FC Cincinnati defeated Bethlehem Steel FC by a score of 2-1 on Saturday in front of 18,441 at a stormy Nippert Stadium. Recent acquisition Danni König scored a brace for the home side to secure the victory in only his second start for the club. König joined FC Cincinnati just ten days ago from OKC energy. The victory halts a five-game winless streak for Alan Koch’s team that has stretched back to April 19th.
In an interesting twist of USL scheduling, this was the third time these teams had met in the past month and a half. Bethlehem Steel FC won both of the last two contests in the month of April in the Lehigh Valley.
FC Cincinnati Halts Skid With Stormy Win Against Bethlehem Steel
For the first time this season, FC Cincinnati started the same 11 players that started the week prior. Bethlehem Steel FC made three changes to the lineup that won away against Toronto FC II last Saturday. Santi Moar got the start at left midfield and Ken Tribbett and Matt Hahoney made the first XI in defense.
An entertaining first half of play saw both teams with space to operate and attack the opposition’s goal. FC Cincinnati opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Winger and ex-Union player Jimmy McLaughlin found himself in space on the left flank. He dribbled straight for goal and just before he entered the box he curled a ball with the outside of his foot, into the path of Danni König. König leaned in and connected with a glancing header that sent the ball into the bottom right corner of goal.
15 minutes later, Steel FC equalized from the penalty spot. FC Cincinnati midfielder Aodhan Quinn was attempting to clear a ball out of the box and slipped during his kick. The ball squirted free and Bethlehem striker Seku Conneh gained possession. Quinn attempted to recover from his mistake but clipped Conneh’s heels, sending the striker to ground. A penalty was awarded and Conneh finished cooly with a drifted PK that sent FC Cincinnati keeper Mitch Hildebrandt the wrong way.
The first half ended in a 1-1 deadlock. FC Cincinnati had a slight possession advantage, but Steel FC led 8-5 in shots, and 4-1 in shots on target.
FC Cincinnati started as the aggressor and were rewarded seven minutes after the whistle blew. A long ball sent FC Cincinnati winger Kadeem Dacres free down the right side behind Bethlehem’s defense. He controlled the ball and pivoted back toward the center. He played an early pass for Danni König who was making a run to the top of the box. The Danish striker fired on goal but defender Hugh Roberts blocked the shot. It fell back to König who tried again with his left and this time found the net.
The teams exchanged attacks in what remained of the second half. Both sides created quality chances, but neither was able to add to their respective scoreline. FC Cincinnati made efforts to possess the ball and kill the clock. Steel FC looked dangerous on the counter when they won the ball back. As the match approached its end, mother nature intervened. The heavens opened and lightning followed. The match was stopped in the 89th minute for a lightning delay.
After 2 hours of delay, the contest was finally called by USL officials. Because 70 minutes were completed, the result stood and FC Cincinnati won by a 2-1 scoreline.
After a challenging first match for FC Cincinnati where he didn’t register a shot, Danni König certainly made an impact in his second game. When asked about König’s contribution, FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch said the following.
“Awesome. Danni is first class. He showed tonight what we know he’s capable of doing. Danni got rewarded for his efforts…last week he had only trained with the group for two days… He fed off some good service, but had the ability and the confidence to bag two goals.” [FC Cincinnati]
For Steel FC, they fall into ninth place and out of the playoff spots with the loss. They’ve won three and lost five after eight games played.
The second year Cincinnati team had only two wins from its first nine games heading into this match. The much-needed victory moves FC Cincinnati into sixth place on 12 points, eight points behind leaders Charleston Battery. They got revenge against a team that beat them twice, and will try to use the win as a platform to get their season on track after a slow start.
Photo credit: Orange and Blue Press / Joe Schmuck