Andrew Wiedeman scored in the 39th minute, while Sean Okoli added a goal in the 59th minute as FC Cincinnati knocked off Eastern Conference leader Louisville City FC, 2-0, Saturday at Nippert Stadium.
A crowd of 20,051 – the fourth crowd of more than 20,000 to witness an FC Cincinnati home match this season – survived air temperatures that reached triple digits as well as accompanying high humidity and cheered FC Cincinnati on to its first win of the season over a team in the top four of the conference standings. FC Cincinnati (11-4-4) retains its hold on third place in the conference with 37 points, five behind Louisville City and four points back of second place New York Red Bulls II.
Louisville City had won the first matchup of the season, 3-2, at Nippert Stadium on April 16, while the teams played to a 0-0 draw in Louisville on June 25. FC Cincinnati won the inaugural River Cities Cup based on a 4-3 aggregate.
FC Cincinnati was 0-3-1 against Louisville City, NYRB II and Charleston Battery before Saturday.
“As a coach you’re always looking for key moments that define your season,” said FC Cincinnati manager John Harkes. “Today was a demonstration of our growth and maturity.”
Goalie Mitch Hildebrandt was credited with three saves as he and the FC Cincinnati defense recorded their first shutout since a 1-0 win against Bethlehem Steel FC on July 2. Louisville City outshot FC Cincinnati 15-10 overall but FC Cincinnati put seven of its shots on target.
Both of FC Cincinnati’s goals came off of set pieces.
FC Cincinnati had a 1-0 lead on NYRB last Wednesday before conceding two goals after the 80th minute to lose 2-1. Allowing late goals has been an issue the first-year club has battled much of this season, but it held off repeated Louisville City advances to gain this win. Louisville City entered the game tied for the USL lead with 37 goals and has the league’s top goal scorer in Chandler Hoffman (14) on its roster.
This was the third match in eight days for FC Cincinnati.
“The boys really showed a lot of grit today. It shows a bit of character when we are able to finish off the week right,” said defender Harrison Delbridge. “We’re just going to try to stay even-keeled and move on to the next one.”
That next match comes next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Nippert Stadium against Charleston Battery
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