In 2022, FC Cincinnati’s season turned on a road trip to Orlando City. FCC was coming off two losses to start the season. That night, the team found itself. The team returned to Orlando City Saturday night a much different club. Instead of looking to find a footing, the Orange and Blue came into match day two with a lot of confidence. They left Orlando with a 0-0 result and a road point.
FC Cincinnati (1-1-0, 4 points) came out firing early with aggressive pressure on Orlando’s backline. Brenner, making the starting XI this week, had a solid look within the second minute, leaving it just outside of the top far corner. The Brazilian had another chance in the 23rd minute from a lovely through ball by Brandon Vazquez. That shot on frame required Orlando’s keeper Pedro Gallese to punch the ball away. In the 28th minute, FCC’s captain Lucho Acosta took a shot from a free kick just outside the penalty box that forced Gallese to record his second save.
Orlando City (1-1-0, 4 points) really settled the match down with the adjustment of dropping more players into the defending third, often having nine players sitting in to absorb the pressure.
FC Cincinnati made a few notable changes in tactical focus compared to the first match versus Houston. The team really focused on possession and connecting passes. FCC completed 507 passes tonight with an 88.4 percent pass completion rate, a stark improvement from just 264 completed passes at a 73.7 percent success rate. This was particularly critical with the challenging conditions a match in Orlando can bring.
“You factor in the humidity, we needed to be better with the ball than we were in our opener,” Pat Noonan said. “I think we saw that tonight which allowed us to be able to have longer stretches of possession and then find open players to move the ball and move the ball forward. I was pleased with that aspect of our game tonight.”
The other thing FCC wanted to see improvement in was defensive performance. Holding the dynamic Orlando City to just one shot on goal was just what Pat Noonan wanted to see.
“Again, Orlando is a team that can, with many different options, create great chances,” Noona said. “And I thought we limited their ability to get in the box and get free service. So that’s probably one of our better all-around defensive performances dating back to probably the last time we played Orlando at home, which I thought was a really good defensive showing from our group. So that’s a good sign in how we defended on the road tonight.”
Ultimately, Cincinnati was unable to cap off the solid performance with a win. Both sides walked away from tonight with a point. FCC will take the pitch again on March 11th when the team hosts the Seattle Sounders at TQL Stadium.
-Roman Celentano recorded his sixth career clean sheet with FC Cincinnati.
-Yuya Kubo surpassed 5,000 career MLS minutes played with FC Cincinnati … he became the third player in club history to surpass that milestone (Nick Hagglund, Luciano Acosta).
-Ecuadorian midfielder Marco Angulo debuted with FC Cincinnati as a second-half stoppage time substitute.
Match 1 – Orlando City SC vs FC Cincinnati
Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Result: FC Cincinnati 0, Orlando City SC 0
FC Cincinnati Starting XI:
Roman Celentano (GK), Álvaro Barreal, Nick Hagglund, Matt Miazga, Yerson Mosquera, Ray Gaddis (Alvas Powell 69’), Junior Moreno (Yuya Kubo 69’), Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (C) (Marco Angulo 90+2’), Brenner (Sergio Santos 69’), Brandon Vazquez (Dominique Badji 86’)
Bench: Alec Kann, Arquimides Ordoñez, Malik Pinto, Ian Muprhy
Houston Dynamo FC Starting XI:
Pedro Gallese (GK), Rodrigo Schlegel (Robin Jansson 46’), Kyle Smith, Michael Halliday (Luca Petrasso 72’), Abdi Salim, Mauricio Pereyra (C) (Cesar Araujo 46’), Wilder Cartagena, Dagur Thorhallsson, Ercan Kara (Iván Angulo 65’), Facundo Torres (Martin Ojeda 60’), Gaston Gonzalez
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Rafael Santos, Felipe Martins, Duncan McGuire
ORL – Wilder Cartagena 28’
CIN – Sergio Santos 90+1’
vs Seattle Sounders, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 11, TQL Stadium (Cincinnati, Ohio)