INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - For one night, it looked like Miami in the U.S. Open Cup last year.
FC Cincinnati walked into a hostile stadium, got the only goal and some incredible saves, and came out with a 1-0 victory that players and fans are sure to be talking about until, well, the next remarkable win.
“Fantastic result. Great for our team to come on the road and play against a very good team in Indy and play in front of a great crowd tonight,” FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch said after the Orange and Blue turned back the Indy Eleven in front of 17,543 at Lucas Oil Stadium – home of the NFL Colts.
The crowd included a few thousand loud FC Cincinnati fans, who rose to the occasion along with the team.
“We could feel their energy the second we came back out for the warmup,” Koch said. “We could feel all the fans’ energy the entire night, which was awesome.”
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) March 31, 2018
Goalkeeper Evan Newton gave his best “Mitch Says No” imitation (how about “Not Newt, You Don’t)” and forward Emery Welshman scored on a header in the 26th minute from inside the box. Emmanuel Ledesma set up Welshman on a cross from the far right.
Newton was spectacular, though he got some help when Jack McInerney’s header hit the right post in the 17th minute. It was all Newton after that, even when he committed a foul inside his own box in the 39th minute. Newton then made a diving stop of McInerney’s penalty kick.
There was more of the same in the second half. Newton swallowed up Eugene Starikov’s left-footed shot from outside the box in the 56th minute. In the 81st minute, Newton leaped to deflect a try by Indy forward Sooney Saad off a free kick. In the 89th minute, Newton got his fifth save on another try by Saad from about 25 yards out.
The only sour note was midfielder Kenney Walker’s injury. Walker was taken to the ground by an Indy defender in the fifth minute. He continued to play despite the pain but left for good in the 16th minute.
The Orange and Blue (2-0-0) earned three more points and remains unbeaten. It was the first time since July 2016 that FC Cincinnati recorded back-to-back wins on the road.
FC Cincinnati plays its home opener at 7 p.m. Saturday against rival Louisville City FC at Nippert Stadium.