CINCINNATI – It turns out the only thing that could rain on FC Cincinnati's early-season parade was, in fact, a little bit of rain.
That, and a composed Philadelphia Union squad intent on spoiling the fun.
After dropping Saturday’s home match to the Union, a game defined by non-stop rain, FCC fall to 2-2-1 on the season and fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Instead of carving their name in the record books with the best-ever start for an expansion franchise, the home side were instead shut out for the first time in their short MLS history.
The narrative of the season thus far has been about Cincinnati defying expectations – first with outstanding attendance numbers and supporter atmosphere, then with their actual on-field results and product. Saturday’s result provided a reality check, a painful reminder of the challenges of Major League Soccer: If you don’t bring it every night, missed opportunities can pile up.
“It kind of brings you back down to Earth,” said FCC head coach Alan Koch after the weekend’s setback. “We know we have to stay true to what we’re good at. We’re a good team. We’re not going to go out and beat anybody because of individual players. Every player has to be selfless and work for the team and we’ve done that the last few weeks and that’s why we had success.
“I think tonight the group wasn’t very good and the Philly group was much better. That’s why they won the game.”
He also knows that one bad game does not make a season.
“We said we’ve had some high moments so far in a short season. We solely didn’t get carried away then, tonight’s a low moment and we’re certainly not going to get carried away here either,” added Koch. “But we need to learn from it.”
FCC had established a penchant for surprising opponents that perhaps underestimated the expansion side. On Saturday, the shoe was on the other foot.
“We essentially did what New England did at home against us last week. They didn’t show up and we went and we stole the points,” Koch pointed out. “We did the exact same thing tonight, and Philly came in and took the points so. We need to learn from this, and we will learn from this. We need to make sure we push each other and get better.”
“We weren’t good enough tonight and we were at home,” said the veteran central midfielder. “We were trying to make the points count that we got last week in New England, so we scratch those and we move on. We know that we have to take care of business at home and we have another opportunity next week.”