FC Cincinnati was in a sharing mood again Wednesday at TQL Stadium, and those clad in Orange and Blue were again left wondering when their home side will win a match in their new home.
It was another fruitless 90 minutes with more missed chances, a lack of quality in key moments and yet another draw — FCC’s eighth of the season, fourth straight and fifth straight at home.
The local MLS side redefined frustration with a 0-0 draw with CF Montreal before 21,115 weary fans on a muggy night in the West End.
“The problem this year is we don’t finish games,” midfielder Haris Medunjanin said. “It cost us a lot of points. We create a lot of chances. But it’s about scoring goals and we didn’t do that. It’s the same story.”
FCC couldn’t find a breakthrough despite playing with a man advantage after Montreal defender Rudy Camacho was awarded his second yellow in the 75th minute, a scenario similar to the July 9 match against Columbus when the Orange and Blue relinquished a two-goal lead despite being up a man and shared the points with the rival Crew.
The Orange and Blue certainly have not lacked confidence in their meetings with Montreal, with three wins and a loss in four MLS meetings. In the most recent match against Montreal, FCC twice relinquished two-goal leads in a 5-4 loss at Stade Saputo.
Goals would be far less frequent on Wednesday night as both teams labored in the heat.
The Orange and Blue appeared to find a breakthrough in the 32nd minute when Yuya Kubo threaded a ball to Brenner who buried a shot into the back of the net, only to have the offsides flag put a halt to the celebration. There was no VAR check.
FCC had eight shots in the first half, including the only two that were on target. While possession favored the visitors, the Orange and Blue seemed content to play without the ball and pick their spots to connect with Brenner over the top.
“I told the players that I was proud of how they played,” coach Jaap Stam said. “We were confident in what we wanted to do. We created chances, but we need to finish them off. Sometimes we gave the ball away in tight areas. We need to be a little more accurate and composed.”
In the 51st minute, Allan Cruz had a clear look at goal from the top of the box, but his shot caromed off the crossbar. FCC found woodwork twice on Wednesday.
FCC had 17 shots, nine more than Montreal, and had the only three to be on target.
“We need to be clinical in the final third,” Medunjanin said. “Sometimes making the extra pass we rush it, maybe not necessary. Maybe if we give an extra pass, somebody else will be in front of the goal. We need to be a little sharper. You don’t get a lot of chances against good teams.”
FCC hasn’t won a match since June 26 at Toronto, but it’s not as if it hasn’t had chances. It managed seven points from their previous nine matches.
FCC has seven losses. There are 15 teams in MLS with at least that many. The issue is eight draws, fourth-most in MLS — a lot of points dropped from winning positions.
“Our mentality is there,” said defender Gustavo Vallecilla, via an interpreter. “We can’t get frustrated. We have the right mentality. That’s what is going to get us to that point. We’ve been good on the ball. It’s going to take that extra preciseness. It was a really tough match. It was hot. It was up and down.”
Florian Valot, who FCC acquired from the New York Red Bulls this month, made his debut in the 69th minute. The Frenchman made an immediate impact when he stole the ball and passed to Brenner who was tripped up by Camacho just outside the box, resulting in his second yellow and a sending off.
FCC didn’t take advantage.
In the 85th minute, Ronald Matarrita’s back-heel pass to Luciano Acosta resulted in a shot that sailed just wide. Moments later Brandon Vazquez’s header went wide and could not find a touch from lurking teammates.
As the two minutes of stoppage time wound down, fan frustration grew with a pair of Montreal injuries which halted play. Boos rained down as the final whistle blew, and the fans filed out with that familiar empty feeling.
“When we’re at home, with that amazing crowd, we want to give them a win,” said Medunjanin. “We’re fighting until the end. We hit the crossbar two times. We need to continue. We have 16 games left. We can’t give up.”
FC Cincinnati vs. CF Montreal
Result: FC Cincinnati 0, CF Montreal 0
FC Cincinnati Starting XI: Przemysław Tytoń (GK), Gustavo Vallecilla, Geoff Cameron, Ronald Matarrita, Nick Hagglund, Luciano Acosta (c), Yuya Kubo, Allan Cruz (Florian Valot 70’), Haris Medunjanin (Brandon Vázquez 85’), Álvaro Barreal
Bench: Cody Cropper, Edgar Castillo, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Caleb Stanko, Avionne Flanagan, Isaac Atanga, Arquimides Ordonez
CF Montreal Starting XI: Sebastian Breza (GK), Rudy Camacho, Kamal Miller, Joel Waterman, Victor Wanyama (c), Emanuel Maciel (Samuel Piette 46’), Djordje Mihailovic, Mathieu Choiniere (Zohran Ludovic Bassong 46’), Zachary Brault-Guillard (Clement Bayiha 62’), Sunusi Ibrahim (Bjorn Johnsen 62’), Joaquin Torres (Aljaz Struna 77’)
Bench: Mustafa Kizza, Jonathan Sirois, Rida Zouhir, Ismael Kone
MTL – Emanuel Maciel (caution) 22’
MTL – Mathieu Choiniere (caution) 26’
CIN – Allan Cruz (caution) 36’
CIN – Ronald Matarrita (caution) 62’
MTL – Rudy Camacho (caution) 68’
MTL – Rudy Camacho (second caution, ejection) 74’
CIN – Luciano Acosta (caution) 89’
CIN – Brenner (caution) 90+4’
Next up: at New England Revolution, Foxborough, Massachusetts 8 p.m. Saturday