FC Cincy wants to put opponents away earlier


FC CINCINNATI (6-2-3) VS. FC MONTREAL (1-9-0)

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: The University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium

Tickets: $5 for college students, $10 for "The Bailey" passionate fans section, $12 youth/clubs, Zone 1 $20, Zone 2 $25. Club seats available through season ticket sales only.

Parking: $10 in campus garages, some limited to passes only

TV/radio: Watch on Local 12 or listen on ESPN 1530 AM

Early in the season, FC Cincinnati coach John Harkes expressed concerns about the number of late-game goals his defense was allowing.

The club, for the most part, corrected that issue after surrendering goals in the 90th minute or later in each of the first three matches.

However, FCC still has been unable to put games away early, and Harkes seems to be growing more and more concerned with the inability to execute on more chances offensively. Last weekend, Cincinnati settled for a draw with Richmond after giving up the equalizer in the 94th minute.

FCC (6-2-3) continues to seek improvement in that regard this weekend when it hosts last-place FC Montreal (1-9-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Nippert Stadium.

“We’re creating some great chances early on, sometimes we’re just unlucky not to be 2- or 3-nil up,” Harkes said. “But, when you don’t put those chances away … then you open the opportunity for the opposition. It’s something we’re definitely looking at and it’s still something we are learning from.”

FC Cincinnati, which carries a seven-game unbeaten streak in United Soccer League play, has taken the first lead in seven matches this season and won four of those by one-goal margins.

Only one of those was a loss, as Louisville City came back with three first-half goals in a 3-2 decision, but the draw against Richmond cost FCC an extra two points that would have helped the club stay within better reach of USL East leaders Louisville and New York Red Bulls II, which both have 27 points in 12 matches. FCC has 21 points in 11 games.

“We’re pretty confident in the talent we have as a team, the ability we have going forward,” FCC forward Andrew Wiedeman said. “Sometimes we need a little more killer instinct. We go 1-up on these teams and then we let them hang around. I think we need to take the dagger out and go up 2-nil earlier and put the game away.”

Harkes brings an “attack is the best defense” mentality and would like to see more goals, but still, FCC ranks third in scoring offense and defense, scoring 17 goals and allowing 11.

Montreal, on the other hand, has managed five goals while allowing three times as many to its opponents. Harkes said every game is a challenge in the USL, regardless of records, so FCC won’t be overlooking anyone; however, Saturday could be a good opportunity for the offense to build some confidence.

“We have to have that killer instinct, but it’s just about working hard, learning from our mistakes and trusting the process,” forward Sean Okoli said. “The goals will come. I’m not worried about that.”