NASHVILLE, Tenn. – FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch said his team needed a kick-start at halftime Saturday night in its 0-0 draw with Nashville SC. And he meant more than changing the game plan.
“We weren’t good in the first 45 minutes. They were clearly the better team. We had to adjust a few things tactically at halftime,” Koch said in a news release.
But Koch said he also told his players they needed to “step up to the plate.”
“More than that tactical change, it boils down to your work rate, your enthusiasm and how you actually go about and play,” he said.
At the end, Koch said he was satisfied the result, especially after FC Cincinnati carried the play in the last 10 minutes.
Only some spectacular goalkeeping kept the Orange and Blue from coming home with three points instead of one.
“Positive result, playing against a good Nashville team at their place in a very, very tough environment. We’re glad to take the point,” Koch said.
“We started to get going, feeling a little more confident about things and created quite a few chances in the last five to 10 minutes.”
It figured that the first match between the future Major League Soccer rivals would end in a scoreless tie in front of 18,228 fans at Nissan Stadium. FC Cincinnati had shut out its last three league opponents, and Nashville SC was coming off a 3-0 win over Atlanta United 2.
Evan Newton stopped all three shots on target for his sixth shutout of the season – and the team’s seventh of the year – while Nashville’s Matt Pickens also stopped all three FC Cincinnati shots for his ninth clean sheet.
FC Cincinnati (10-3-5, 35 points) remains in first place in the United Soccer League Eastern Conference. Nashville (7-3-6, 27 points) is third but has played two fewer matches.
FC Cincinnati will play its next six USL games – seven overall – at Nippert Stadium between July 14 and Aug. 18. Next up: the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 7:30 p.m. next Saturday.
In the middle of the homestand, FCC will also host an international friendly against La Liga’s RCD Espanyol on Saturday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m.