On a night when just one bite was enough, FC Cincinnati opted to take a good chunk out of the Big Apple.
FC Cincinnati obtained their first win against New York City FC in all competitions, leaning on a Brandon Vazquez header to slip past NYCFC 1-0 in the Round of 32 for the U.S. Open Cup.
FC Cincinnati entered the contest having never beaten the Cityzens in eight contests, but they managed two strong points from draws last season against NYCFC. While the U.S. Open Cup is a knockout competition and not part of the MLS calendar, the win still counted for something.
FCC brought in a Starting XI with a surprising volume of starters from the last match against D.C. United—only Junior Moreno and Roman Celentano were held out of the full roster. NYCFC played a comparative number of traditional starters in their 4-2-3-1 formation, but Alfredo Morales was a late scratch due to an injury.
Much of the first half involved both teams trying to figure out how their mix of starters and bench players fit together. Both teams enjoyed a similar share of shots, but all three of FC Cincinnati’s attempts found frame. The strongest opportunity came from a Yuya Kubo rocket in the 32nd minute that had to be padded over the frame by goalkeeper Matt Freese.
New York City’s closest opportunity came in the 22nd minute. Tony Alfaro managed to sneak past the back line on a free kick, only for his header to dribble past the far post for a goal kick. However, the Cityzens maintained possession (43-57) and managed to carve yellow cards out of FC Cincinnati early on, forcing Obinna Nwobodo and Yerson Mosquera to play with caution.
Cincinnati finally solved the NYCFC defense in the second half. In the 56th minute, Alvaro Barreal’s corner kick found enough of Vazquez’s head to push past Freese. The forward’s third goal over all competitions gave FCC a 1-0 lead with much of the second half left.
New York City’s best opportunity came on their own set piece. In the 79th minute, midfielder James Sands found a header attempt in the box. While he was not tested too much, goalkeeper Alec Kann made himself wide enough to block the clear shot for clearance.
Kann’s second start in the Open Cup was also his second clean sheet in as many matches.
Much of the six additional minutes of extra time were cleaned out, with FC Cincinnati advancing to the Round of 16. The next opponent will be determined on Thursday, most likely against USL-side Pittsburgh Riverhounds, New York Red Bulls, or Columbus Crew SC.
Coach Pat Noonan noted the potential for winning a U.S. Open Cup trophy is there.
“When you win on a consistent basis, and when you win against top teams in the league, that should give the group belief that you can win trophies,” Noonan noted after the match. “I know that group in (the locker room) believes that and that we as a staff believe that.”
While FC Cincinnati await their next opponent in the Open Cup, the team gets a well-deserved rest this weekend before a match against CF Montreal at home. NYCFC retreats home to visit the New York Red Bulls for their first Hudson River Derby of the season on Saturday.
U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 matchup:
FC Cincinnati vs. New York City FC
TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Result: FC Cincinnati 1, New York City FC 0.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (3-5-2):
Alec Kann (GK); Ian Murphy, Matt Miazga (c), Yerson Mosquera; Alvaro Barreal, Malik Pinto (Marco Angulo 83’), Yuya Kubo (Luciano Acosta 67’), Obinna Nwobodo, Ray Gaddis (Alvas Powell 82’); Dominique Badji (Sergio Santos 76’), Brandon Vazquez.
Bench: Evan Louro, Joey Akpunonu, Nick Hagglund.
New York City Starting XI (4-2-3-1):
Matt Freese; Tony Alfaro, Maxime Chanot, Thiago Martins, Tayvon Gray; Justin Haak, James Sands; Talles Magno (Santiago Rodriguez 61’), Kevin O’Toole, Andres Jasson (Gabriel Pereira 61’); Gabriel Segal (Richard Ledezma 61’).
Bench: Cody Mizell, Braian Cufre, Stephen Turnbull, Nico Benalcazar.
CIN – Brandon Vazquez 56’ (Alvaro Barreal)
YC – Obinna Nwobodo 12’ (CIN, foul
YC – Yerson Mosquera 20’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Matt Miazga 81’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Tayvon Gray 82’ (NYC, foul)
YC – Justin Haak 88’ (NYC, foul)
vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 17th, TQL Stadium (Cincinnati, OH)