“When you’re 1-0 up and you have chances, and you don’t take your second chance, a lot of times you leave teams in the game,” said FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch. “When you leave a team like Kansas City, with the quality the players that they had on the pitch, and brought onto the pitch, you leave yourself in a precarious position. Obviously, it’s always frustrating when you are leading in a game, and you don’t get the three points. If we take one of those chances when we were one up and made it two, maybe it would be a different story right now.”
Cincinnati took the lead in the 19th minute when Darren Mattocks converted from the penalty spot. The Jamaican was first on the scoresheet on Sunday, stepping up to provide offense from the opening whistle now that Fanendo Adi is undergoing assessment as part of the league's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program.
Sporting KC might have been the favorites against the expansion side, but Peter Vermes made eight changes to the first-choice team that fell 5-0 to Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions League last Thursday.
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“We know they rotated their squad,” said Spencer Richey, FC Cincinnati’s goalkeeper. “They’re one of the deepest teams in the league and can still put out a really strong team when they do that. We have high expectations for this group, and when we’re at home we expect three points, whether is Portland, Seattle, or Sporting. Anytime you leave points on the table at home, it’s disappointing.”
Although Sporting KC created several clear chances throughout the match, they ended up leveling the score courtesy of a mix-up between Richey and Greg Garza in front of goal. The mistake allowed 16-year-old Gianluca Busio to intervene and angle an equalizer into an empty net. FC Cincinnati center back, Nick Hagglund, had a good view of the situation, and took a positive view on what it meant to the result.
“It was a little miscommunication at the back,” said the Cincinnati native. “A lot of times when you look at a goal, you ask, ‘is there a way to avoid that mistake?’ I think there is. I think that’s a positive way to look at it. It’s not that they were so good and we couldn’t handle what they threw at us. It was a mistake, so for us, we can clean up that mistake in future games and win these games 1-0.”
While Koch is disappointed about the manner in which his team managed the lead, he is keeping the result in perspective based on his team’s positive start to their first season. He says he would have taken the point if it was offered to him, prior to the match.
“Yes, big picture, playing the only MLS team that is in the semifinals of the Concacaf Champions League, playing them in our sixth game. Yeah, we would have taken a point. But — obviously you go through the game and create the chances we did and go a goal up. You obviously want to go finish the game off. Even though we leave here and we’re somewhat satisfied with the point, we’re also disappointed we didn’t get the three points too.”