Last night I had the opportunity to meet starting goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt. After the team spent the evening signing autographs for hundreds of fans who came out to the "Meet & Greet" at Rhinegeist, he was gracious enough to pose for this quick portrait. In the 78th minute of last week's inaugural season opener in Charleston, Mitch blocked an opportunity for the Battery from Romario Williams. At the same time, FCC's Paul Nicholson had been laying pressure on Williams and his knee collided with Mitch's head when the shot was stopped. Despite being down for several minutes, Mitch got right up and finished the match.
Charleston would go on to win 1-0 in stoppage time, but the night saw an impressive performance from Hildebrandt who received a black eye and stitches. On top of that, he's set to start Sunday against Bethlehem.
A 27 year old originally from Livonia, Michigan, Mitch played his college career at Oakland University. Professionally, he's appeared with the Kalamazoo Outrage, Michigan Bucks, and spent the 2012-2015 seasons with Minnesota United FC before landing here in Cincinnati.
Like the chant says: Mitch "don't mess around."
Photograph by Ronny Salerno