Darren Mattocks: "Cincinnati is not to be taken for granted"

CINCINNATI ­— FC Cincinnati’s players believe that Sunday’s 3-0 rout of the Portland Timbers sends a powerful message to the rest of MLS: Don’t overlook the league’s newest team.

“Cincinnati is not to be taken for granted,” said Darren Mattocks, who came on at halftime for the injured Fanendo Adi. “We had a tough first week in Seattle. But week by week we are continuing to improve. Last week in Atlanta we made a big jump. This week we made an even bigger jump. But we’ve still got a long way to go. We have to go back to the drawing board and keep working on what we’ve worked on over the past couple of weeks because it’s been working really well.”

The MLS newcomers capitalized on the energy provided by a sellout crowd of 32,250 at Nippert Stadium on Sunday. Goalkeeper Spencer Richey looks forward to the home-field advantage that crowd can provide over an entire season.

The Washington native started for the second straight match in place of the injured Przemysław Tytoń. Richey earned his first MLS clean sheet against Portland with a three-save performance.

“Nippert is going to be tough place for teams to come and play,” the 26-year-old said. “Obviously the three goals makes a statement, but the shutout makes a statement as well. They didn’t have a ton of chances, they had the one good one. [FC Cincinnati president and general manager] Jeff Berding, in our post-game speeches, wants teams that come into Nippert and into Cincinnati to know they are going to be in for a fight. We showed that tonight, so hopefully teams will be intimidated when they come into this stadium.”

While Richey kept it clean at the back, defender Mathieu Deplagne ventured forward and put his name on the score sheet. His 63rd minute strike sealed FC Cincinnati’s victory.

The Montpellier native joined in December, transferring from Troyes AC in Ligue 2. Traditionally a right back, he’s started the first three games on the left side of FC Cincinnati’s defense.

“The win shows that we are not kidding,” Deplagne said. “We have a good team, but we have to continue and keep going because the season is long.”

Despite the confident statements from his players after Sunday’s win, FCC coach Alan Koch preached perspective. He is pleased with the three points, but wants to see his team perform at that level over a longer period of time.

As for statements, Koch said that will be made with consistent performances over the course of the long MLS season.

“We came in and we worked very hard for our fans and got three points. I don’t take anything more from it than that,” Koch said. “If we show that we can do that here at home for 10 games in a row, there’s a statement. But to do that once in this business, anything can happen in one game…doing it once was a nice start.”