FC Cincinnati 2 suffered a 2-1 loss to Toronto FC II Sunday night at York Lions Stadium in Toronto, Canada. U-17 academy product Nick McHenry made his first appearance for FCC 2 starting alongside Musa Ramathan and Kai Thomas in defense. The result eliminates the Orange and Blue from playoff contention.
Toronto opened things with a bang, scoring two minutes into the match. Paul Rothrock scored his sixth goal of the season for TFC II after getting his head on the end of a Kadin Chung cross in the center of the box. Rothrock finished the first half with two shots, both of which were on target, and two key attacking assists. Toronto finished with seven first half shot attempts.
Nick Markanich nearly brought FCC 2 level in the 17th minute with a well-struck free kick from eighteen yards out. The chance came after Gerardo Valenzuela drew a foul on the edge of the area and Markanich's attempt hit the outside of the near post. Markanich had a second chance for the Orange and Blue three minutes later, but Toronto goalkeeper Luka Gravan made a comfortable save.
Nico Campuzano made three first-half saves to keep the hosts from doubling their lead. Campuzano denied Toronto midfielder Themi Antonoglou in the 26th minute and made a fingertip save on an attempted TFC II header later in the half. Campuzano kept things close throughout finishing the night with six saves.
FCC 2 started the second half on the front foot forcing early saves out of Gravan. Valenzuela, who picked up two assists against Columbus last weekend, measured a near-perfect free kick in the 51st minute but Gravan produced a heroic save to keep the Orange and Blue off the scoresheet. Valenzuela played ninety minutes against Toronto continuing his fine run of form.
Zico Bailey sparked the move that brought FCC 2 level in the 79th minute, connecting with Valenzuela on a quick one-two pass that saw Bailey in behind the Toronto defense. A tough angled shot forced an awkward rebound that found the foot of Mario Penagos who tucked his shot past the keeper for his first goal of the season.
Alec Diaz would end up scoring the match-winning goal five minutes later to extend Toronto's unbeaten run while keeping TFC II in the driver's seat for one of four postseason spots.
"Overall, I thought the performance was really solid," said head coach Tyrone Marshall. "We had some mental errors that cost us the goals but overall, I think we are starting to turn a corner here with our performances in the last few matches. We are still disappointed with the result, but we will continue to build on what we are doing. Over the last couple of months, we have been more consistent in the lineups we are putting out there and we continue to see more and more chemistry between the boys."
FCC 2 stay on the road for next weekend's match against Orlando City B on Aug. 29.
FC Cincinnati 2 at Toronto FC II
Date: Aug. 21, 2022
Competition: MLS NEXT Pro Regular Season
Venue: York Lions Stadium, Toronto, Canada
Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. ET
Weather: 75 degrees, cloudy
SCORING SUMMARY: 1-2-F
CIN: Penagos 79'
TOR: Rothrock (Chung) 2', A. Diaz (Altobelli) 84'
CIN: Campuzano, Sánchez (Calderon, 64'), McHenry, Ramathan, Thomas (Penagos, 70'), Marshall, Bailey, Dreas, Valenzuela, Daley (Touray, 83'), Markanich
Substitutes not used: Moxom
Head Coach: Tyrone Marshall
TOR: Gavran, Antonoglou, Goulbourne, Coello, Yeates (Diaz, 60'), Pearlman, Rothrock (Karajovanovic, 75'), Curic, Chung (Franklin, 59'), Perruzza (Cimermancic, 60'), Mbongue (Altobelli, 82')
Substitutes not used: Romano, Greenidge-Duncan, Medeiros, Carlini
Head Coach: Gianni Cimini
STATS SUMMARY: CIN / TOR
Shots: 16 / 15
Shots on goal: 8 / 7
Saves: 6 / 7
Corner Kicks: 9 / 7
Fouls: 8 / 11
Offside: 1 / 1
Possession: 42.6 / 57.4
TOR: Curic (Yellow Card) 16', Diaz (Yellow Card) 82'
Referee: Jeremie Blanchette
Ast. Referee: Brad Doubrough, Twayne Anderson
Fourth Official: Fabrizio Stasolla
About MLS NEXT Pro
Launched in March 2022 by Major League Soccer, MLS NEXT Pro is a professional men’s soccer league in the United States and Canada that completes the player pathway from MLS NEXT through to MLS first teams. With 21 Clubs competing during the inaugural season – 20 MLS-affiliated and one independent club, Rochester New York FC – MLS NEXT Pro will grow the game through innovation and diversity by bringing professional soccer to new markets, creating career opportunities for professionals on and off the field, and providing communities with a strong sense of pride. Eight additional MLS-affiliated clubs will join MLS NEXT Pro in 2023, with more independent clubs joining in the years ahead. For more information about MLS NEXT Pro, visit mlsnextpro.com