2023 Match Reports

FCC Comeback earns road draw at Charlotte

As points go, this one for Pat Noonan’s FC Cincinnati side will go down as extremely hard-earned.

The Orange & Blue were down on the road 2-0 to a pair of goals from Charlotte forward Karol Swiderski, but fought back with two second half goals of their own to level the score. A red card to defender Ian Murphy meant the visitors were still under threat, but a big save from Roman Celentano and some stout defending when most needed secured a 2-2 result and a point in the standings for FCC.

With the draw, FCC maintains a seven-point margin in the Supporters’ Shield race over Nashville (who lost 1-0 to Chicago) and St. Louis (1-0 winners over Toronto).

In comments distributed by the club to media, Noonan acknowledged the shortcomings in his team’s performance that caused it to fall behind, but lauded the group for its resilience in getting a result.

“What a response from the group to walk off the field with a point, you know, that outcome could have been very different just based on a couple of breaks that went our way with some chances that they missed in the second half,” Noonan said. “I said in the first half, our first 25 minutes in how we conceded the goals, it’s just too easy to score on us right now. And a couple crosses from wide areas where we just don’t get pressure to the ball and don’t pick up our man and we get punished for it, but I liked that we found our way back into the game. And then at the break, we talked about eliminating the simple things that have cost us. And if we do that, we’ll be able to find our way back into the game. And really at that point, I just want to see the guys go out and believe that they can get back into the game. And they showed that. So you know, it was a hard-earned point on the road.”

The two Charlotte goals came on their only two shots on target in the first half. Swiderski scored both and both were assisted by Kerwin Vargas. Varga ran down right win in the 14th minute before his cross found Swiderski making a near-post run, and the Polish forward redirected the serve past Celentano from close range.

On the second Charlotte goal, Vargas put a ball in from outside the area. Swiderski stuck his boot out awkwardly and the volley may have taken a deflection off of Nick Hagglund, but it ended up behind Celentano for a 2-0 Charlotte lead in the 24th minute.

Noonan’s side slowly battled their way back into the game. Santiago Arias and Luciano Acosta each had good chances in the closing minutes of the half, but the score remained 2-0 for the hosts.

In the second half, the threat from the visitors continued and it paid off when Alvaro Barreal was fouled inside the Chalotte 18-yard box for a penalty. Acosta calmly converted from the spot to make it 2-1 in the 52nd minute.

If the overall comeback is memorable for FCC fans, the equalizing goal should be unforgettable. Acosta played an exquisite pass into space on the left to turn Barreal loose. The Argentine left back skinned one defender, nutmegged another with this shot, the effort evading the goalkeeper and snaking inside the far post to make it 2-2.

There were plenty of talking points for the remainder of the match as both teams had chances. Ian Murphy was red carded in the 75th minute but FCC still created chances after that. A draw may seem a fair enough result however, as Celentano made a brilliant save on Swiderski to preserve the 2-2 scoreline. The Charlotte forward also hit the post with a shot.

Noonan said the team was looking for balance between possibly stealing a win and preserving a draw in the closing minutes.

“This group isn’t going to settle, they want to keep going, they want to score the third and I respect that,” he said. “But we have to do that in a pretty calculated way. And like I said, I think we could have managed the last 10 minutes maybe prior to of course the sending off in a little bit better way. But the last 15 survival with being down a man and I think the guys managed some moments pretty well. I think once we got into a back five and had Marco [Angulo], Obi and Malik [Pinto] in front of them, it became a little bit easier to get pressure to the ball. You know, that’s what we were we were concerned about when we were in the back four.”

FCC play next on Wednesday at Red Bull New York.

Match Summary (Courtesy FC Cincinnati)


FC Cincinnati: Roman Celentano, Álvaro Barreal, Ian Murphy, Nick Hagglund, Santiago Arias (Alvas Powell 82’), Junior Moreno (Malik Pinto 82’), Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (C), Yuya Kubo (Ray Gaddis 87’), Sergio Santos (Marco Angulo 82’)

Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Joey Akpunonu, Arquimides Ordoñez, Bret Halsey, Ben Stitz

Charlotte FC: Kristijan Kahlina, Guzmán Corujo, Nathan Byrne, Jaylin Lindsey (Bill Tuiloma 82’), Ashley Westwood (C) (Patrick Agyemang 82’), Brandt Bronico, Derrick Jones (Jan Sobocinski 36’), Scott Arfield, Karol Swiderski, McKinze Gaines, Kerwin Vargas (Kamil Jozwiak 60’)

Substitutes not used: George Marks, Ben Bender, Harrison Afful, George Marks, Andrew Privett


Shots: 7 / 8 
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 2 / 1 
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4 
Fouls: 17 / 10 
Offside: 1 / 0 
Possession: 48.9 / 51.1 


CIN – Yerson Mosquera (Yellow Card) 11’
CLT – Guzmán Corujo (Yellow Card) 27’
CIN – Ian Murphy (Yellow Card) 29’
CLT – Jaylin Lindsey (Yellow Card) 45+2’
CIN – Sergio Santos (Yellow Card) 57’
CLT – Scott Arfield (Yellow Card) 69’
CIN – Ian Murphy (Second Yellow Card, Red Card) 75’
CLT – Kamil Jozwiak (Yellow Card) 89’
CLT – Karol Swiderski (Yellow Card) 90+3’


Referee: Ted Unkel 

Ast. Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Mike Nickerson

Fourth Official: Chris Ruska
VAR: Malik Badawi
AVAR: Mike Kampmeinert



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