FC Cincinnati held Valencia CF of Spain's top-division La Liga scoreless in the first half Monday night, but the away side ultimately was victorious in a 2-nil finish.
Valencia's goals were scored by Nando in the 62nd minute and Simon Zaza just before the final whistle blew.
More than 23,000 fans turned out to watch FC Cincinnati's second international friendly. In its inaugural year, the home team hosted Crystal Palace of England's top Premier League. More than 35,000 people attended the sold out match.
After Monday's match, Valencia head coach Marcelino García Toral said through a translator that the atmosphere in Nippert Stadium could be compared to a La Liga match. "It was a great experience with a great atmosphere," he said. "The form of the stadium helps with how the people experience the match and that's really a good thing."
Monday's friendly marked the final match for University of Cincinnati alum Omar Cummings who is retiring. The club saluted the striker during halftime and named him Man of the Match. The former Major League Soccer player signed with FCC in its first year but saw little playing time in his second season, largely because of injuries.
Cummings says the retirement hasn't really 'hit' him yet. "It was very special" to go out on this stage. "Not a lot of players get the chance to do this in front of what I would say is my adoptive home, in front of this fan base, this community, playing against a team like Valencia. It was awesome."
Head Coach Alan Koch praised Cummings in the post-match news conference. "Omar is awesome. I think the Omar that the fans see is the Omar that we see inside the change room: genuine, fun-loving, fantastic role model... how he's taken some of our younger players under his wing is absolutely brilliant."
Karen Krieg of Guilford, Indiana was excited for the match and hoped FCC would be competitive despite playing one of Spain's best teams.
Krieg, who says she played recreationally well into her sixties, said "I'm here because I just love to watch soccer. It's really a great team, it's a great time, it's a reasonable price and it's a lot of fun."
This was the first game for Chip Harmeling of Taylor Mill, Kentucky and his 16-year-old son, Will.
"I think it's awesome. We need another sport and it's good for the city. It's generating a lot of excitement," he said.
Pointing to his son, he added "His generation has been around soccer and I think people younger than me want to see more of the sport because they grew up with it."