USL Match Report by Nicholas Murray
CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati thrilled a crowd of 16,097 fans at Nippert Stadium with a goal in either half to take a 2-0 win against the City Islanders on Saturday night, extending their undefeated streak to six games. Andrew Wiedeman gave Cincinnati (6-2-2, 20pts) the lead in the 19th minute with an excellent strike from 25 yards that dipped into the top-left corner of the net. The City Islanders (4-6-1, 13pts) were reduced to 10 men eight minutes into the second half when forward Aaron Wheeler was sent off for an elbow to Cincinnati’s Harrison Delbridge, but almost grabbed an equalizer through Shawn McLaws on a hesitant pass back that Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt did enough to smother. Cincinnati wrapped up victory with a minute to go, however, as Antoine Hoppenot was brought down in the penalty area, and Sean Okoli made no mistake from the penalty spot.
19’ – CIN – Andrew Wiedeman (Pat McMahon)
89’ – CIN – Sean Okoli (PK)
Three Things That Matter:
- One of the Cincinnati’s strengths is the number of attacking options opponents have to keep an eye on, and on Saturday night a small lapse proved costly for the City Islanders as Andrew Wiedeman dropped into space just outside the penalty area and then unleashed a fine shot into the top-left corner of the net from the right channel. Wiedeman is one of four players to have recorded multiple goals this season for Cincinnati, which has seen nine different players score overall.
- While Cincinnati was ahead at the halftime break, Harrisburg certainly could have gone into the locker rooms on level terms if not for a strong performance in goal by Cincinnati’s Mitch Hildebrandt. Cincinnati made an important halftime adjustment to move the point of defensive confrontation higher up the field, and while Hildebrandt was again called upon in the second half, the hosts were able to dictate the game much more even before Aaron Wheeler’s red card.
- The higher point of confrontation by Cincinnati meant that Harrisburg’s strong creative midfielders Paul Wilson and Jose Barril weren’t able to find as much space in the second half as in the first, and the visitors going down to 10 men was another big blow as Harrisburg looked to build on back-to-back wins. Wilson’s close control and cleverness were again on display, though, as the diminutive 22-year-old continued to build his reputation in the USL.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Mitch Hildebrandt, FC Cincinnati – As integral as Andrew Wiedeman was in attack, Hildebrandt’s four first-half saves were key to his side going into the break ahead at the break. His big second-half stop of Shawn McLaws was also important as Cincinnati recorded back-to-back shutouts in league play.\
June 1: USOC Round 3 at Chattanooga FC, 7:30 p.m.
June 3: Harrisburg City Islanders at Wilmington Hammerheads FC, 7 p.m. ET, Legion Stadium