2024 Match Reports

Corey Baird and FC Cincinnati defeat upstart Colorado Rapids

PHOTO: Matt Barnes

FC Cincinnati’s first Western Conference opponent of the season, the Colorado Rapids, came into TQL riding a red-hot start. After 90-plus minutes, the Orange and Blue dowsed the opposition’s run of form to the tune of a 2-1 victory.

The match started with both sides coming out firing. In the second minute, Keegan Rosenberry got free in the box from a corner but was unable to direct the ball down on frame. Yuya Kubo took a hopeful stab at goal in the fifth minute, but Rapids keeper Zack Steffen was able to make a comfortable save.

The 16th minute is where things got even more chaotic. Collecting the ball from a poor clearance, the ball came to Cole Bassett who headed it past Alec Kann and off the far post. After a nervous scramble for the ball, Ian Murphy sprang the FCC counterattack. Luciano Acosta dribbled his way into the box but lost possession. The Colorado clearance fell to Luca Orellano who cracked open a long-ranged shot that just glanced off the far post.

As the ping-pong-like sequence had concluded, it became apparent that DeAndre Yedlin was set to come off. Yedlin had landed on his hip hard in a tackle earlier in the match. Bret Halsey had a brief warm-up before making his entrance to the match.

One of the storylines of the match was Corey Baird’s scoreless start to the season. Baird has been in great positions time after time but for several reasons, the first goal hadn’t yet come. Baird experienced another painfully close goal attempt in the 36th minute. A through ball from Acosta to Kubo was pounced on by Steffen. The ball spilled and facing a wide-open net, Baird’s shot hit the top right corner of the frame.

Baird didn’t hang his head and was able to make his impact on the opening goal of the match. In the 42nd minute, a give-and-go at the top of the box saw Acosta and Baird work together before an Acosta shot beat the outstretched Steffen into the back of the net. For Acosta, that was his 44th goal for FCC across all competitions, making him the sole top goal scorer in franchise history.

Baird wasn’t finished with just the assist though. In the 64th minute, he finally cracked the scoring sheet. Orellano drove the ball centrally before delivering a through ball to Baird. With the angle for a clean shot closing, Baird chipped the ball over Steffen into the back of the net. No doubt a breath of fresh air for FCC’s new striker. Pat Noonan was asked about the goal and what it meant after the match.

“Just look at the reactions of his teammates,” Noonan said. “Everybody was waiting for the moment, including himself. It’s a relief, yes, but it’s a credit to Corey. He’s continued to put his head down and work. I don’t think he’s ignoring the fact that the goals haven’t been there. He wants to contribute, but I don’t think he’s trying to do more than he needs to, which is a credit to him because the chances that he’s getting are him just playing his position and not trying to shoot when it’s not on or dribble, when it’s not on. He’s just doing simple things that are continuing to put him in a position to finish off plays, and that’s the missing piece. Really pleased that he found the goal tonight to help us win a game.”

In the 68th minute, Kubo appeared to have extended the lead further but after a VAR check, it was determined that Kubo’s arm had inadvertently hit the ball before the goal. Moments later Colorado found a way to cut into the lead. A corner kick from Djordje Mihailovic finds the head of Moise Bombito who was able to catch Kann off guard and send the ball inside the near post.

FCC was able to see the match out as the tired legs set in. The three points collected were in front of the sold-out (25,513) home crowd.


FC Cincinnati: 42’ Acosta, 68’ Baird

Colorado Rapids: 72’ Bombito


CIN: Alec Kann, Luca Orellano (Malik Pinto 87’), Ian Murphy (Kipp Keller 88’), Matt Miazga, Miles Robinson, DeAndre Yedlin (Bret Halsey 17’), Pavel Bucha, Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (C) (Aaron Boupendza 90’+1), Yuya Kubo (Yamil Asad 87’), Corey Baird

Substitutes not used: Evan Louro, Alvas Powell, Gerardo Valenzuela, London Aghedo

COL: Zack Steffen, Keegan Rosenberry (C), Sam Vines, Andreas Maxso, Moise Bombito, Djordje Mihailovic, Oliver Larraz (Darren Yapi 65’), Cole Bassett, Rafael Navarro, Calvin Harris (Kimani Stewart-Baynes 66’), Kevin Cabral (Kevin Cabral 66’)

Substitutes not used: Ethan Bandre, Sebastian Anderson, Wayne Frederick, Michael Edwards, Jackson Travis

Next Match:

 MLS Regular Season- at Orlando City – Saturday, May 4th – 7:30 p.m. EST – AppleTV+

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