2023 Match Reports

FC Cincinnati gets away point against Vancouver Whitecaps

FC Cincinnati (12-1-4) made its first-ever trip to British Columbia Saturday night to take on the Canadian champion Vancouver Whitecaps (5-5-7). The Orange and Blue did not come home empty-handed either as they left the Pacific Northwest with a road point in a 1-1 result.

Digging deep was the theme of this matchup. Both teams were concluding a flurry of matches in a small number of days. For FCC, this long trip out west capped off a grueling eight matches in 24 days across all competitions. For Vancouver, the home draw concluded a monstrous eleven matches in 35 days across all competitions. Each team averaged a match every 3 days.

As expected, both teams fielded a lineup without critical pieces to their formations. Captain Luciano Acosta started the match on the bench for the first time since April 26th. Whitecaps’ stars Julian Gressel and Ryan Gould were also not featured in the starting XI.

The match started off in a slow, calculated manner. Neither team was sure how to crack their opponent’s midfield defense. In the 11th minute, a long ball found Vancouver’s Brian White who elected to chip the ball over Roman Celentano, with the ball going just wide of frame. A minute later, Brandon Vazquez showed incredible footwork by navigating between three defenders and firing a low shot that was saved between the legs of the goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka. In the 14th minute, Alvas Powell made a great run to deliver the ball into the box to Vazquez who mishit the ball. The rebound fell to Álvaro Barreal whose shot was sent away by Vancouver’s Javain Brown.

The first half saw another couple of unsuccessful chances. In the 23rd minute, Whitecaps forward Sergio Córdova made a clever slip in-behind Ian Murphy to deliver a shot that required Celentano’s diving intervention. At the 40-minute mark, Barreal took a cracking shot at the Vancouver backline. The shot was difficult to deal with and ultimately found Dominique Badji. Badji’s shot was immediately blocked by a diving effort from Vancouver’s captain, Ranko Veselinovic.

The second half opened with a series of FCC chances. Badji attempted an out-of-the-box shot in the 51st minute that was dealt with comfortably by Takaoka. A minute later, Barreal delivered the game’s best chance at goal to that point. As the delivery came in, Vazquez slipped behind the last defender about three yards from the goal and mishit the header well above the goal. A great move, but the finish was one Vazquez would love to have back.

The game got an injection, as the previously mentioned super subs came on in the 67th minute. Almost immediately, FCC sprung an attack that saw Yuya Kubo take a shot that went well wide of goal. Kubo maybe should’ve laid the ball off to Acosta on his left who was bearing down on goal. This was an off night for Kubo as he often displayed his frustrations with poor touches and lack of timing with his teammates.

Acosta then opened the scoring in the 82nd minute with a beautiful shot drifting away from goal that sent the ball to the back post. Takaoka was unsure with his feet and could only watch as the ball found the netting.

“The goal he scores tonight is something not a lot of players can do,” Pat Noonan, FCC manager. “It’s on his weak foot, he sees the keeper out, tough angle. It’s an incredible goal.”

Vancouver then found its answer in the 89th minute as Matt Miazga, who was returning to the pitch from injury, shoved Córdova to the ground inside the penalty area. The veteran Ryan Gauld stepped to the spot and delivered the Whitecaps an equalizer.

As the full-time whistle sounded, the game was all knotted up at one goal apiece. Both sides will now enjoy a much-needed break from action as the FIFA International break starts.

“When you’re winning a game, and you concede the way we did which was a little naive,” Pat Noonan said about the result. “There can be frustration, certainly, but I think there was some pretty calm heads in there that understood that maybe we let one get away there. But what I tried to remind them as just what they were able to do over this period of time to put us in the position that we’re in. So while it is disappointing, and it feels different, because it wasn’t a win. Take a step back and just understand, you know, how many positives, you know, come out of the last three, four weeks.”

CIN: Roman Celentano, Álvaro Barreal (Ray Gaddis, 90’+4), Ian Murphy (Santiago Arias, 68’), Matt Miazga, Yerson Mosquera, Alvas Powell, Junior Moreno, Obinna Nwobodo, Yuya Kubo (Malik Pinto, 78’), Dominique Badji (Luciano Acosta, 68’), Brandon Vazquez

Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Evan Louro, Marco Angulo, Arquimides Ordoñez

VAN: Yohei Takaoka, Mathias Laborda, Ranko Veselinovic, Luis Martins, Javain Brown (Tristan Blackmon, 66’), Sebastian Berhalter, Andres Cubas (Ryan Gauld, 73’), Ryan Raposo (Julian Gressel, 66’), Pedro Vite, Sergio Córdova, Brian White

Substitutes not used: Isaac Boehmer, Deiber Caicedo, Karifa Yao, Jean-Claude Ngando, Russell Teibert

CIN – Ian Murphy (Yellow card) 29’
VAN – Ryan Raposo (Yellow card) 60’
CIN – Yerson Mosquera (Yellow card) 77’
VAN – Pedro Vite (Yellow card) 90’+2

Next Match:
MLS League Play Toronto FC (H) June 21, 7:30 p.m. (Apple TV+)

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