2023 Match Reports

Juleps for All: FC Cincinnati pulls away down the stretch, edges D.C. United 2-1

At the end of the 2022 season, FC Cincinnati rode its hot offense to make the MLS Cup playoffs at the expense of Wayne Rooney’s D.C. United. On Derby Day, this time around, the Orange & Blue had to depend on a photo finish to win the race. FCC leaned on goals from Luciano Acosta and Alvaro Barreal to outlast the Black & Red 2-1 at TQL Stadium. The side’s home winning streak improves to six in MLS matches and seven over all contests.

FCC (7-3-1, 24 pts.) came into the contest on a two-match unbeaten streak, but has not yet lost or drew at home. With the next two MLS matches and U.S. Open Cup match all played at home, the Orange & Blue could ride this wave of momentum to stay rooted high in the table.

D.C. United (4-2-5, 14 pts.) also had an undefeated streak going, winning its last three MLS matches, including a 3-0 rampage of a win against Charlotte FC last week. However, they were unable to equalize late in the contest.

FC Cincinnati made only one change with its Starting XI, as Alvas Powell started in place of Ray Gaddis. Brenner, a week after his physical in Italy for his transfer to Udinese, reappeared on the bench. Quimi Ordonez missed the match due to responsibilities with the Guatemalan U-20 national team.

D.C. United was required to make two changes due to major injuries in their back line, as Steve Birnbaum and Pedro Santos were replaced by Derrick Williams and Jacob Greene. Minutes before kickoff, right-back Andy Najar was replaced due to a knock, replaced on the Starting XI by Ruan.

Much of the first 30 minutes involved more offensive composure and pressure from FC Cincinnati. Despite a 65-35 advantage in possession and good movement by  Powell on the right, the Orange & Blue managed only an on-frame header by Matt Miazga in the 14th minute.

The final 15 minutes required defense and saves from Roman Celentano. Shots by Ruan in the 24th, Christian Benteke in the 42nd and Lewis O’Brien in the 44th minutes forced the goalkeeper to sprawl for large saves. Both teams went into the halftime period without a goal, but the game felt like it could change in the second half.

The dam finally broke in the 59th minute. Before the broadcast could catch it, Acosta fired a bullet from the corner on frame, only for it to scoot past everyone for the captain’s second goal of the season. Acosta’s first-ever “Olimpico” gave FC Cincinnati a 1-0 lead.

“Against D.C., it’s better, it’s special,” Acosta said after the match. “It gets more enjoyable, but more than anything today, having not scored for a couple of games, it made this one more enjoyable.”

As the second half progressed with the arrival of Brenner, the FCC attack played with familiar gusto. In the 73rd minute, Brenner and Acosta threaded passes to a streaking Alvaro Barreal. The Argentinian left back fired a left-footed laser in the box to beat goalkeeper Tyler Miller and make the score 2-0.

While the goal was Barreal’s first of the year, the occasion was punctuated with Barreal running to the sideline and hugging his father, who had come to see the game.

“It felt really good,” Barreal said through his interpreter. “Because I scored that goal, and I looked over and saw my Dad in the stands. So to go over to my Dad (and hug him), it was incredible.”

The lead failed to stay safe, as D.C. United pressed for offense. Taxiarchis Fountas found a cross into the box in the 90th minute and cleaned it up for his third goal of the season.

Much of the extra time in the second half gave D.C. more opportunities to turn the tide, but the play was slowed by a flood of yellow cards. The last issued by dear friend Guido Gonzalez Jr. was for a nasty foul by Lewis O’Brien on Brenner that left the Brazilian limping for the sideline. While the degree of the injury is unknown, Brenner did not appear to have anything on the injured foot after the match.

The final whistle gave FCC its sixth MLS win at home, matching last season’s home wins.

“We played a good team tonight,” Pat Noonan said. “You can see D.C. is moving in a good direction, they’re difficult to play against. We had a feeling the chance creation was going to be difficult if we weren’t decisive and didn’t move the ball quickly. I thought that led to some good moments of getting pressure and being able to win the ball to get us into transition. It was a hard-fought win, and you could see there was really good energy to end that game.”

FC Cincinnati faces New York City FC in the next round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, then enjoy its MLS bye week. D.C. United travels to New Jersey to play the Red Bulls in the Open Cup.

Match 7 – FC Cincinnati vs. D.C. United
TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Attendance: 25,513
Result: FC Cincinnati 2, D.C. United 1.


FC Cincinnati Starting XI (3-5-2):

Roman Celentano (GK); Nick Hagglund, Matt Miazga, Yerson Mosquera; Alvas Powell (Ian Murphy 88’), Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (c) (Malik Pinto 87’), Junior Moreno (Yuya Kubo 88’), Álvaro Barreal (Ray Gaddis 79’); Brandon Vazquez, Sergio Santos (Brenner 65’).

Bench: Alec Kann, Joey Akpunonu, Marco Angulo, Dominique Badji.

D.C. United Starting XI (3-5-2):

Tyler Miller; Victor Paisson, Derrick Williams, Donovan Pines; Ruan (Cristian Dajome 64’), Mateusz Klich (Theodore Ku-DiPietro 88’), Russel Canouse (c) (Chris Durkin 88’), Lewis O’Brien, Jacob Greene (Yamil Asad 88’); Christian Benteke, Taxiarchis Fountas.

Bench: Alex Bono, Jackson Hopkins, Brendan Hines-Ike, Kristian Flecher, Matai Akinmboni.

Scoring Summary:

CIN – Luciano Acosta 59’ (unassisted)
CIN – Alvaro Barreal 73’ (Acosta)
DC – Taxiarchis Fountas 89’ (unassisted)


YC – Jacob Greene 21’ (DC, foul)
YC – Luciano Acosta 39’ (CIN, dissent)
YC – Christian Benteke 60’ (DC, foul)
YC – Yerson Mosquera 70’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Yuya Kubo 90+5’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Brenner 90+5’ (CIN, dissent)
YC – Roman Celentano 90+7’ (CIN, time wasting)
YC – Lewis O’Brien 90+9’ (DC, foul)

Next up:
U.S. Open Cup, 4th Round
vs. New York City FC, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 10th, TQL Stadium (Cincinnati, OH)

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