This story originally ran for Major League Soccer on June 29, 2017
CINCINNATI — Mitch Hildebrandt stood alert on his goal line, waiting.
After two saves in the three previous penalty shootout attempts, Hildebrandt stared at Juninho.
“Honestly, I just try to react,” he said. “Mainly, I try to stand my ground.”
He did, diving to his left, parrying the ball for his third save. And then he made another reaction: a sprint to the corner to celebrate. (continue reading here)
This story originally ran in The Cincinnati Enquirer on July 26, 2016
Futbol Club Cincinnati’s biggest loss this season came Wednesday.
After taking the lead, a deflating 2-1 stumble to New York Red Bulls II widened the gap at the top of the United Soccer League Eastern Conference, with Cincinnati’s potential title hopes slipping away.
In the postgame press conference, goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt remained unperturbed. Saturday was coming, no need to worry, he said.
Saturday came, and when the final whistle came, Hildebrandt ran in a circle punching the air. Then he went high-fived fans and hugged family.
FC Cincinnati beat Louisville City FC 2-0 on Saturday at Nippert Stadium — the club’s biggest win against its biggest rival. (continue reading here)
This story originally ran in The Cincinnati Enquirer on July 22, 2016
The final minutes of Wednesday night’s game resembled more of the same for Futbol Club Cincinnati: Piece together a strong performance, only for it to slowly unravel as the evening unfolds.
If FC Cincinnati’s developed any poor trends, it’s been this: A cemented result that crumbles in the last moments.
And against New York Red Bulls II, the trend reappeared and the result crumbled once more, as FC Cincinnati fell 2-1 at Nippert Stadium. (continue reading here)
This story originally ran in The Cincinnati Enquirer on July 17, 2016
Leaving the field, Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew put on a white FC Cincinnati training top and beat his chest as he walked toward The Bailey.
He smiled and clapped in thankfulness before going over and acknowledging the Palace visiting supporters.
It was a meaningful gesture to Cincinnati and the manager alike. After the match, Pardew said he was stunned by the experience as 35,061 spectators came to see his English Premier League club beat Futbol Club Cincinnati 2-0 on Saturday night at Nippert Stadium. (continue reading here)
This story originally ran in The Cincinnati Enquirer on July 14, 2016
Six summers ago, Steve Parish fought the Bank of Scotland to save his childhood soccer club from the brink of extinction.
On Tuesday, fresh off an afternoon run in New York City, Parish seemed relaxed as that club is rumored to make its most expensive transfer signings in the team’s 111-year history in the coming weeks.
He owns Crystal Palace Football Club, a team based in London that plays in the English Premier League — the wealthiest sports league in the world.
And in those six years, “The Eagles” have transformed from a relegation-scrapper in the English second-tier to becoming a Premier League-bedrock now approaching their fourth year of consecutive seasons in the top flight. (continue reading here)
This story originally ran in The Cincinnati Enquirer on July 9, 2016
Futbol Club Cincinnati head coach John Harkes wanted a spark. Omar Cummings lit the fuse.
Following a loss Wednesday night that snapped an 11-match uneaten run, FC Cincinnati responded Saturday night with one of its best performances of the season: a 2-1 win over Saint Louis FC at World Wide Technology Soccer Park.
Much of that dominance came from forward Omar Cummings. (continue reading here)
This story originally ran in The Cincinnati Enquirer on July 3, 2016
Tyler Polak diving in front of a shot to block a potential late equalizer for Bethlehem summed up Futbol Club Cincinnati’s recent spell: gritty and persistent.
Following a 1-0 win against Bethlehem Steel FC on Saturday night at Nippert Stadium, FC Cincinnati now has a 11-match unbeaten streak.
For only playing 15 matches so far this United Soccer League campaign, the unbeaten run has catapulted the club into third place at the midway point this season. (continue reading here)
This story originally ran in The Cincinnati Enquirer on June 18, 2016
Two minutes changed everything.
Two goals in two minutes were enough to evaporate a dull first half and push Futbol Club Cincinnati past Toronto FC II 2-1 on Saturday night at Nippert Stadium.
Conceding a goal in the fourth minute to Toronto’s Raheem Edwards, Cincinnati played out a lackluster first half, looking sluggish and disoriented.
At the hour mark, however, Cincinnati took control of the match and ultimately preserved its fourth win in five games, improving the unbeaten record to nine. (continue reading here)
This story originally ran in The Cincinnati Enquirer on June 12, 2016
Sean Okoli turned toward The Bailey with his arms stretched out, basking in the spotlight.
Within Nippert Stadium’s rowdiest fan section, supporters celebrated and lit orange smoke bombs.
After smashing a one-time volley for his second goal of the match, the flashiest Futbol Club Cincinnati player was well aware he was midway through the best performance in the club’s brief history. (continue reading here)