FC Cincinnati is used to Nippert Stadium being a fortress. This season it’s been anything but that.
The Orange and Blue fell behind nine minutes in and conceded again in the 55th minute in a 2-0 loss Sunday at Nippert to the New England Revolution. It’s two steps backward after two steps forward for the club and marks the second home loss in four days and the fifth home shutout loss of the season.
“A frustrating game — probably one to put in the category of the bad games we’ve played,” interim coach Yoann Damet said. “Not happy about the content. Not happy about the energy and the intensity.
“In the first half, we didn’t show up with the right energy. We were very, very low — very, very deep. Not aggressive enough, allowing space and time on the ball. I think we let them play. We play at home, we expect more from us — expect to be dictating the play more than that.”
FC Cincinnati remains cemented in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with 17 points and a 5-15-2 record, including 3-6-1 at home. The Revolution are now unbeaten in their last 10 league matches and jump into seventh place with 30 points and an 8-8-6 record.
New England got on the board in the ninth minute. After a scramble in the penalty box, Carles Gil put one past Spencer Richey’s left hand.
Immediately after, the Revolution threatened to get another. Teal Bunbury hit the frame, and Cristian Penilla had a shot blocked. New England had 59.8% of first-half possession.
“Energy from the first — it wasn’t there,” Darren Mattocks said. “I was on the bench and the guys looked gassed. Like the first five, 10 minutes I saw guys were really tired. I’m not sure if that’s the heat. I am not sure if that’s three games in a week. We can’t find excuses and sometimes it’s really tough to play three games in a week.”
An early injury forcing a substitution didn’t help matters. Justin Hoyte subbed in for Mathieu Deplagne in the 33rd minute, leaving Damet just two options for the rest of the game.
FC Cincinnati closed the first half with two promising chances on free kicks just outside the penalty box but couldn’t convert either.
New England added an insurance goal in the 55th minute. Antonio Mlinar Delamea, left unmarked, headed one home after a short corner on service from Gil.
Mattocks subbed on in the 60th minute for his first minutes since June 1. After representing Jamaica in the Gold Cup, he was back home with family matters.
“It feels really good (to be back),” Mattocks said. “I miss these guys so much, and I’ve been gone for like six weeks. It’s really good to be around the guys again. I had a full week of practice this week. Definitely there’s way more that I can contribute to this team. I want to contribute much more.”
It marked just the second time this season Mattocks and Fanendo Adi were on the field at the same time and the first time FC Cincinnati had three forwards available for the same match. Adi started for the first time since the U.S. Open Cup match at St. Louis on June 19.
The offense was a little more lively in the second half, with 10 shots, including six on target. Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner knocked away an Adi header at close range, and Allan Cruz put a close free kick over the bar.
“I think in the second half we showed a lot of indiscipline on the attacking side but also on the defensive side,” Damet said. “We created a bit more in the second half but it was unorganized. We gave up — again — a lot of space because of our stretch when we attacked.”
Matchday 22 – FC Cincinnati vs. New England Revolution
Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati
Result: New England Revolution 2, FC Cincinnati 0
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-3-3): Spencer Richey (GK), Alvas Powell, Nick Hagglund, Kendall Waston (C), Mathieu Deplagne, Caleb Stanko, Leonardo Bertone, Frankie Amaya, Kekuta Manneh, Fanendo Adi, Allan Cruz
Subs: Przemyslaw Tyton, Justin Hoyte (33′ Deplagne), Victor Ulloa, Emmanuel Ledesma, Roland Lamah (78′ Manneh), Darren Mattocks (60′ Bertone), Rashawn Dally
New England Revolution Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Matt Turner (GK), Edgar Castillo, Antonio Mlinar Delamea (goal 55′), Andrew Farrell, Brandon Bye, Diego Fagundez, Wilifried Zahibo, Gustavo Bou, Carles Gil (C) (goal 9′), Teal Bunbury, Cristian Penilla
Subs: Tajon Buchanan, Justin Rennicks, Brad Knighton, Jalil Anibaba, DeJuan Jones, Scott Caldwell (79′ Fagundez), Juan Fernando Caicedo (69′ Bou)
NE — 9′ Carles Gil (Gustavo Bou)
NE — 55′ Antonio Mlinar Delamea (Carlos Gil, Cristian Penilla)
CIN — 54′ Allan Cruz (yellow)
at Toronto FC, 8 p.m. Saturday, BMO Field, Toronto