FC Cincinnati went into its final game of the 2019 MLS Season with nothing to gain but confidence and pride. D.C. United, on the other hand, had its destiny in its own hands. It was in fourth place which guaranteed it home-field advantage in its first playoff game. All it needed to do was beat the worst team in the league, and its first playoff game would be at home at Audi Field. Given huge opportunities, D.C. found this task beyond it.
United came out strong at the beginning of the game, but after withstanding the pressure from DC, Cincinnati was able to get some control over the game and create some chances.
Unfortunately, what looked to be a fairly exciting though chippy game came to an end in the 41st minute. Center referee Dave Gantar judged a reckless tackle from Joseph-Claude Gyau to be worthy of a red card and sent him off the pitch. In the ensuing chaos, Roland Lamah pushed Felipe to the ground and was also shown a red card.
Almost immediately after play resumed, D.C. put the ball into the net, but fortunately for the Orange and Blue, VAR came to the rescue and the goal was rescinded and an offside call was given. Cincinnati held strong to end the half scoreless 0-0.
In the second half, FCC bunkered into a 4-3-1 formation, leaving Emmanuel Ledesma up top as the loan striker. United pressed over and over but were unable to break down Cincinnati’s defense. Przemysław Tytoń was forced to make two big saves to keep the Orange and Blue in the game.
The first came in the 64th minute. Paul Arriola curled the ball towards the back post, but Tytoń was able to push it wide.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) October 6, 2019
The second save came in the 70th minute. Ola Kamara headed the ball from just outside the 6-yard box forcing Tytoń to make a reaction save that looked inspired from watching volleyball.
"Me again." -Titi
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) October 6, 2019
As the game progressed, coach Ron Jans shifted the team more and more defensive, bringing in Kendall Waston, Tommy McCabe and Andrew Gutman, leaving the team set up in a 5-3 formation without any striker up top. When the final whistle blew, the team earned a point and Tytoń earned another clean sheet.
“The boys are heroes today, but I am so sorry for them,” said Jans, reflecting on the game. “I think the first red card, I don’t think it’s a red card. It was unintentional. Monsters are not born. They are created. So, in the second half, we tried to win time, to defend and defend. I think they did great. They played with a lot of heart and the longer the game lasted, we got more excited. So, great work.”
Said Greg Garza: “I think if you look at the last four games, the four teams that actually needed something, either making playoffs or even them not getting the home match for playoffs,” said Garza, feeling positive about the progress of the team. “We ruined it for Montreal, for Chicago, for Orlando and now (D.C. United) go home with not the best taste, and now they have to travel to Toronto, their first game away in a one-game playoff game. I think that’s something that kind of sticks out to me the most.”
FC Cincinnati vs. DC United
Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
Result: FC Cincinnati 0, DC United 0
By the Numbers:
- Only three players started both games against D.C. United — Mathieu Deplagne, Leonardo Bertone and Emmanuel Ledesma.
- Only five players had minutes in both games against D.C. United, the three above, Kendall Waston and Roland Lamah.
- Cincinnati lost the first meeting 4-1.
- In the first half, D.C. took seven shots, none on target. FCC took six shots with one on target.
- By the end of the game, DC had taken 32 shots but only two on target. FCC managed eight shots total with two on target.
- D.C. United created 28 chances. Cincinnati only created six chances.
- United took 15 corner kicks and 34 crosses. Cincinnati 3three and 12 respectively.
- Both goalkeepers were only forced to make two saves each.
- In the first half, D.C. had 52% possession. Cincinnati had 48% possession.
- By the end of the game, D.C. had 66% possession. FCC with only 34% possession.
- Despite a two-man advantage for over half the game, more possession and more chances created, D.C. came up short.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI:
Przemysław Tytoń, Mathieu Deplagne, Maikel van der Werff, Nick Hagglund, Greg Garza, Leonardo Bertone, Caleb Stanko 85’, Fatai Alashe 73’, Roland Lamah, Joseph-Claude Gyau, Emmanuel Ledesma 90’+4’
Bench: Rashawn Dally, Derrick Etienne Jr., Andrew Gutman ST, Jimmy Hague, Justin Hoyte, Tommy McCabe 5′, Kendall Waston 17′
DC United Starting XI:
Bill Hamid, Russel Canouse, Frédéric Brillant, Joseph Mora, Steven Birnbaum, Felipe 67’, Lucas Rodriguez, Júnior Moreno, Ulises Segura 56’, Paul Arriola, Quincy Amarikwa 69’
Bench: Luciano Acosta 34′, Emmanuel Boateng, Leonardo Jara 23′, Ola Kamara 21′, Marquinhos Pedroso, Donovan Pines, Chris Seitz
CIN – 14′ Mathieu Deplagne
CIN – 30′ Leonardo Bertone
DC – 38′ Joseph Mora
CIN – 41′ Joseph-Claude Gyau (ejection)
CIN – 44′ Roland Lamah (ejection)
CIN – 85′ Caleb Stanko