FC Cincinnati fall to CF Monterrey in opening leg, head to Mexico with work to do

20240307 FCCvsMTY Match GB 047

FC Cincinnati dropped the opening match of the two-leg aggregate series with CF Monterrey of Liga MX 1-0 Thursday night at TQL Stadium, now needing to win in Mexico in order to advance in the Concacaf Champions Cup. 

It was a night full of close calls and near misses as FC Cincinnati peppered the Monterrey net with chances and dangerous opportunities. Corey Baird appeared to give FCC the game's first goal after a feed from Luciano Acosta, but he was narrowly ruled offside.

The offense would continue to attack the Monterrey zone as Baird would have another shot saved, as would Acosta, Aaron Boupendza and Sergio Santos before the night was over. Each time goalkeeper Esteban Andrada made a more miraculous save to keep FCC off the score sheet.

FC Cincinnati was the dominant side for the opening 25 minutes, and in some ways the match. But it only took one moment to put the visitors up. Rayados struck first in the 24th minute with Brandon Vazquez scoring the opener for CF Monterrey. Vazquez turned and fired a shot on net after receiving a pass as the target man near the penalty spot that Roman Celentano got a hand on but could not stop it.

The game swung though in the 71st minute when Rodrigo Aguirre was shown a straight red card for striking Baird in the face while play was dead prior to a corner kick, giving FC Cincinnati the man advantage for the final portion of the match. 

FCC could not capitalize on the advantage and were unable to find a goal for the second time at home this season.FC Cincinnati resume MLS play Sunday at TQL Stadium against D.C. United with another afternoon kickoff at 3 p.m. D.C. United enter the match with a 1-0-1 record and fresh legs due to not playing in midweek continental competition. The Orange and Blue will finish the two leg series with Rayados one week from now, jetting off to Monterey, Mexico for a March 14 fixture at the famed Estadio BBVA.