FC Cincinnati players celebrate a goal in a Fourth Round match vs. Louisville City in the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: FC Cincinnati
One-time league rivals met in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the first time since FC Cincinnati made their jump to Major League Soccer. The USL Championship’s defending champs in Louisville City made the roughly 100 mile trek with around 200 supporters to Nippert Stadium to face a Cincinnati club struggling to make its mark at the top level. While the match did end up in added extra time, despite Louisville City’s best effort, FCC pulled out the 2-1 victory with a header by Kekuta Manneh in the 104th minute.
Coming into the match, the all-time series had four wins apiece and two draws. Their last meeting in the Open Cup was a 1-0 FCC victory in the 2017 tourney’s third round.
Cincinnati’s Fanendo Adi would open scoring in the 23rd minute. Frankie Amaya cleared the ball far into Louisville’s end, where defender Paco Craig bobbled it near the far left corner of the box. Adi streaked in behind Craig, who fell in the struggle for the ball, and put the shot right between the keeper’s leg and into the net. This was Adi’s first goal in 2019.
Louisville would strike back in the 30th minute after capitalizing off a bad attempt to clear the ball from traffic in front of the Cincinnati goal. The defender kicked the ball toward the left edge of the box where Magnus Rasmussen broke away to gain possession and made the pass to Lucky Mkosana in front who tapped it past the keeper Przemyslaw Tyton.
The second half saw the teams trade momentum. Louisville came out aggressive early, collapsing in on FCC’s end. Mkosana nearly had a second goal on a couple plays including a cross from Taylor Peay in the 55th that just went wide right. Cincinnati’s best chance in the half came in the 86’ minute. Under pressure, Alexis Souahy sent hurriedly sent the ball back to the keeper for a clearance, but the ball was too far out for Hubbard, sending him sliding to save it from going out and ending up in a Cincinnati corner. Frankie Amaya seized upon the rebound, but Hubbard was able to dive back the other way and deflected the ball enough that Paco Craig ran in and cleared it off the line. The teams would go into the Added Extra Time tied at 1.
In the 104th minute, Emmanuel Ledesma fought for a ball off a goal kick and outran his defender to gain possession near the right Louisville corner. Hesitating for a few seconds to draw defenders in, he then sent a cross wide where a streaking Manneh connected with a header for the eventual game winner.
FC Cincinnati advance to the Round of 16 where they will face another former league rival in Saint Louis FC of USL Championship on the road on June 19. The winner will play a road game in the Quarterfinals against the winner of Atlanta United and Columbus Crew in the Quarterfinals.