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Heavy rains, Philadelphia Union combine to dowse FC Cincinnati

Mar 30, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey (18) stands in net as the rain falls in the game against the Philadelphia Union in the first half at Nippert Stadium. (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

CINCINNATI — A pair of second-half goals allowed visiting Philadelphia Union to hand FC Cincinnati a 2-0 loss on a wet and windy Saturday night in Ohio. 

Returning to Cincinnati for just its second home fixture of the campaign, FCC entered the match unbeaten in three games and riding a two-match winning streak. And though the sides entered the locker rooms scoreless at the half, things quickly unraveled for the hosts during the second 45 minutes. 

Marco Fabián grabbed his second goal of the campaign early in the second half, beating Spencer Richey in the 47th-minute. And 11 minutes later, David Accam capitalized on a sloppy FC Cincinnati defense to double the Philadelphia lead. 

Miserable conditions for all

Both sides suffered through heavy rains throughout the match, though the threat of prematch thunderstorms never materialized. Gusts of wind whipped through the ponchos in the stands like orange and blue waves, regularly impacting play as well. Temperatures dropped nearly 20 degrees from kickoff to the final whistle. But as FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch admitted, the rough conditions didn’t seem to hamper Philadelphia too much.  

“The guys were frozen,” Koch said at a short and chilly post-match presser. “Before I even had a chance to speak to the team, a few of the players were in the shower in their full kits. But the weather is the same for both teams. It doesn’t impact the result. Philly just came out there ready to play, and they deserved the three points tonight.”

The Union were dominant throughout the proceedings, and posted sizable advantages in shots, corners, passes completed and possession. And unsurprisingly, the final scoreline reflected that advantage.

For midfielder Caleb Stanko, a 71st-minute substitute, the weather was less of a concern than Philadelphia’s dominance in midfield.

“Of course the weather is a factor but both teams had to play into that,” said Stanko. “I thought because they played with four in the middle, the diamond, it was hard for our two center mids because they were just overloading the middle. I thought we did better in the second half with that but Philly did a good job.”

The lingering impact of the international window

FC Cincinnati did well to manage missing five players through international duty in last Sunday’s 2-0 win at New England. And all had returned to Cincinnati in time to be considered for selection on Saturday. But only three would play a part in the loss to the Union. Most notably, captain Kendall Waston was entirely absent from the matchday 18 after reaggravating a calf knock picked up while with Costa Rica.

And though he bemoaned the impact of international call-ups, Koch refused to place blame on them entirely. 

“We are going to have international breaks were we are going to be scrambling with players and we are going to try and get them back as quickly as possible.” Koch continued, “But it’s not easy to deal with players coming back late and having to deal with these injuries.  It definitely impacted how we about our business today because we didn’t have an entire week to prepare ourselves. But that’s not an excuse, that’s just a factor.”

Waston wasn’t the only impact player missing, though. Emmanuel Ledesma was sidelined by a hamstring issue after making his first MLS start last week. Both forward Fanendo Adi and goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń remained out of action due to their ongoing recoveries. And curiously, Kenny Saief started on the bench after registering two goals and an assist in his last two outings. 

A silver lining

There was one bright spot for for Koch on the evening, however.

Frankie Amaya made his professional debut, coming on as a 76th-minute substitute. And the call-up to the United States under-20 national team might have given the 20-year-old midfielder a boost in confidence ahead of Saturday night.

His manager was impressed, especially given the difficult environment. “I think he went a did a good job of helping us possess the ball and trying to maintain and secure possession,” said Koch describing Amaya’s cameo. “But [coming on with the team down 0-2] obviously is a difficult moment for a young kid to go in and play his first professional game. But we’re happy with how he went in and I’m sure he’ll learn from this and he’ll grow and continue to push him.”

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