More than 23,000 fans filled Nippert Stadium Saturday night to cheer on soccer team FC Cincinnati. They didn't leave disappointed. Despite opening the season with one win and two losses on the road, FC Cincinnati bested Saint Louis FC 4-0.
Kathy Varner and her husband came to the game from Okeana. "You can tell the team is putting in an effort," she says. "It's a nice venue and it's easy to get to."
Former high school soccer coach Chuck Ausman is "pleased as can be that Cincinnati is doing so well." He appreciates the level of play. "The games that we came to last year... I liked their style of play. They're very much a control team. They have great goal keeping. And they're just an attractive team to watch."
Ausman acknowledges the team is off to a slow start this season, "but them being at home (tonight), I think they'll do really well."
He wasn't wrong. Forward Djiby Fall opened the scoring in the 35th minute. He wasn't done there, scoring three more times to give FC Cincinnati the 4-0 win.
"This was my first time scoring four goals," says Fall. "I'm very happy but I want to congratulate my teammates because without them I cannot score four goals."
The Senegalese international, who has played in other leagues around the world, was impressed with the crowd.
"I've seen this kind of atmosphere only when I played in Europe. I remember when I played (a match) in England at Fulham and the stadium was so full, but today it looked the same. To play like this is what a football player needs."
The official attendance Saturday night was 23,144. According to the team, that breaks the record for highest attended USL (United Soccer League) home opener set by Sacramento Republic FC who drew 20,231 in 2014. FC Cincinnati also holds the league's regular season attendance record at 24,376 set in September 2016.
Jeff Dietrich of College Hill came with his wife and four kids. "It's a fun atmosphere. We came down last year, the kids have a blast and it's a fun family environment. It's an upbeat, fast game. It's exciting." His kids chime in to say they love the competition. They all agreed on their favorite player as well, goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt.
Across the stadium Amber Valentine of Wilmington is hanging out watching the supporters march into the stadium. She says she came to a few games last season and caught the soccer bug. "It was just so fun I ended up buying season tickets this year," she says. "Just the march coming in and the atmosphere in the stadium, and the players all seem super nice. It's just fun to watch."