FC Cincinnati 2 earned three points in a 4-2 win against Toronto FC II in their first match of the MLS NEXT Pro season at Scudamore Field at NKU Soccer Stadium.
Jesus Castellano, who made his FC Cincinnati 2 debut, got things started in the 8th minute, scoring his first goal for the club. Jordi Govea pressured down the left attacking wing before sending a dangerous cross into the box which Toronto was not able to deal with. Castellano found himself in the right spot at the right time as a failed clearance found his foot and the first-year attacker finished with ease.
Toronto responded in the 23rd minute, courtesy of Reshaun Walkes. Alec Diaz played provider as he drove into the box and down toward the Cincinnati goal line. Diaz was nearly forced out of bounds but was able to get a quick cross in across the face of goal. Walkes headed home from point blank to bring things level. The Young Reds grabbed a second after earning a penalty in the 29th minute. Diaz stepped to the spot and finished down the middle and just under the arm of Evan Louro.
While the Orange and Blue went into the break trailing by a goal, they quickly found a way back into the match just two minutes after the start of the second half. Arquimides Ordoñez, who finished the night with two goals and an assist, was the beneficiary of a miss struck shot from Morgan Marshall that found the forward open in front of goal.
Gerardo Valenzuela made it three for the hosts in the 56th minute, dashing onto the end of a ball from Marshall and cutting past a defender in the box. Valenzuela elected for power to beat Luka Gavran, smashing one right over the young goalkeeper’s head and into the roof of the net.
Ordoñez would put the match away in the 81st minute to complete the brace. The pacy forward broke behind the Toronto defense and looked as if he had beaten Gavran, but his attempt came off the far post rebounding back into the path of Ordoñez who tucked it home.
Seven players made their FC Cincinnati 2 debuts against Toronto including Joey Akpunonu, Isaiah Foster, Stiven Jimenez, Bret Halsey, Ben Stitz, Haroun Conteh and the goalscoring Castellano. FC Cincinnati 2 head to Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday as they take on expansion side, Crown Legacy FC, on March 31.
**FC CINCINNATI 2 GAME REPORT
**FC Cincinnati vs. Toronto FC II
Date: Mar. 27, 2023
Competition: MLS NEXT Pro
Venue: Scudamore Field at NKU Soccer Stadium
Kickoff: 7:03 p.m. ET
Weather: 60 degrees, cloudy
**SCORING SUMMARY: 1-2-F
CIN: Castellano (Ordoñez) 7’, Ordoñez 47’, Valenzuela 56’, Ordoñez 81’
TOR: Walkes (Diaz) 24’, Diaz 29’ (PK)
**CIN: E. Louro, I. Foster, J. Akpunonu, K. Thomas (N. McHenry, 67’), J. Govea (H. Conteh, 67’), S. Jimenez, B. Halsey (N. Samways, 85’), G. Valenzuela, M. Marshall, J. Castellano (B. Stitz, 85’), A. Ordoñez
Substitutes not used: O. Noverr, R. Mills, D. Turcios, H. Morse, P. Walters
Head Coach: Tyrone Marshall
TOR: L. Gavran, L. Stefanovic, A. Pearlman, R. Goulbourne, T. Rigopoulos, E. Kang (J. Altobelli, 64’), M. Cimermancic (M. Stojadinovic, 64’), L. Olguin, R. Walkes (M. Catavolo, 80’), A. Diaz, J. Batiz
Substitutes not used: A. De Rosario, J. Faria, A. Curic, A. Pantaleo
Head Coach: Gianni Cimini
**STATS SUMMARY: CIN/TOR
**Shots: 13 / 14
Shots on goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner kicks: 2 / 7
Fouls: 15 / 16
Offside: 2 / 0
Possession: 54.6 / 45.4
**CIN: K. Thomas (YC, 23’)
TOR: M. Cimermancic (YC, 57’)
CIN: H. Conteh (YC, 76’)
CIN: B. Halsey (YC, 83’)
TOR: T. Rigopoulos (YC, 85’)
TOR: J. Altobellli (YC, 88’)
CIN: G. Valenzuela (YC, 89’)
CIN: N. McHenry (YC, 90+)
**Referee: Kevin Fikar
Ast. Referee(s): Christopher Slane, Noah Matos
Fourth Official: Chris Schurfranz