FC Cincinnati 2 suffered their first loss of the MLS NEXT Pro season Friday night against Crown Legacy FC, 2-1, in Matthews, North Carolina. The match was the first between the two sides since Crown Legacy FC joined MLS NEXT Pro prior to the start of the 2023 season.
Crown Legacy controlled much of the first half action, attacking early and often, keeping FCC 2 from establishing a foothold in the match. Brandon Cambridge opened things for the Crown in the 25th minute, scoring his second goal of the season. David Poreba played the final ball and was credited with an assist on the goal.
Cambridge and Poreba would link up once again in the 34th minute for Cambridge’s second of the night. The goal would send Crown Legacy into the break with a 2-0 lead. The Crown registered 11 first half shots while FCC 2 managed just 2.
Halftime adjustments saw FCC 2 come out on the front foot, threatening Crown Legacy’s goal early in the second half. Jordi Govea combined with Jesus Castellano, who scored in the season opener against Toronto FC II, but Castellano’s attempt was saved by Russell Shealy.
Gerardo Valenzuela and Ben Stitz exchanged quick passes near the edge of the Crown Legacy box four minutes later with the move resulting in a curled effort from Valenzuela that went just wide of the far post. FCC 2 would finish the night with 11 shot attempts and two shots on goal.
The Orange and Blue found a way back into the match in the 71st minute when Ryder Mills found the back of the net for his first MLS NEXT Pro goal. Castellano began the move with a wonderful individual effort to get past the Crown Legacy defense and force a save from Shealy.
Mills’ positioning allowed the young attacker to control and knock the rebound past Shealy with 19 minutes to play.
Paul Walters made big saves throughout the match to keep the Orange and Blue in with a shout. Walters, making his first start of the year, made four saves on the night including one in the 90th minute to spark one final FCC 2 attack. Ultimately, the Orange and Blue were unable to produce an equalizer and suffered their first defeat of the young season.
Ben Stitz made his first start for FCC 2 and Salim Adams made his FCC 2 debut after returning from international play with the Ghana U-21 team in the third-round of qualifying for the African Cup of Nations competition earlier this week.
FC Cincinnati 2 return home on April 9 as they take on Huntsville City FC at Scudamore Field at NKU Soccer Stadium.
FC CINCINNATI 2 GAME REPORT
Crown Legacy FC vs. FC Cincinnati 2
Date: Mar. 31, 2023
Competition: MLS NEXT Pro
Venue: Mecklenburg County Sportsplex at Matthews
Kickoff: 7:03 p.m. ET
Weather: 69 degrees, cloudy
SCORING SUMMARY: 1-2-F
CLT: B. Cambridge (D. Poreba) 25’, B. Cambridge (D. Poreba) 34’
CIN: R. Mills 71’
**CLT: R. Shealy, H. Diop (J. Pedro, 60’), J. Sobocinski (J. Guilherme, 60’), J. Neeley, N. Scardina, A. Armour (N. Petkovic, 79’), P. Mayaka, D. Poreba (J. Williams, 79’), Thiago (B. Romero, 79’), P. Agyemang, B. Cambridge
Substitutes not used: N. Silveira, J. Rodrigues, E. Pena Boardman, G. Sangha
Head Coach: Jose Tavares
CIN: P. Walters, I. Foster, J. Akpunonu, K. Thomas, J. Govea (S. Adams, 68’), S. Jimenez, B. Halsey, G. Valenzuela, M. Marshall, J. Castellano, B. Stitz (R. Mills, 68’)
Substitutes not used: H. Morse, D. Turcios, N. Samways, N. McHenry, H. Conteh
Head Coach: Tyrone Marshall
STATS SUMMARY: CLT/CIN
Shots: 16 / 11
Shots on goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 19 / 17
Offside: 0 / 1
Possession: 42 / 58
CIN: K. Thomas (YC, 13’)
CIN: B. Stitz (YC, 15’)
CLT: P. Mayaka (YC, 21’)
CIN: J. Castellano (YC, 41’)
CLT: N. Scardina (YC, 41’)
CLT: P. Agyemang (YC, 45+2’)
CLT: N. Petkovic (YC, 85’)
Referee: Emma Richards
Ast. Referee(s): Sharon Gingrich, Jarred Mosher
Fourth Official: Joe Surgan