Sometimes you have to swallow a bitter fruit in order to appreciate the taste of a delicious dinner. While FC Cincinnati had their moment in the sun to lift the Supporters’ Shield, the New York Red Bulls came out with the three points they needed.
Cincinnati (19-8-5, 65 pts.) opted to rest much of their typical Starting XI and the rotated squad was unable to clean an early mess. Frankie Amaya and Elias Manoel scored first-half goals for New York (9-10-13, 37 pts.), then survived a hailstorm of yellow cards to escape with the win. Luciano Acosta’s penalty kick in the second half made the game close, but in the end, it was not enough.
Fresh off their win against Toronto FC, the Orange and Blue chose to rest seven of their starters from Saturday. Head Coach Pat Noonan still opted for a strong defensive presence, starting Obinna Nwobodo, Yerson Mosquera, and Matt Miazga. Alec Kann took the pitch for his first MLS start of the season, while Sergio Santos returned to the bench.
New York needed to halt the negative momentum, having won only twice in the eight matches since the Leagues Cup. The Starting XI featured nine of the 11 from Saturday’s loss against Chicago. Hassan Ndam served his red-card suspension, while lead scorer Omir Fernandez started on the bench.
Needless to say, New York didn’t need their lead scorer in the first half.
The Red Bulls pounced first and padded their score quickly. Former FCC draft pick Frankie Amaya received a back pass from Luquinhas and sliced a shot past Alec Kann in the 12th minute. Amaya’s fifth of the season made it 1-0.
Five minutes later, another combination from Kann’s right beat the defense, as Elias Manoel fired home a cross from Jon Tolkin to double the lead. Had it not been for a wide-open miss by Cameron Harper in the eighth minute, the 2-0 hole at halftime could have been too deep to climb.
Despite owning a 70-30 advantage in possession, Cincinnati had only one first-half shot on net, a Yuya Kubo shot right at goalkeeper Carlos Coronel in the 15th minute. Their best opportunity was a 14th-minute attempt by Alvas Powell that just skirted by the goalpost.
Noonan made gradual changes to the lineup, eventually lifting players for Acosta, Alvaro Barreal and Brandon Vazquez to get essential minutes. It appeared that the substitutions were for naught, as Manoel appeared to score in the 64th minute. However, a VAR check by referee Chris Penso overturned that, as Acosta’s pass in the opposite box hit Andres Reyes’ hand previously. Acosta buried the resulting penalty kick in the 68th minute for his 16th goal of the season.
As much as FCC started to push possession deeper into New York territory, the yellow cards eventually caught up. Alvas Powell received a second yellow card in the 88th minute, and New York survived the attack through 10 minutes of extra time to escape with the win.
Despite the Orange & Blue’s second loss at home, the pitch was quickly cleared for the post-match lifting of the Supporters Shield. FCC is officially the 14th current MLS squad to receive the Shield, which was handed to the team by representatives from their supporter groups.
“It’s a disappointing result going into a special moment and celebration, so I think that’s the tough part of how it led into post-game,” Pat Noonan said following the match. “We put ourselves into a hole in terms of the game, and going down a couple goals—we had a couple chances early on, but (Red Bulls) converted, they were better in the box certainly in the first 45.”
However, Noonan wanted to focus more on the overall accomplishment.
“In the end, we just didn’t have enough for that final moment, but to be honest, I don’t want to talk too much about the game, despite the frustrations,” he said. “I want to focus on the players, the club, the fans, so we can enjoy the really special evening.”
The loss means that FCC will not be able to break any records for the most points gained in a 34-match season (73, by New England in 2021). It also means that they cannot set a new record for home wins in a season (14, set by DC United in 1998 and New York Red Bulls in 2018).
FCC makes their last regular-season away trip this Saturday, facing an Inter Miami CF squad struggling to make the playoffs. The Red Bulls return home to face Toronto FC in their home finale this Saturday with an opportunity to make their 14th-straight postseason.
Match 32 – FC Cincinnati vs. New York Red Bulls
TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Result: FC Cincinnati 1, New York Red Bulls 2.
FC Cincinnati Starting XI (5-3-2):
Alec Kann (GK); Alvas Powell, Nick Hagglund (Brandon Vazquez 81’), Matt Miazga (c) (Ian Murphy 46’), Yerson Mosquera, Ray Gaddis (Alvaro Barreal 59’); Marco Angulo (Luciano Acosta 58’), Yuya Kubo, Obinna Nwobodo (Malik Pinto 46’); Dominique Badji, Aaron Boupendza.
Bench: Roman Celentano, Santiago Arias, Sergio Santos, Junior Moreno.
New York Red Bulls Starting XI (4-4-2):
Carlos Coronel (GK); Kyle Duncan, Andres Reyes, Sean Nealis (c), John Tolkin (Dylan Nealis 69’); Luquinhas (Dru Yearwood), Frankie Amaya, Daniel Edelman, Cameron Harper (Peter Stroud 69’); Tom Barlow, Elias Manoel (Omir Fernandez 69’, Cory Burke 76’).
Bench: Ryan Meara, Wikelman Carmona, Julian Hall, Jorge Cabezas.
RBNY – Frankie Amaya 12’ (Luquinhas)
RBNY – Elias Manoel 17’ (Tolkin)
CIN – Luciano Acosta 67’ (PK)
YC – Ray Gaddis 27’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Alvas Powell 49’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Andres Reyes 53’ (RBNY, foul)
YC – Nick Hagglund 73’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Malik Pinto 82’ (CIN, foul)
YC (RC) – Alvas Powell 88’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Alvaro Barreal 90+8’ (CIN, dissent)
YC – Carlos Coronel 90+9’ (RBNY, dissent)
YC – Kyle Duncan 90+10’ (RBNY, foul)
YC – Luciano Acosta 90+10’ (CIN, other)
at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m, Saturday, October 7th, DRV PNK Stadium (Fort Lauderdale, FL)