FC Cincinnati interim head coach Yoann Damet’s honeymoon quickly came to a crashing halt on Sunday as the expansion side fell, 5-1, on its visit to Orlando City SC.
Coming into the match, Damet’s options were limited. Early mainstay Leo Bertone and last week’s game-winning goalscorer Fatai Alashe were both left behind with hamstring injuries, leading goalscorer Allan Cruz was out with an ankle injury, and the versatile Roland Lamah was away to take care of family matters.
The afternoon looked grim early for The Orange and Blue as veteran defender Greg Garza was stretchered off the field inside the first ten minutes with a calf injury that has plagued much of his season so far.
FC Cincinnati has gone 0-6-0 on the season when Garza has been absent.
“For sure, there is an impact when you start players, that’s because there’s a thought behind it,” Damet said.
“Listen, we played one man down for maybe five minutes, I didn’t look at my watch. I think it is difficult when you play one man down for five minutes to get your head straight and keep analyzing the game. So, I think the guys did a great job during these five minutes, being tight, compact and then defending, but for sure it is an adjustment. We had the opportunity to make the sub with Alvas [Powell] and again it is 11 against 11,”
“It takes a bit of time to get back to the game plan and to really take the concept that we wanted to see.”
Despite the early setback, Cincy managed to stay competitive early in the first half and tallied the first goal of the game, thanks to a brilliant strike from Darren Mattocks in the 24th minute.
Orlando equalized in the 37th and went on to register a goal at least every 18 minutes after, and Cincy was unable to stop the bleeding.
Aside from Garza, perhaps the most painful part of the match for FC Cincinnati came in the 50th minute for the first of two Nani goals. Nani was set up with a penalty kick after Kendall Waston carelessly ripped down Orlando’s Lamine Sané while defending a corner.
The lack of restraint from the captain facilitated Orlando going up 2-1, and not looking back.
“I was involved, obviously, in that situation, but he fell down on me. I know the referee, he is following instructions. I spoke with him and he is a really good referee, a nice guy, and obviously, he has to follow what they tell him.” Waston said.
Already subject to be suspended under next caution, Waston may be in trouble later in the week when the league issues out retrospective punishments as the defender somehow avoided taking a yellow card on the play.
Cincinnati remains in the cellar of the Eastern Conference as it moves to 3-2-8, 12 pts.
While the expansion side has broken the recent goal-scoring slump, health and clean sheets will be the focus as the club pivots to preparing for the New York Red Bulls’ visit to Nippert Stadium on Saturday.