2024 Match Reports

Superman Returns: FC Cincinnati falls 1-0 to Monterrey in Vazquez’s homecoming

Photo by Rob Moore

The book on FC Cincinnati gets thicker by the day, but this chapter may be a difficult account to retell.

The Orange & Blue were burned by a familiar face in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions Cup matchup against C.F. Monterrey. Brandon Vazquez returned to his Ohio stomping grounds and provided the spark that drove Rayados to a 1-0 victory at TQL Stadium.

Head Coach Pat Noonan played a solid Starting XI for this stage of the Champions Cup. Much of the Saturday lineup against Chicago started, the only replacement being newly-acquired DeAndre Yedlin for Alvas Powell in his first match for the Orange & Blue. Nick Hagglund made his return to the bench after months of injury rehabilitation, but Luca Orellano and Marco Angulo were still excused from the team for personal matters.

Monterrey rotated a few players on their Starting XI, but Vazquez remained in the lineup atop the 4-4-2 formation. His striker partner German Berterame started on the bench, as rumors of the Argentinian’s transfer to Portland Timbers still swirled.

The Rayados lineup needed a bit of a shake-up just minutes into the match. Captain Hector Moreno went down early with a leg injury and had to walk off in the 10th minute.

While Monterrey enjoyed a slight early advantage in possession, FCC had the first good looks at goal. Corey Baird stung goalkeeper Esteban Andrada’s palms with a close shot in the 15th minute. Two minutes later, Baird appeared to have scored his first goal for Cincinnati, only for an offside call to cancel the score.

In the 24th minute, Superman finally came out of his phone booth.

Vazquez took a pass from Maximiliano Meza atop the 18-yard box and fired past a sprawling Matt Miazga. Roman Celentano got a hand on the shot, only for the ball’s momentum to guide it into the net. Monterrey’s vital away goal lasted until halftime for a 1-0 lead.

Despite the deficit, Cincinnati had many more opportunities in the second half, outshooting Monterrey 12-7, but was unable to find the frame. Baird could not poke down a cross from Acosta in the 51st minute, while Aaron Boupendza aimed too far right to find a goal in the 57th minute.

The tide turned with a sudden red card to Monterrey in the 70th minute. Defender Rodrigo Aguirre appeared to shove Baird to the grass during setup for a corner kick, and VAR picked out the violent conduct. Aguirre’s send-off dropped Monterrey to 10 men for over 20 minutes.

As much as that benefitted the Orange & Blue, the rest of the game went dry. Sergio Santos had the biggest remaining chance in the 79th minute, but his close-range shot was deflected out by Andrada.

The Monterrey goalkeeper ended the evening with four saves.

Despite the loss, Noonan felt it still had merit.

“We played a really strong team, and I thought we played really well,” he said. “The obvious was the play in front of goal. We just missed on some really good chances. Credit to their keeper who made some saves, as well. That was the deciding factor in the result. But if we perform like that, I think we’ll be OK.”

Vazquez was humble, but still happy for the performance after the game.

“I feel happy that I was able to score, and it’s a similar feeling that I’ve had (here),” Vazquez said. “I’ve scored a lot of goals on this field, in this stadium. Doing it for another team feels a little weird, but at the end of the day we win, and I’m happy about that. I’ve got a lot of respect for (FC Cincinnati), for the fans here, for this city. It’s all love.”

Monterrey returns home with a 1-0 advantage in the draw. In order to advance to the next round, FC Cincinnati will have to score at least once in a difficult and unfamiliar territory.

The Orange & Blue have another quick turnaround, facing D.C. United on Sunday at TQL Stadium. C.F. Monterrey resumes their Liga MX Clausura season with a match on Sunday vs. Mazatlan. Both teams will meet again next Thursday at Estadio BBVA.

CONCACAF Champions Cup
Match #1, Round of 16 – FC Cincinnati vs. C.F. Monterrey
TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Attendance: 21,175
Result: FC Cincinnati 0, C.F. Monterrey 1.


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

Roman Celentano (GK); DeAndre Yedlin (Bret Halsey 88’), Miles Robinson, Matt Miazga, Ian Murphy, Yuya Kubo; Obinna Nwobodo (Gerardo Valenzuela 83’), Luciano Acosta (c), Pavel Bucha; Aaron Boupendza, Corey Baird (Sergio Santos 76’).

Bench: Evan Louro, Alvas Powell, Nick Hagglund, Kipp Keller, Malik Pinto, Quimi Ordoñez, London Aghedo, Isaiah Foster, Stiven Jimenez.

C.F. Monterrey Starting XI (4-4-2):

Esteban Andrada; Jesus Gallardo, Edson Gutierrez, Hector Moreno (c) (Sebastian Vegas 10’), Gerardo Arteaga; Jordi Cortizo (Rodrigo Aguirre 57’), Jorge Rodriguez, Sergio Canales (Luis Romo 72’), Maximiliano Meza; Erick Aguirre (John Medina 72’), Brandon Vazquez (German Berterame 58’).

Bench: Luis Cardenas, Cesar Ramos, Omar Givea, Jesus Corona, Jaziel Martinez, Alfonso Gonzalez, Victor Lopez.

Scoring Summary:
MTY – Brandon Vazquez 24’ (Meza)

YC – Obinna Nwobodo 26’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Corey Baird 45+3’ (CIN, foul)
YC – Jorge Rodriguez 55’ (MTY, foul)
YC – Sebastian Vegas 64’ (MTY, foul)
RC – Rodrigo Aguirre 70’ (MTY, violent conduct)

Next up:
vs. D.C. United, 3 p.m, Sunday, March 10th, TQL Stadium (Cincinnati, OH)

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