Tuesday, July 3, 2018

From the Pitch

I had the opportunity to join the incredibly talented Alex Vehr for this past weekend's FC Cincinnati match. It was great to have a new perspective on a game and get back to photographing soccer while first place FC Cincinnati took on Ottawa Fury FC at Nippert Stadium.

The home side would end up coming away with a win and three points after 99 minutes of play.

Per usual, the supporters march that grows from Mecklenburg Gardens took over W Charlton St. before the smoke filled corteo outside the stadium.

- Supporters march heading towards The Bailey.

- FC Cincinnati's Blake Smith defensively heads off a ball from the crowded goal area.

- Kenney Walker

- Justin Hoyte and Kenney Walker.

- FC Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch.

- Goalkeeper Evan Newton.

- Nazmi Albadawi.

- Forrest Lasso.

FC Cincinnati jumped ahead at 16 minutes as The Bailey and surrounding stands erupted. Near the close of the first half, some words were exchanged between both teams, Ottawa's Dixon receiving a conversation from the official.

- Emmanuel Ledesma heads off at the half.

- Emmanuel Ledesma

- FC Cincinnati Captain Dekel Keinan.

- Emmanuel Ledesma.

- Emmanuel Ledesma.

- Corben Bone, an FC Cincinnati original.

- Emmanuel Ledesma.

The night's official attendance rang in at 27,107. FC Cincinnati currently leads the United Soccer League in attendance with an average of 24,953 through Week 16. While FCC won't be in Major League Soccer until 2019, their current average at Nippert Stadium would place them third in MLS average attendance behind Atlanta and Seattle, ahead of Toronto, LA Galaxy, Orlando, and New York City FC.

- Jimmy McLaughlin and Emery Welshman.

- Welshman and McLaughlin.

- Jimmy McLaughlin.

Another original from the inaugural 2016 squad, Jimmy McLaughlin has become a fan favorite. The crowd roared when he was subbed on for Emmanuel Ledesma at the 78th minute. Nazmi Albadawi gave FCC some insurance with a second goal in stoppage time. While the goal didn't come from Jimmy, "The Only Good to Come From Penn" wasted no time congratulating his teammates.

- Jimmy McLaughlin.

- Corben Bone, another 2016 original, has been having a great 2018 season.

Someone who I've really enjoyed watching play this season is Emery Welshman. From his swagger on the road in Indianapolis to this past weekend's match against Ottawa, he's been a great addition to this club in my opinion.

- Welshman.

Ottawa Fury FC have had better seasons. Founded in 2011, the team first took the pitch in 2014 as an expansion franchise in the now dormant, second incarnation of the North American Soccer League, going on to win that league's 2015 Fall Season. In 2017, the club jumped ship to the United Soccer League and became an affiliate of MLS' Montreal Impact. They missed the playoffs in 2017 and have spent the majority of 2018 towards the bottom of the USL East table. FC Cincinnati defeated Ottawa 3-0 on the road back in April. That match featured an amazing Kenney Walker goal from 40 yards out that landed on the No. 1 spot of ESPN Sports Center's "top ten."

Despite the rough first half of the 2018 season, the visitors from Ottawa had come into Nippert on this particular evening fresh off a dominant league victory over New York Red Bulls II and two wins in the Canadian Championship preliminary round. Goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau lead the USL in clean sheets at 7 and hadn't given up a goal in Fury FC's las three matches. That all changed when FCC's Danni König and Nazmi Albadawi found the back of the net, further entrenching Cincinnati's place at the top of the USL Eastern Conference.

FC Cincinnati heads to Nashville this weekend and I can't wait to head down there with everyone.

Thanks for the opportunity to catch this match from the sidelines, Alex.

- FC Cincinnati Owner and CEO Carl Lindner III thanks fans in The Bailey following the victory.

- Danni König and his son greet fans while exiting the stadium.

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