To put what last night’s game means into words is a tall task, almost as difficult as saving three penalty kicks, but Mitch did it, so here I am writing.
First and foremost, lets all give Mitch Hildebrandt a tip of the hat because frankly, that was one of the best goalkeeping performances I have ever seen.
He literally refused to give up a goal, even when it was a free shot from 12 yards away. Obviously he made several tremendous saves and that is talent, but other qualities might have gone under the radar.
The positioning of a goalie is life or death, and last night Mitch didn’t take a wrong step. He was perfect. His ability to calmly be in the right spot at the right time generated a shutout, and eventually made him the deserved hero.
Side note: When you come to a game and Mitch gets a shutout, which happens often, please watch him and the Bailey interactively clap their hands together as the final whistle blows because it is something to behold (and then go get $5 off your car wash).
Let’s get another thing straight, the Chicago Fire are an impressive team with one world-class player.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, number 31, has won every trophy that means anything in the game of soccer: The Champions league, The World Cup, you name it. And while he is 32 years old he is still an incredible player.
For me, it was intimidating defending him.
He is bigger than you think, and quicker than you think. Being in front of him on the field seemed surreal.
He has played alongside Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo -- and been just as good. But then you realize he’s using the same ball you are, and has two legs just like you, so those alarming thoughts wither away, and you get back to business.
They are a team with quality players and great leadership, but on the night, FC Cincinnati showed up on a national stage and proved that the hue of momentum is orange and blue.
One quality about momentum is the force in which it travels. It moves at a pace that is tough to harness.
Over the last two years, FC Cincinnati has seemed to bottle up momentum and uncork it at just the right time.
We continue to use the phrase that Cincinnati is a city on the rise. Well, once again the city of Cincinnati rose to the occasion and flooded Nippert Stadium with 32,287 screaming fans.
It is another example of the infectious support and excitement happening right in front of our eyes.
It seems like every time an event of this magnitude happens, I think, “It can’t get much better,” but then weeks later I eat my words.
And that is especially thanks to you, the fans. You are the driving force behind this momentum we now carry.
Last night was full of emotion, but one overarching feeling that flowed through me as I stepped on the field was belief.
It is a freeing feeling, playing with belief, and in the end makes this beautiful game life changing.
My life is changing thanks to you, but humbly this is bigger than one person.
It’s bigger than 11 people.
It’s even greater than 32,287 that filled our stadium.
What we are building as a group will be here long after we are gone, and although time waits for no one I think we all felt it stop last night.
Corben Bone is one of the first 11 FC Cincinnati players signed and was last year's team MVP. He will be writing occasional columns for WCPO about his second season with our popular soccer club.