After four years playing on the University of Cincinnati (UC) campus, FC Cincinnati (FCC) has closed its chapter at Nippert Stadium with a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night.
“It’s been some of the most fun games I’ve ever played in,” said goalkeeper Spencer Richey. “That’s due 100% to the supporters and the atmosphere they create, I hope from the bottom of my heart that going into West End Stadium, the supporters can get the results they deserve.”
As it has been much of the 2020 season, the story of the night was Cincinnati’s inability to score. The midfield and backline did a good job of keeping the ball under FCC’s control. Contrarily, they tended to keep the ball a bit too long.
Kansas City was able to patrol the midfield while sending many of its players back to defend, similar to the “park the bus” strategy, although having no lead to protect. The tactic made it difficult for FCC’s attacking front to create any separation or make any runs.
Nonetheless, they were able to conjure some chances. Despite controlling over 60% of the possession throughout the game, poor finishing continued to riddle the Lions. With 13 shots in total, only two of them were on target.
The best of which was a perfect chance that fell to the feet of Jurgen Locadia in the dying minutes of the first half. A beautifully placed through ball from left-back Zico Bailey gave Locadia the edge on his defender, but his left-footed strike was aimed straight at the keeper.
Locadia ended up taking four shots on the night, with the aforementioned opportunity being the only one to threaten the keeper.
“We can’t disguise everything by saying its bad luck,” said manager Jaap Stam. “It’s all about composure in front of goal, precision to finish it, it’s happened a lot this season, which costs us.”
Kansas City wasn’t much better in taking advantage of their chances, albeit a slim amount. Neither of their two shots were on target, and aside from little possession, the passing percentage was hovering in the low 70’s. As a result, the first half finished 0-0.
Sporting KC came out blazing in the second half, although lackluster execution initially continued to plague the visitors. Three successive crosses found their way out of play behind the net, while an attempted volley from Gerso was sent sky-high.
It wasn’t long until another chance was created, this time being played on the ground instead of a cross, which found Roger Espinoza in the middle of the box for the first and only goal of the game.
Two minutes later, Kansas City conceded a penalty in their own box. FCC’s sour finishing continued, however, as midfielder Siem de Jong stepped up to the spot only to hit the right post and miss the rebound chance.
FCC’s next game will be against Atlanta United as they visit Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. and will be available to watch on Star-64.