Match Recap: FC Cincinnati 2 - New England Revolution 0


Sunday, March 24, 2019
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

FC Cincinnati (1-1-1) vs. New England Revolution (0-2-1)

Let's talk about the USL.

Remember how FC Cincinnati brought too many USL players up to MLS? Here in Week 4 of 2019, FCC were forced to rely on three of those players in the starting 11, and beat the New England Revolution 2-0 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Cincinnati had five players called up for International duty: Kendall Waston and Allan Cruz for Costa Rica, Darren Mattocks and Alvas Powell for Jamaica, and Frankie Amaya for the U.S. U20 squad. With Fanendo Adi still out due to an ankle injury suffered during last week's home opener, the Orange and Blue were missing 5 starters from the previous two weeks.

That meant it was time for some of those USL players to show their mettle. Coming as no surprise to anyone in the Queen City who watched FC Cincinnati crush the USL in 2018, those three players rose to the challenge.

Spencer Richey started the 2018 USL season as the backup goalkeeper for FC Cincinnati behind Evan Newton, winning the starting job in the last third of the season. He started the 2019 MLS season as backup to Polish International Przemyslaw Tyton, who suffered a hamstring injury after Week 1. Richey, in goal for the third straight week, posted his second clean sheet in as many weeks. He’s given up just one goal in three matches, and has not surrendered another in over 270 minutes going back to the 5' of the Atlanta game. His two critical back-to-back saves in the 60' took away the two best chances New England had in the match, and are showing up on every Week 4 highlight reel.

Forrest Lasso stepped in for team captain Kendall Waston at Center Back and the back line that's been one of FCC's keys to success the past three weeks didn't miss a beat (another clean sheet). He had almost a dozen clearances leading the team, and continued to perform at the level that earned him USL Defender of the Year in 2018.

With both Adi and Mattocks out for this match, Cincinnati turned to 2018 USL MVP Emmanuel Ledesma to step in as striker at the top of the 4-4-2 along with Kekuta Manneh. He had a dangerous free kick in the 39' that bent over the wall and would have curved into the top corner for a goal if not for a spectacular save by New England Goalkeeper Brad Knighton. His cross in 64' set up Kekuta Manneh for a quick assist to Kenny Saief for the Orange & Blue's second goal of the game.

All three players had a direct impact on the game and the win, proving once again that the FCC front office knew exactly what they were doing when they brought those players to the MLS. It was made clear they were brought on to offer depth, and they've pulled that off in spades.

Ledesma pulls off more than just spades here.

Ledesma pulls off more than just spades here.

Spencer Richey is looking like one of the premier GKs in the league the past three weeks, and appears to be making a strong case to keep the job when Przemyslaw Tyton returns from injury. Both Lasso and Ledesma more than held their own in a game in which FCC looked like the better, more organized side all day.

So, yeah, those USL guys, am I right? But, I digress.

Kenny Saief and Kekuta Manneh exercised a bit of quid pro quo, each assisting the other on both of FC Cincinnati’s goals. With 43:10 on the clock, Manneh scored FCC's first goal on a give-and-go with Saief serving up the assist from the left side.

A corner kick from Ledesma with 64 minutes gone was deflected back to him. He crossed it back into the box, where Menneh with a quick, subtle touch, tapped it onto the right shin of Kenny Saief, who shifted his leg at precisely the right moment to redirect the ball into the back of the net. Manneh and Saief already looking like they've developed a creative mind-meld with each other both earned MLS Team of the Week honors. (I understand that a wacky-buddy-cop movie is already in development.

Greg Garza gets his first start at Left Back, and earned a Team of the Week nod, as well. His speed in both the attack and defense created havoc in New England's lines. Ulloa and Bertone continue to frustrate middle attackers with solid defense, and precise, transition counter passes that send the fast break at lightning speed into the opponent's third. Adding to that counter the speed of Garza and aggressive runs by Deplagne, it's no wonder teams are looking more and more reluctant to press Cincinnati up high.  

Alan Koch takes home Coach of the Week honors for the second straight week, finding a way to win on the road missing five starters. His team now has 7 points through four weeks, good enough for second place in the Eastern Conference. Though it’s early in the season, that’s not bad work from another one of those USL guys just trying to fit in, am I right?

FC Cincinnati is back home versus the Philadelphia Union this Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 PM. Fresh off a 3-0 thrashing of that Yellow Team Up North, the Union look to keep their momentum going with the dangerous attack of blockbuster, off-season DP signing Marco Fabian, and Forward David Accam.

FC Cincinnati Starting Lineup (4-4-2):
Spencer Richey (G), Greg Garza (D), Forrest Lasso (D), Nick Hagglund (D), Mathieu Deplagne (D), Victor Ulloa (M), Leonardo Bertone (M), Roland Lamah (M), Kenny Saief (M), Kekuta Manneh (F), Emmanuel Ledesma (F) Substitutes: Eric Alexander 77’, Caleb Stanko 81', Corben Bone 90+1’

New England Revolution Starting Lineup (4-3-3):
Brad Knighton (G), Brandon Bye (D), Antonio Delamea Mlinar (D), Michael Mancienne (D), Edgar Castillo (D), Cristian Penilla (M), Luis Caicedo (M), Wilfried Zahibo (M), Carles Gil (F),

Teal Bunbury (F), Diego Fagundez (F) Substitutes: Scott Caldwell 53′, Juan Caicedo 66′, Dejuan Jones 78′

FC Cincinnati Goals:
Kekuta Manneh 44’

Kenny Saief 65’

Steve Haldeman