2023 Match Reports

FC Cincinnati stomps over low-quality Toronto FC

A new look FC Cincinnati left little doubt that they are the top team in MLS after an impressive 3-0 win over Toronto FC.

FCC returned to action Wednesday night largely refreshed and recovered following a ten-day break from action. But the Orange and Blue were without a few critical pieces. Most notably, the backline’s mainstays were missing from the lineup. Matt Miazga was out on international duty while Nick Hagglund is still recovering from injury, as Yerson Mosquera served a single-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. The trio of center backs have combined for nearly 4,000 minutes this season. The void on the backline was filled by Alvis Powell, Ian Murphy and Ray Gaddis.

“We defended the box really well.” Pat Noonan, FCC manager, said. “They (Toronto) have two of the best one v one attackers. They do a good job finding isolation. I thought across the board along our backline those guys were excellent in defending in isolation and one v one. Just couldn’t be more pleased with the group.”

Pat Noonan’s comments on Toronto’s big two attacking players Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne aren’t just a respectful nod. The two Italian forwards are just under two years removed from winning the UEFA Euro 2020 final. Wednesday they found no joy, combining for 10 shots, and netting none of them. The clean sheet was FCC’s ninth of the season.

On the attacking side, Brandon Vazquez joined Miazga in the USMNT’s Gold Cup roster. Sergio Santos was also still recovering with a hamstring injury, with former star striker Brenner now gone. But even with these star players missing, FCC was able to score three goals on the night.

The scoring started with a corner in the 35th minute when Alvaro Barreal found Powell in the box for a headed shot attempt that was saved. But the rebound found Santiago Arias, who was ready to send the ball into the back of the net. In the 54th minute, a Yuya Kubo press on Toronto keeper Greg Ranjitsingh led to a turnover in the box. Marco Angulo smartly laid the ball off to Luciano Acosta and just like that, FCC was up two. It wouldn’t take long for FCC to extend that lead when a quick restart of the ball found a pacing Dominique Badji who split Ranjitsingh’s legs for a 64th-minute goal.

With a comfortable 3-0 lead, FCC was able to get its young talent out on the pitch for some first-team minutes. In the 77th minute, FCC2’s Brett Halsey came on at left-back. In the 89th minute, Gerardo Valenzuela made his first team debut. A minute later, Stiven Jimenez also came, on making him the fifth youngest player ever to debut in an MLS league match at 15 years old, 362 days.

In front of a sold-out crowd, FC Cincinnati tallied its 10th straight MLS home win. That tied the all-time record for a regular season with the 2002 San Jose Earthquakes.

CIN: Roman Celentano, Álvaro Barreal (Bret Halsey 77’), Ray Gaddis, Ian Murphy, Alvas Powell, Santiago Arias, Marco Angulo (Malik Pinto 68’), Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (C) (Gerardo Valenzuela 89’), Yuya Kubo (Stiven Jimenez 90’), Dominique Badji (Arquimides Ordoñez 68’)

Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Joey Akpunonu, Isaiah Foster, London Aghedo

TOR: Greg Ranjitsingh, Aime Mabika, Kobe Franklin (Cristian Gutierrez 77’), Raoul Petretta (Sigurd Rosted 42’), Mark-Anthony Kaye, Jonathan Osorio (C), Brandon Servania (Kosi Thompson 46’), C.J. Sapong (Deandre Kerr 46’), Federico Bernardeschi, Lorenzo Insigne

Substitutes not used: Luka Gavran, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Ayo Akinola, Shane O’Neill, Jordan Perruzza

CIN – Obinna Nwobodo (Yellow Card) 19’
TOR – Raoul Petretta (Yellow Card) 25’
TOR – Federico Bernardeschi (Yellow Card) 41’
CIN – Ray Gaddis (Yellow Card) 41’
CIN – Bret Halsey (Yellow Card) 82’

Next Match:
MLS League Play DC United (A) June 24th, 7:30 p.m. (Apple TV+)

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