CONCACAF Champions Cup

FC Cincinnati looking for comeback story against C.F. Monterrey

Photo by Anders Saling

FC Cincinnati will look to write a comeback story when the team travels to face off against C.F. Monterrey late Thursday night. FCC comes into the the second leg of the Round of 16 matchup of the CONCACAF Champions League against C.F. Monterrey down 1-0 thanks to the Brandon Vazquez winner from last week’s matchup.

This matchup between the two looks to be significantly different from the one we saw last Thursday, as this second leg will be played at the famous Estadio BBVA. C.F. Monterrey has one of the best home supports in the American region, which will make the game a very difficult one to travel to.

That isn’t the only reason the second leg will be even more difficult for FCC, as injuries have swung against FCC in multiple facets. Rayados looks to have its two starting center backs, Víctor Guzmán and Héctor Moreno, back following injuries sidelined them.

Then, for FCC, superstar defensive midfielder Obinna Nwobodo picked up a knock in Sunday’s affair against D.C. United and had to be subbed off. I would be shocked if he is able to feature for this reverse fixture, giving FCC the difficult task of defending C.F. Monterrey, away and without its primary midfield defender.

However, one thing that has changed compared to when FCC had its last away matchup of the CCC is that Aaron Boupendza will be involved. In the team’s visit to Cavalier FC, the star striker wasn’t able to travel due to Visa issues. Reports have shown that will not be an issue on Thursday, and he will be able to go and play.

With all of the factors, and FCC’s struggles in the league, as well as the sizable task in front of the Orange and Blue, it is fair to wonder if FCC will fully go for the game. I’m not saying FCC will give up and only play backups, but I think it’s a possibility Head Coach Pat Noonan looks to play guys like Dado Valenzuela, Malik Pinto and Bret Halsey in the second half of the matchup if it doesn’t go the team’s way.

FCC’s biggest strengths and weaknesses so far this season loomed the largest in last Thursday’s matchup, those being the lack of finishing chances and a good defense that can stop anyone for a majority of the game.

For the former, Corey Baird and Boupendza had plenty of chances that they could have capitalized on but neither, and Lucho Acosta, were able to put them past the Rayados defense. It was of paramount importance in the home leg that the team at least get a draw and they were unable to score a single goal.

Concerning the latter, FCC did an admirable job holding a great Rayados to only one goal, and even that goal shouldn’t have ended up in the back of the net, as Roman Celentano had both of his hands on the ball and let it sneak past him. The goalkeeper has to do better, especially considering the away goal situation. Obvious;y, that isn’t in a goalkeeper’s head in the moment, but it does make the goal he let through even worse in hindsight.

Other than that goal, the defense did a great job and I think it showed that will be the team’s strength in the beginning of the season while the offense tries to gel. Luca Orellano, Boupendza and Acosta still haven’t played many minutes together and that has shown in their play.

I think FCC has a chance in this second leg to shock some people, but it will take some luck and the defense playing at its best, and then beating Rayados on the counter when they have numbers forward.

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