Match Recap: FC Cincinnati 0 - Real Salt Lake 3

Match Recap: FC Cincinnati 0 - Real Salt Lake

Steve Haldeman

Friday, April 19, 2019 Nipper Stadium, Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati (2-3-2) vs. Real Salt Lake (2-4-1)


Hard times.

As much as we are literally writing the history of FC Cincinnati's inaugural MLS season, the team's 3-0 loss at home to Real Salt Lake was a Friday night to forget.

Yet another chilly match under a light drizzle, the Orange & Blue failed to get a result at home against a team that was not their toughest test to date. Three points seemed a likely outcome heading into the weekend, even one point would have at least offered a ray of hope. It was not to be, however.

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Although Cincinnati once again played a solid game overall, RSL was able to score two goals on deflected balls in the 18-yard box in the span of 5 minutes just before halftime. The visitors knocked in one more on a penalty kick in the 59' to seal the deal.

Once again, FC Cincinnati created chances with 14 shots, 13 corners (9 in the first half alone), and they held possession well against the defense-minded visitors. Once again, though, the goals did not come. There was a stark contrast between Real Salt Lake's right-place-at-the-right-time goals versus Cincinnati's continued inability to find the back of the net despite a plethora of tries.

The last time the Orange & Blue scored a goal in the course of regular play was back on March 24 at New England. If they do finally manage one at their next match--away at the New Jersey Red Bulls on April 27--it would end a dry spell in wet weather that will have lasted over a month.

On one hand, it's easy to point to the lack of depth up front with injuries and disciplinary actions limiting offensive options. On the other hand, it's not that the opportunities haven’t been there. In the end, execution is execution. Someone simply needs to put the ball away, period. That seems a lot easier said than done recently, as slumps in any sport tend to feed on themselves.

These hard times are inevitable for an expansion team in any sport, not that it makes it any easier to swallow. The next stretch of three straight away games suddenly seems like a longer road than it did a few weeks ago. This rough patch is going to be a test of resolve for both the team and the fans.

In his post-game interview Coach Alan Koch pointed out that "the first eight games have unfolded exactly how we thought they would. We're an expansion team. We're a new team in a new league trying to step up... and to have got what we've got through the first eight games is an okay start.

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"We've had some good moments, and we've had some bad moments, and the bad moments like tonight suck. Tonight sucks. This is not fun, but this is what we've signed up for. We signed up coming into the MLS with such a short window that we were going to have moments like this, so when they do transpire, don't go jump off the ship. We're all going to stay on the ship together, and the fans will stay on the ship with us."

It might feel to some fans like this is the maiden voyage of the Titanic, but that's neither reasonable nor accurate. Cincinnati sports fans can be forgiven for healthy skepticism, and an unhealthy phobia of sports mediocrity. However, it's also important to remember that this organization and fan base have shown extraordinary resilience and grit in a meteoric rise to the highest level of soccer in the United States.

This is a stormy stretch on a very, very long voyage to brighter shores. This is not a time for fair weather fans. It's a time to demand better results from the team, and renewed support from the fans in the face of adversity. It’s rally time.

FC Cincinnati Starting Lineup (4-3-2-1):

Spencer Richey (G), Alvas Powell (D), Nick Hagglund (D), Kendall Waston (D), Mathieu Deplagne (D), Victor Ulloa (M), Leonardo Bertone (M), Allan Cruz (M), Kenny Saief (M), Roland Lamah (M), Darren Mattocks (F) Substitutes: Kekuta Manneh 67’, Caleb Stanko 77’, Fatai Alashe 77’

RSL Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1):

Andrew Putna (G), Nedum Onuhoa (D), Justin Glad (D), Donny Toia (D), Aaron Herrera (D), Albert Rusnák (M), Damir Kreilach (M), Kyle Beckerman (M), Corey Baird (M), Jefferson Savarino (M) Sam Johnson (F) Substitutes: Sebastian Saucedo 74′, Nick Besler 87’, Joao Plata 91′

RSL Goals:
Albert Rusnák 42’

Sam Johnson 47’

Albert Rusnák 59’

Steve Haldeman