCC fell to 2-4-2 in its inaugural season in Major League Soccer (MLS).
Both FCC and Salt Lake were wearing special edition jerseys made by a crossover initiative between the MLS and Parley. These designs were constructed from Parley Ocean Plastic to celebrate Earth Day and raise awareness for the pollution affecting Earth’s oceans.
Unfortunately, the special kits did not translate into a special performance for FCC.
During the match, FCC gave itself many opportunities, but the team was ultimately unable to capitalize. FCC had twice as many shots as Real Salt Lake with nothing to show for it. Of the team’s 14 shots, only one was on target — a header attempt by midfielder Allan Cruz.
At the beginning of each half, FCC controlled the pitch by maintaining possession and not allowing Salt Lake to get into the final third. Despite these efforts, each play fell apart by a poor attempt on goal or a badly placed pass, and Salt Lake took advantage.
Salt Lake’s first attacking effort was lackluster. It seemed tentative and uncoordinated, returning the ball to FCC and struggling to regain possession. Toward the end of the first half, the team’s efforts were rewarded with two rebound goals that baffled FCC.
Especially frustrated was FCC midfielder Kenny Saief — one of a handful of FCC players trying desperately to put something together on the offensive end. After being aggressively tackled several times with no call from the ref, Saief couldn’t help but display his frustration on the pitch; calling after the ref and repeatedly challenging Salt Lake players.
“Kenny is an emotional guy — I think it’s one of his biggest strengths,” FCC head coach Alan Koch said. “Of course he got frustrated, every player got frustrated, I got frustrated … I don’t have any problem with him showing visual signs of frustration, that’s just who he is … I think if we would’ve scored earlier in tonight’s game, you wouldn’t have seen it.”
When a penalty was awarded to Salt Lake in the second half, center back Kendall Waston took action by removing the ball from the penalty spot in an effort to encourage the referee to take another look at the call. The ref wasn’t having it. Instead, Watson was awarded a yellow card.
With boos filling the stadium as Salt Lake’s Albert Rusnak lined up to take the penalty, the attacking midfielder slotted the ball into the top left corner, making the score 3-0.
FCC returns to Nippert Stadium May 11 with a match against the Montreal Impact at 1 p.m.