FC Cincinnati and Atlanta United FC drew 2-2 Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 25,513 at TQL Stadium.
The Supporters’ Shield-winning Orange and Blue conclude the regular season with a 20-5-9 record (69 points) and will hold the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference in the upcoming Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. Atlanta United (13-9-12, 51 points) will be the sixth seed in the East.
FC Cincinnati will face the winner of the MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Wild Card game – Charlotte FC at New York Red Bulls – in the Round One Best-of-3 series. The full postseason schedule is yet to be announced.
All four goals Saturday night came in the first half, with Atlanta’s Giorgos Giakoumakis opening the scoring in the 12th minute of play.
The Orange and Blue were quick to respond to Atlanta’s opener, bringing things level in the 25th through Dominique Badji’s fifth goal of the season. Luciano Acosta spearheaded the attack, holding off a defender and relieving pressure with a pass out to Alvas Powell down the right wing. Powell whipped in a perfect ball, and Badji finished confidently
Atlanta restored their lead in the 32nd minute, as Giakoumakis netted his second of the opening half. It looked as if Atlanta would take a 2-1 lead into the break, but Cincinnati’s captain Lucho Acosta headed home his 17th goal of the season with the last action of the opening 45-minutes.
Ian Murphy found Álvaro Barreal down the left side, who combined with his fellow countryman for his ninth assist of the year, a right-footed cross from the top left corner of the box as Acosta rose and redirected a headed goal past Guzan.
Neither team broke the deadlock in the second half, with Cincinnati playing up a man for most of the second 45 minutes as Thiago Almada was shown a second yellow card in the 52nd minute.
Roman Celentano made four saves to bring his season save count to 87, breaking his own club single-season record of 85 he set last season.
Cincinnati’s 69 points are tied for fourth-most in league history in a single season.
FC Cincinnati conclude the 2023 regular season and will face the winner of the Wild Card game between New York Red Bulls and Charlotte FC in the Round One Best-of-3 series. The full schedule for the MLS Cup Playoffs will be announced in the coming days.
FC CINCINNATI GAME REPORT
FC Cincinnati vs Atlanta United FC
Date: October 21, 2023
Competition: MLS Regular Season
Venue: TQL Stadium
Attendance: 25,513 (sellout)
Kickoff: 7:39 p.m. ET
Weather: 65 degrees, clear
SCORING SUMMARY: 1-2-FT
CIN – Dominique Badji (Powell, Acosta) 25’, Luciano Acosta (Barreal, Murphy) 45’+2
ATL – Giorgos Giakoumakis (Lobjanidze) 12’, Giorgos Giakoumakis (Almada) 32’
• Luciano Acosta recorded his 10th game this season with multiple goal contributions (2+ goals or assists), and his seventh game with at least one goal and one assists … He finishes the season atop the MLS leaderboard in both categories.
• Dominique Badji’s goal was the 200th regular season goal in FC Cincinnati history.
• Badji surpassed 12,000 career MLS regular season minutes with his start.
• Thiago Almada was shown a red card in the 52nd minute, the fifth ejection of an opposing player against FC Cincinnati in MLS play this season … the 38 minutes of regulation following the card was the longest FCC have played up a man this season.
• Álvaro Barreal became the first player in club history to appear in all 34 regular season matches in a single season.
• Cincinnati’s 69 points this season are tied with the 2017 Toronto FC and 2018 Atlanta United teams for the fourth-most in league history.
• FC Cincinnati end the season with the second-fewest second-half goals allowed in MLS history (10) … Only the 2007 Houston Dynamo conceded fewer times in the second half (9).
• FC Cincinnati’s +27 second-half goal difference is tied for the fourth-best second-half goal difference in league history.
• Luciano Acosta ended the season with 31 goal contributions … He is on pace to lead the league this season.
CIN: Roman Celentano, Álvaro Barreal, Ian Murphy (Malik Pinto 90’), Matt Miazga (Nick Hagglund 90’+7), Yerson Mosquera, Alvas Powell (Bret Halsey 71’), Obinna Nwobodo, Junior Moreno (Yuya Kubo 46’), Luciano Acosta (C), Dominique Badji (Sergio Santos 71’), Brandon Vazquez
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Marco Angulo, Ray Gaddis, Gerardo Valenzuela
Head Coach: Pat Noonan
ATL: Brad Guzan (C), Ronald Hernandez, Luis Abram, Miles Robinson, Caleb Wiley (Brooks Lennon 90’), Tristan Muyumba (Juan Jose Purata 90’), Saba Lobjanidze (Edwin Mosquera 63’), Thiago Almada, Matheus Rossetto, Giorgos Giakoumakis (Jamal Thiare 77’), Xande Silva (Ajani Fortune 75’)
Substitutes not used: Quentin Westberg, Amar Sejdic, Derrick Etienne Jr., Miguel Berry
Head Coach: Gonzalo Pineda
STATS SUMMARY: CIN/ATL
Shots: 17 / 13
Shots on Goal: 3 / 5
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 7 / 5
Fouls: 11 / 12
Offside: 0 / 3
Possession: 56.5 / 43.5
ATL – Thiago Almada (Yellow Card) 36’
ATL – Thiago Almada (Second Caution, Red Card) 51’
CIN – Matt Miazga (Yellow Card) 73’
ATL – Jamal Thiare (Yellow Card) 85’
Referee: Joe Dickerson
Ast. Referees: Logan Brown, Brian Dunn
Fourth Official: Ismir Pekmic
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez
AVAR: Tom Supple