2024 Match Reports

FC Cincinnati digs deep to outlast the Union, 4-3

PHOTO: Ethan Burrage

In a wild match that saw seven goals scored, FC Cincinnati outlasted the Philadelphia Union for a 4-3 win. The Orange and Blue had to dig deep to collect all three points at home.

The match started out with a continuation of the chippy play from the preseason meeting. There were three yellow cards issued in the first twelve minutes, with even more hard challenges that went with only warnings issued.

In the 29th minute, Kevin Kelsy broke through the physical bout with the match’s opening goal. A lobbing service from Luciano Acosta was targeting the head of Kelsy but went a little long. Kelsy managed to get a shoulder on the ball and direct it inside the near post. The Union goalkeeper Oliver Semmie was caught flatfooted and unable to get a palm on the shot.

The Union, however, did find an answer before the halftime break in the 43rd minute. A ball played out wide to Olivier Mbaiz0 caused a severe number disadvantage for FCC in the 18-yard box. Mbaizo crossed the ball to the back post where Mikael Uhre headed it in front of frame. After the ball was skied over the head of Jakob Glesnes, Tai Baribo struck it between Roman Celentano’s legs into the net.

After the halftime period, FCC regained the lead. Yuya Kubo was able to close out on a ball in the box and took the contact from Jack Elliott to draw a penalty kick. Acosta stepped to the spot and buried the ball into the net. 2-1 to the Orange and Blue.

In the 53rd minute, Celentano needed to come up big with a punch on a Jack McGlynn shot from a distance. But the Union’s attack was just testing the waters. After failing to regain possession, FCC conceded a corner kick in the 55th minute. Kai Wagner sent in the corner and the ball found Jesus Bueno. Bueno had beat Obinna Nwobodo on the run and smashed the ball into the net. The match was once again level.

The Union then once again made a dangerous run into the box in the 60th minute. An important intervention from Kipp Keller broke up a potential second Bueno goal. Keller stayed down with what was later described by Pat Noonan as a leg cramp. But the play on the field continued. The ball made its way to Luca Orellano who ushered it into the midfield. After crossing the halfway line, Orellano ripped a shot at the Union goal. Semmie was caught out of goal and desperately attempted to get back to save it. But the ball floated over Semmie’s outstretched hand and into the net. TQL Stadium erupted as Orellano potentially scored the MLS goal of the year.

The 90-plus-degree heat started to wear on the action of the match. Numerous substitutions were needed to light a spark back into the play on the field. Sergio Santos found several opportunities to score a fourth goal for FCC but ultimately the chances were foiled. The Union ceased the chance to once again tie the match in the 91st minute. Again, the failure to gain possession of the ball in the defensive third haunted FCC. After a spell of the ball knocking around, a cross found Wagner, who headed the ball back to Baribo in front of the net. Baribo’s right-footed shot beat a diving Celentano to bring the match level for a third time.

After a grueling ten minutes of stoppage time, reigning MVP Acosta put the game to bed. A Yamil Asad run to the box found the ball laid off to Acosta. Acosta navigated his way along the defensive line, waiting to pick his spot to take a shot. The shot was across his body to the far post and under the diving Semmie for the match-winner. Acosta’s goal goes down as the latest FCC goal ever scored in regulation of a match in the 100th minute. TQL Stadium exploded with excitement as the Orange and Blue once again pulled out the gritty win in front of the home faithful. An exhausted Acosta described what it took to fight off the fatigue and heat to get the winner.

“Very difficult,” Acosta said. “I think that after so many games in a row, bigger and bigger, you feel more and more tired. But the truth is that it’s all in the head, the mentality that that team has is great.”

To Top