CINCINNATI, Ohio — Penn FC’s upset bid at the Eastern Conference leaders, FC Cincinnati, was thwarted in the 80th minute as Emmanuel Ledesma’s free kick proved to be the difference in the 1-0 contest Sunday night.
FC Cincinnati’s pressing attack tested Penn FC’s backline throughout the second half. Finally, FC Cincinnati drew a foul 30 yards out which earned Ken Tribbett his fifth yellow card on the season -- he will miss the next match for yellow card accumulation.
Ledesma stepped up to the spot and bent his free kick towards the Penn FC wall. Romu Peiser was in position to make the save, but the ball deflected off of Lucky Mkosana and the goalkeeper could not recover to save the deflection.
Rush Soccer’s First Team nearly equalized in the 87th minute off the left boot of Pedro Galvão. Walter Ramirez delivered a cross from the right wing to Tommy Heinemann -- who made his first appearance since June when he came on in the 67th minute -- and the forward headed the ball down to Galvão in the box. The wingback blasted a low shot that beat the keeper but was deflected out of the box by a Cincinnati defender.
The future MLS side would hold on to take three points and earn its 12th straight match unbeaten.
The match proved to be a tale of two halves. While FC Cincinnati earned eight shots with two on goal in the second half, it was Penn FC that came out of the gate swinging. The Blue and White relied on its counter attack to earn eight shots with two on target while holding Cincinnati to only three shots with zero on goal in the first half. Penn FC simply absorbed pressure and then raced out on the wings as it tried to take an early lead.
Penn FC will now prepare for its fifth straight match away from FNB Field. The Blue and White has a short week of training before traveling to Richmond for the regular season rubber match with the Kickers. Penn FC previously defeated the Kickers at FNB Field 2-1 on June 12 before Richmond stole the second match at FNB Field 2-1 on July 9.
The match against the Kickers is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Aug. 18 at City Stadium in Richmond, Va. Fans unable to make the drive south can watch the match on the ESPN+ streaming platform.