RECAP | FC Cincinnati advance to Eastern Conference Semifinals after thrilling shootout win over New York Red Bulls

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FC Cincinnati advanced in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, securing a dramatic 8-7 penalty kick shootout win over the New York Red Bulls following a 1-1 draw Saturday night in Game 2 of the Round One Best-of-3 series.  

FC Cincinnati advance to the single-elimination Eastern Conference Semifinals and will face the winner of the matchup between No. 4 Philadelphia Union and No. 5 New England Revolution. The Union lead the series 1-0 and will meet the Revolution Wednesday for Game 2 of the Round One Best-of-3 series.  

Tickets for the Eastern Conference Semifinal, set to take place at TQL Stadium either November 25 or 26, go on sale this Monday, Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. for Season Ticket Members and Orange & Blue Reserve Members. The public on-sale begins at 1 p.m. For more information visit

The Orange and Blue eliminated the Red Bulls in Round One for the second-consecutive season. With 2023’s new Best-of-3 format for the opening round, Saturday’s penalty kick shootout win secured the series win following a 3-0 victory for FCC over the Red Bulls in Game 1 last Sunday at TQL Stadium. 

New York, who finished the first half with six shots, opened the scoring in the 45th minute as Tom Barlow scored Red Bulls’ first goal of the series. A deflected shot from Frankie Amaya found the feet of Barlow in front of goal and the forward did enough to beat Roman Celentano from close range. 

First-half substitute Aaron Boupendza brought things level in the 75th minute after challenging the Red Bulls goal twice earlier in the half. Boupendza, with a creative dribble near midfield, started the attack and linked up with Luciano Acosta who patiently waited for Boupendza to make an overlapping run, playing a perfectly-weighted pass into the path of a streaking Boupendza.

Boupendza struck a low, powerful shot to the far post of the Red Bulls goal, clipping the inside of the post below the outstretched arm of a diving Coronel. Boupendza netted his first-career MLS postseason goal.  

FCC nearly had a second goal seven minutes into second-half stoppage time directly off a corner kick, but VAR determined there was a foul in the box on the goalkeeper Coronel, negating the potential winner deep into the match. 

The match would proceed to penalties after the match finished 1-1 at the end of regulation time. Acosta would convert Cincinnati’s first attempt and Omir Fernandez would step up to match. After a pair of converted shots, Coronel would save Santiago Arias’ third attempt. John Tolkin’s potential winning shot for New York in the fifth round hit the post, sending the shootout to sudden death.  

After six-consecutive converted spot kicks, both clubs missed in the ninth round of penalties. In the 10th round, Junior Moreno converted, which was followed by a save for Roman Celentano against Ándres Reyes to win it for the Orange and Blue. 

FC Cincinnati improved to 3-2 this season in penalty kick shootouts. 

FC Cincinnati pause competition to await the conclusion of Round One and the upcoming FIFA international break and will return to TQL Stadium for the Eastern Conference Semifinals on November 25 or 26. For more information visit

FC Cincinnati at New York Red Bulls
Date: November 4, 2023
Competition: Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs – Round One, Game 2
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Attendance: 20,044
Kickoff: 7:09 p.m. ET
Weather: 54 degrees, clear

RBNY: 1-0-1 (7)
CIN: 0-1-1 (8)

RBNY – Tom Barlow 41’

CIN – Aaron Boupendza (Acosta) 75’

CIN: Luciano Acosta (1) – Good
Yuya Kubo (3) – Good
Santiago Arias (5) – Saved
Brandon Vazquez (7) – Good
Álvaro Barreal (9) – Good
Matt Miazga (11) – Good
Aaron Boupendza (13) – Good
Sergio Santos (15) – Good
Yerson Mosquera (17) – Saved
Junior Moreno (19) – Good

RBNY: Omir Fernandez (2) – Good
Frankie Amaya (4) – Good
Sean Nealis (6) – Good
Cameron Harper (8) – Good
John Tolkin (10) – Missed
Dylan Nealis (12) – Good
Elias Manoel (14) – Good
Peter Stroud (16) – Good
Serge Ngoma (18) – Missed
Andrés Reyes (20) – Saved

• Saturday marked the 15th meeting between FC Cincinnati and the New York Red Bulls since 2019, across all competitions … The 15 matchups mark the most games FCC have played against any other club.
• Saturday was Cincinnati’s 11th match ever at Red Bull Arena, the club’s most-visited road venue.
• FC Cincinnati are now 3-2 in penalty kick shootouts in 2023 … since joining MLS in 2019, the club are 3-3 in game-deciding spot kick shootouts.
• FC Cincinnati are unbeaten against the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena since March 1, 2020 … since then, the Orange and Blue are 3-0-4, which includes two penalty kick shootout victories.
• FC Cincinnati have not conceded a second-half goal since September 20 at CF Montréal in the 53rd minute.
• Luciano Acosta has scored or assisted four of the six all-time playoff goals for FC Cincinnati.
• Dominique Badji’s first-half substitution marked the first first-half sub for the Orange and Blue since September 21, 2022 vs Chivas in the Leagues Cup Showcase, when Calvin Harris replaced Sergio Santos following the weather delay in the 35th minute … the last in an MLS game was on October 2, 2021 vs PHI, when the Orange and Blue made two subs in the 31st minute (Cameron on for Vallecilla, Atanga on for Kubo).

CIN: Roman Celentano, Álvaro Barreal, Ian Murphy (Sergio Santos 90’+7), Matt Miazga, Yerson Mosquera, Santiago Arias, Obinna Nwobodo (Yuya Kubo 69’), Junior Moreno, Luciano Acosta (C), Dominique Badji (Aaron Boupendza 34’), Brandon Vazquez

Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Marco Angulo, Malik Pinto, Ray Gaddis, Bret Halsey, Gerardo Valenzuela

Head Coach: Pat Noonan

RBNY: Carlos Coronel, Ándres Reyes, Kyle Duncan (Cameron Harper 90’+2), Dylan Nealis, Sean Nealis (C), John Tolkin, Frankie Amaya, Daniel Edelman (Peter Stroud 85’), Elias Manoel, Tom Barlow (Serge Ngoma 85’), Luquinhas (Omir Fernandez 90’+2)

Substitutes not used: Ryan Meara, Matthew Nocita, Jorge Cabezas, Dru Yearwood, Wikelman Carmona

Head Coach: Troy Lesesne

Shots: 15 / 13
Shots on Goal: 3 / 5
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 10
Fouls: 18 / 16
Offside: 1 / 0
Possession: 37.1 / 62.9

CIN – Santiago Arias (Yellow Card) 34’
RBNY – Tom Barlow (Yellow Card) 41’
CIN – Yerson Mosquera (Yellow Card) 75’
CIN – Matt Miazga (Yellow Card) 90’+9
CIN – Matt Miazga (Yellow Card) PK Shootout

Referee: Victor Rivas
Ast. Referees: Jeffrey Greeson, Jeffrey Swartzel
Fourth Official: Ramy Touchan
VAR: Carol Anne Chenard
AVAR: Eric Weisbrod