On a night when FCC had its worst match of the season, Lucho Acosta came into the match with ten minutes left and dragged the side to a 3-3 draw at Chicago Fire FC.
Shaking off Early Nerves
The match was headlined: A horrendous match for the visiting side. Then a monumental effort by Acosta saved his team and brought them to a single point. It started with an immediate blitz from Chicago which portended for how the end of the first half would end. Multiple one-touch passes and bodies inside the box overwhelmed the FCC defense.
However, that did end up coming to an end soon after a few attempts. Then, the FCC machine started to kick into high gear. Obinna Nwobodo and Junior Moreno were able to help dictate the midfield, getting the ball to Brenner and Brandon Vazquez. At the beginning of the match, these players did a good job facilitating the ball and getting players into open space. The one in that space the most was, predictably, Alvaro Barreal, who continued his hot run of play early in the match with some outstanding runs and hits into the box.
Marco Angulo replaced Acosta to start the match and overall had a rough go of it. He wasn’t able to dictate play at the 10 spot and get it to his front players in Vazquez and Brenner, leaving a gap in the midfield and final third. But, that wasn’t evident to start as FCC looked like its normal self in the first dozen minutes, even getting its first goal of the match thanks to a hit from Junior Moreno that was deflected before going into the back of the net.
After this goal, FCC continued to pile on the pressure, with Vazquez getting a great chance, but he wasn’t able to tally his first of the season. He is still without a goal and that is definitely concerning. Sergio Santos has probably been the best of the three top forwards, despite limited time, on the roster. It is getting harder and harder to keep him off the field, with him consistently being involved in goals so far this season.
Chicago Takes Over
Following this stint of the match, Chicago really started to impose its will on the visitors. After two good stints, Ray Gaddis struggled as the starter. He was very slow in understanding what the opposition was doing and picking up runners.
Chicago looked like the side that was coming off a great win against a perennial winner, as it easily played one-touch passes in tight spaces, getting into great positions.
At this point of the match, which ran until Acosta’s arrival into the match in the 80′ minute, it never looked like Chicago would give away control. The side looked effortless in its attack, getting two goals in a 13-minute stretch to put them ahead of FCC thanks to Kacper Przybylko and Rafael Czichos, the latter of which came from a penalty kick.
The penalty kick in question came after Yerson Mosquera tracked an incoming run, with Mosquera then appearing to extend his arms and bump the attacker from the back.
FCC looked to rebound after the second half started, but that was easily pushed into the back of the team’s head thanks to a rocket from Chicago Fire FC forward Chris Mueller 16 seconds into the half. Cincy was able to get a few chances prior to Acosta’s arrival, including a goal that appeared to look good prior to Video Assisted Review’s (VAR) denial of the attempt. For those wondering why this goal was called off, offside Brenner ended up getting too close to the keeper and also jumped. In cases like this, the referee will likely give the keeper the benefit of the doubt if an offside player is that close to his sightline.
When Acosta arrived, however, that’s when the lights turned on for FCC. The visiting side looked like it finally had some ideas and seemed hungry to actually come back. After he came on, it only took the side seven minutes to equalize thanks to Santos and Moreno’s goals.
The former was particularly special, as Acosta played a cross-field pass that perfectly put Santos into a goal-scoring opportunity. Santos’ first touch cannot be overlooked either, as a loose touch would have allowed the Chicago defender or goalkeeper to pounce.
FCC looked like it was back to its normal self after these goals as well, but it’s also easy to think this late in matches when a side is bunkering to hold onto a result.
Match 4 – Chicago Fire FC vs FC Cincinnati
Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: Not listed
Result: FC Cincinnati 3, Chicago Fire FC 3
FC Cincinnati Starting XI:
Roman Celentano, Álvaro Barreal, Ian Murphy (Sergio Santos 61’), Matt Miazga (C), Yerson Mosquera, Ray Gaddis (Santiago Arias 61’), Junior Moreno, Obinna Nwobodo, Marco Angulo (Luciano Acosta 80’), Brenner, Brandon Vazquez (Arquimides Ordoñez 80’)
Bench: Alec Kann, Alvas Powell, Joey Akpunonu, Dominique Badji, Malik Pinto
Chicago Fire FC Starting XI:
Chris Brady, Arnaud Souquet (Kendall Burks 88’), Carlos Terán, Rafael Czichos (C), Miguel Navarro (Jonathan Dean 69’), Mauricio Pineda, Maren Haile-Selassie (Alex Monis 81’), Chris Mueller, Brian Gutiérrez, Gastón Giménez, Kacper Przybyłko
Bench: Spencer Richey, Wyatt Omsberg, Missael Rodriguez, Victor Bezerra, Javier Casas
CHI – Carlos Terán 13’
CHI – Gastón Giménez 58’
CIN – Brandon Vazquez 58’
CHI – Miguel Navarro 66’
CHI – Mauricio Pineda 90’
CHI – Kacper Przybyłko 90+2’
at Nashville SC, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25, GEODIS Park (Nashville, Tennessee)