FC Cincinnati fell 2-0 on the road against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night, extending its losing streak to eleven matches, breaking the previous non-sudden death shootout MLS record of ten set by Real Salt Lake in 2005.
Playing without Luciano Acosta, who missed out due to yellow card accumulation, FCC mustered few chances, rarely testing Andre Blake in the Union’s goal. Philadelphia outshot FCC 20-7, with seven efforts on target to FCC’s two on target. Advanced analytics confirm the Union’s dominance on the night as well, with Philadelphia creating 3.1 expected goals to FCC’s 0.3 xG.
The Union opened the scoring in the 11th minute after an Olivier Mbaizo strike from the top of the 18-yard-box eluded Kenneth Vermeer. Upon further review, Daniel Gazdag was credited with the goal as he slightly deflected Mbaizo’s effort into the net.
Philadelphia threatened a second on multiple occasions in the first half but FCC made it to half time down just one goal.
Early in the second half, FCC had a chance to level the score but Alvaro Barreal could not direct a bouncing cross from Brandon Vazquez on target.
Paxten Aaronson doubled Philadelphia’s lead in the 53rd minute, scoring his second goal against the Orange and Blue in as many matches. Aaronson nearly added an MLS assist to his tally a minute later as he threaded an excellent through ball to Alejandro Bedoya who found Kacper Pryzbylko in the six-yard-box. Fortunately for FCC, Pryzbylko put his first time shot over the crossbar.
In the remaining 30 minutes the Union threatened Vermeer’s goal a few more times but did not score. FCC missed Acosta’s dynamism on the ball, both in progressing it forward and operating in the final third of the field.
With just one match remaining in the 2021 season, Chris Albright’s first offseason in charge of FCC is imminent. Sunday’s match, despite securing another ignominious record for the Orange and Blue, shows the promise of what the future could hold.
Philadelphia’s emphasis the development and utilization of homegrown talent as well as smart signings. Albright will not be able to turn FCC around in one offseason, or two for that matter, but seeing how the Union played should give FCC fans something to dream on throughout the offseason.
After seeing Philadelphia twice in the second half of this lost season, there are certainly worse models on which to model a rebuild. Whether Albright succeeds or not, supporters should take heart that FCC seems to be following in some smart footsteps.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (4-4-2):
Kenneth Vermeer, Joe Gyau (Duvall 46’), Geoff Camero, Tyler Blackett, Zico Bailey, Yuya Kubo (Scott 83’), Caleb Stanko, Haris Medunjanin, Alvaro Barreal (Harris 71’), Brandon Vazquez, Brenner (Atanga 71’)
Bench: Isaac Atanga, Allan Cruz, Chris Duvall, Calvin Harris, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Arquimides Ordonez, Kyle Scott, Przemyslaw Tyton, Florian Valot
Philadelphia Union (4-4-2):
Andre Blake, Olivier Mbaizo (Harriel 76’), Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Alejandro Bedoya (90’), Jose Martinez, Jack McGlynn (Flach 80’), Daniel Gazdag (Sullivan 90’), Kacper Pryzbylko (Burke 80’), Paxten Aaronson
Bench: Jesus Bueno, Matt Freese, Quinn Sullivan, Anthony Fontana, Davo, Stuart Findlay, Leon Flach, Cory Burke, Nathan Harriel
PHI – Gazdag 11’
PHI – Aaronson 53’