Djiby’s return helps lift FC Cincinnati over Louisville City FC


Photo credit: FC Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — A potent striker returned to the FC Cincinnati lineup Wednesday night and immediately provided his club a huge boost. If you’re looking for a corny pop culture reference, you could say FC Cincy was “Gettin’ Djiby Wit It.”

With a spot in the next round of the U.S. Open Cup against Columbus Crew SC on the line, FC Cincinnati downed Louisville City FC 1-0 on Djiby Fall’s lone tally in a game that was as skillful as it was physical. And with guys incessantly dropping to the turf all evening, that’s saying a lot about the skill level.

“For me, goals are my job,” Djiby said after the match.

Both clubs featured lineups closely resembling their best XIs, with a few exceptions. Mark-Anthony Kaye, whom was recently called up to the Canada national team, got a rest from the Louisville City starting XI. A few other regulars for both teams were also absent from the starting lineups.

Lou City came out in its usual 4-2-3-1 formation, only with a tactical wrinkle thrown in. Left back Oscar Jimenez essentially played as a left midfielder, often getting up the flank in order to exploit FC Cincy’s thinly spread midfield in a 4-3-3. The move worked for the most part, which forced FC Cincy coach Alan Koch to pay a little extra defensive attention to that side of the pitch.

Jimmy McLaughlin nearly helped the home side strike first halfway through the opening stanza, but his effort from right in front of the goal was deflected by a Lou City defender then saved by goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh. Niall McCabe returned the favor in first-half stoppage time, almost scoring on a low, well-placed shot destined for the side netting, but FC Cincy ‘keeper Mitch Hildebrandt parried it away.

After the break, FC Cincy quickly opened the scoring in the 48th minute when Djiby buried a rebound on a set piece after Ranjitsingh made a diving stop on the initial shot. Djiby, still amidst a multi-game USL suspension for biting an opponent, was eligible to play since the contest was a non-league match. He turned in a solid performance in his return and was a sporadic threat in and around the box.

Rather than panic and force long balls up field, Lou City used quick one and two-touch passes in the midfield to try to equalize. In the end though, its sharp passing couldn’t produce a goal, and the home side held on for the 1-nil win.

“It’s a Cup game,” said FC Cincy coach Alan Koch. “We’re playing at home. We’re obviously playing a local rival. They went all in too.”

The postgame handshake between the Koch and Lou City coach James O’Connor wasn’t exactly an exchange of pleasantries. Here it is courtesy of Twitter user @UCBearcats:

FC Cincinnati now gets to host another U.S. Open Cup match at Nippert Stadium with Crew SC coming to town on June 14.

“It’s exciting for us as a club and as a city to get to host Columbus Crew next round,” Koch added.

You can follow Kevin on Twitter @KJboxing.

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