2023 Match Reports

FC Cincinnati return to forms, silences NYCFC 3-0

FC Cincinnati has faced New York City FC three times this season. The Orange & Blue have taken their bite out of the Big Apple each time.

Cincinnati (16-6-3, 54 pts.) rebounded from some difficult summer congestion to pull away in the second half against NYCFC (5-11-10, 26 pts.). FCC rode an early goal from Aaron Boupendza, then iced the match with second-half goals by Junior Moreno and Nick Hagglund.

This marks the first time FCC has beaten the same team three times in a season as an MLS squad.

FCC entered the match trending downward, looking for their first win in August, having been knocked out of the Leagues Cup and U.S. Open Cup competitions. Their only MLS match in August was a disheartening 3-0 road loss to Columbus Crew.

Considering the Orange & Blue played over 120 minutes of football on Wednesday, some rotation was expected. Bret Halsey made his first start for FCC, taking Alvaro Barreal’s spot at left back. With his start on the bench, Barreal’s 40-match regular-season starting streak came to an end.

Obinna Nwobodo served his yellow-card suspension as well, replaced in the lineup by Yuya Kubo. Yerson Mosquera and Dom Badji were both still not ready for an appearance after their injuries.

NYCFC also needed to right their ship, winning only once in the past 16 MLS matches (1-8-7). While NYCFC announced zero injuries on their report earlier in the week, midfielders James Sands and Santiago Rodriguez both missed the match due to lower-body injuries. The Starting XI contained a combined total of five MLS goals this season—in comparison, Luciano Acosta started the day with 12.

The first 20 minutes of play were mostly dictated by FCC. Halsey’s early work on the left led to a shot on target in the fifth minute. The save spritzed straight to  Boupendza, and his header—his second goal of the season—gave FCC the early 1-0 lead.

Boupendza contributed to the other major chance on target in the 18th minute. His pop-fly cross into the box was handled by Brandon Vazquez, but the striker’s header was smothered by goalkeeper Luis Barraza.

NYCFC managed to end the half with more of the possession (54-46) but failed to register a shot on the net. Midfielder Andres Perea, on loan from Philadelphia, took all three shots, with his best attempt in the seventh minute skidding past the goal to Roman Celentano’s left.

Coming out of halftime, FCC quickly out-distanced themselves from NYCFC with a pretty team-generated goal. In the 52nd minute, Vazquez and Moreno used quick passes to launch Acosta down the side. Acosta’s penetration allowed Moreno to sprint into the box and hammer home a right-footed strike past Barraza. Moreno’s fourth goal of the season made it 2-0.

Halsey and Acosta once again were the utility men to put the game out of reach. In the 59th minute, both worked in tandem on a corner kick, with Acosta one-timing a cross into the box. Hagglund’s pinpoint header to Barraza’s right put the game out of reach.

Considering the result against Inter Miami, Hagglund noted that he immediately pushed Wednesday’s loss behind him.

“We knew that cup was over, that was kind of the mentality,” he said. “That’s over with and we have more to push for the rest of the season. It can go one of two ways when you have a bad moment. You can either go down and feel sorry for yourself, or you can pick yourself us and look yourself in the face to go on. For me, I’m proud of myself for going forward to the next game and doing the job.”

FCC Manager Pat Noonan also said the result was pleasing considering a couple of prior matches.

“We’re really pleased with the response from this group after a difficult week,” Noonan said. “The lead-up to the game adds up to the pressure. Maybe we don’t talk about it that way, but off of a couple tough losses, I thought that the performance tonight and just the way we attacked, with so many things we talked about, the discipline the guys had, the way we defended, it was an all-around strong performance. We get a goal on the set piece, rely on Roman to make a couple of key saves when the plays broke down, but the whole team stepped up. That’s what we asked of them, and that’s how they responded.”

While FC Cincinnati’s MLS winning streak starts anew, the home results continue to pour in. FCC’s 37 points at home (12-1-0) make them only the second team to have that many points at home in the first 13 matches of the season (San Jose in 2002). Their 16th win of the season currently puts them 10 points ahead of their next competitor in the Supporter Shield standings.

FCC travels to Georgia to take on Atlanta United on Wednesday. Atlanta’s all-star Thiago Almada scored a goal and three assists in their 4-0 demolition of Nashville SC.

NYCFC falls to 13th place in the East and faces Montreal on Wednesday at home.

Match 25 – FC Cincinnati vs. New York City FC
TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Attendance: 25,513
Result: FC Cincinnati 3, New York City FC 0.


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

Roman Celentano (GK); Santiago Arias (Ray Gaddis 72’), Nick Hagglund, Matt Miazga, Ian Murphy, Bret Halsey (Alvaro Barreal 72’); Junior Moreno, Luciano Acosta (c) (Gerardo Valenzuela 84’), Yuya Kubo (Marco Angulo 72’); Aaron Boupendza (Sergio Santos 72’), Brandon Vazquez.

Bench: Alec Kann, Alvas Powell, Malik Pinto, London Aghedo.

New York City FC Starting XI (4-2-3-1):

Luis Barraza (GK); Tayvon Grey, Thiago Martins (c), Birk Risa, Braian Cufre (Alonso Martinez 84’); Mitja Ilenic (Andres Jasson 57’), Keaton Parks; Julian Fernandez (Matias Pellegrini 66’), Andres Perea, Maxi Moralez (Richard Ledezma 66’); Monsef Bakrar (Talles Magno 57’).

Bench: Matt Freese, Kevin O’Toole, Justin Haak, Alfredo Morales.

Scoring Summary:

CIN – Aaron Boupendza 6’ (unassisted)
CIN – Junior Moreno 52’ (Acosta)
CIN – Nick Hagglund 59’ (Acosta)

YC – Matt Miazga 45’ (CIN, dissent)
YC – Yuya Kubo 51’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Alonso Martinez 88’ (NYC, foul)
YC – Andres Perea 90+2’ (NYC, foul)

Next up:
at Atlanta United, 7:30 p.m, Wednesday, August 30th, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA)

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