FC Cincinnati 2 kept their playoff hopes alive Sunday night at TQL Stadium with a 2-0 win over New York City FC II. The Orange and Blue (7-13-4, 27 pts.) pick up their first-ever win against New York City FC II and with the result have won two of their last three MLS NEXT Pro matches.
Jesus Castellano found the opener for FC Cincinnati 2 in the 32nd minute, scoring his third goal of the season to give the Orange and Blue a 1-0 lead. Salim Adams picked up his first assist of the year, finding Castellano in a dangerous attacking position after dispossessing New York near midfield. Castellano assessed options before quickly dashing past a defender and finishing with a low shot to the back post.
Castellano nearly doubled Cincinnati’s lead five minutes later after getting on the end of a Kai Thomas cross from the right wing. Thomas, playing in a right wing back position, sent a perfect ball in, but pressure from behind Castellano was able to put the attacker off and the danger was ultimately dealt with.
FC Cincinnati 2 took a 1-0 lead into the break before Malik Pinto scored his third goal for the Orange and Blue in the 53rd minute. Pinto was on the receiving end of a Castellano ball which saw the midfielder in on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. Pinto was able to curl a composed effort around Alexander Rando to make it 2-0. Castellano tallied his fourth assist of the year and now shares a co-lead in the category.
The Pigeons were awarded a penalty in the 87th minute as MLS NEXT Pro’s Golden Boot Race leader Matt Myers stepped to the spot seeking his 17th goal of the year. Paul Walters denied the forward in route to the team’s second clean sheet of the year.
Walters finished the match with seven saves, including the penalty attempt, for the second highest single match total of the year. Walters leads FC Cincinnati with 64 saves in 15 appearances for the Orange and Blue.
Next up for the Orange and Blue is a road match on September 2 against Atlanta United 2 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at 5 p.m. ET. The match will stream live on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV App.
FC CINCINNATI 2 GAME REPORT
FC Cincinnati 2 vs. New York City FC II
Date: August 27, 2023
Venue: TQL Stadium
Competition: MLS NEXT Pro regular season
Kickoff: 6:03 p.m. ET
Weather: 81 degrees, clear
SCORING SUMMARY: 1-2-F
CIN – J. Castellano (S. Adams) 32’, M. Pinto (J. Castellano) 53’
NYC – None
CIN: P. Walters, I. Foster, J. Machado, J. Akpunonu, L. Aghedo, K. Thomas (M. Schenfeld, 67’), M. Pinto, S. Adams, G. Valenzuela (L. Tamarez, 46’), J. Castellano, B. Stitz
Substitutes not used: H. Morse, H. Conteh, J. Mora, N. Brice, N. McHenry
Head Coach: Tyrone Marshall
NYC: A. Rando, C. McFarlane, S. Owusu, N. Hope-Gund, S. Turnbull, P. Elias (J. Shore, 56’), N. Benalcazar, J. Beer (M. Carrizo, 81’), J. Jimenez, M. Myers, R. Arevalo (J. Denis, 56’)
Substitutes not used: K. Hope-Gund, J. Gomez, B. Flores, K. Haxhari
Head Coach: Matthew Pilkington
STATS SUMMARY: CIN/NYC
Shots: 8 / 23
Shots on goal: 6 / 7
Saves: 7 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 22
Fouls: 17 / 13
Offside: 5 / 2
Possession: 35.2 / 64.8
NYC – J. Jimenez (Yellow card) 11’
CIN – K. Thomas (Yellow card) 16’
CIN – M. Schenfeld (Yellow card) 70’
Referee: Benjamin Meyer
Ast. Referees: Stephen Milhoan, Jacob Little
Fourth Official: Noah Matos