Match Recap

RECAP | FC Cincinnati conquer Columbus Crew in 3-2 thriller

20230520 FCCvsCLB Match JG 319

FC Cincinnati defeated the Columbus Crew, 3-2, Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 25,513 at TQL Stadium.

The Orange and Blue (9-1-3, 30 points) extended Major League Soccer’s best, and only perfect, home record to 8-0-0 with the win. FCC are just the third team in league history to begin a season 8-0-0 at home. The Crew dropped to 5-5-3 (18 points) with the loss.

Luciano Acosta opened scoring with his second goal in as many league matches in the 17th minute to give FC Cincinnati a 1-0 lead. Quick play between Acosta and Dominique Badji following a throw in led to the chance, as Badji picked up his second assist of the season.

Badji found his way down the right attacking wing and into the box as he battled Columbus defender Gustavo Vallecilla for control of possession. Vallecilla did enough to force Badji to the endline, but Badji slipped a pass back into the center of the box where Acosta was open for the goal.

Acosta netted his second of the evening just six minutes later, registering his first-career brace for the Orange and Blue. Badji once again played a pivotal role in the goal, getting on the end of a lofted through ball and drawing a foul inside the box for a penalty.

Acosta stepped to the spot, converting the spot kick with confidence in the 23rd minute for his fifth goal of the season and second converted penalty of the year. His five career converted regular season penalties are the most in FCC history.

Columbus would pull one back in the 40th minute, which sent the sides into the break with the score 2-1 in favor of the Orange and Blue. The Crew carried their momentum over into the second half as Malte Amundsen equalized in the 52nd minute.

With the matchup level at 2-2, a costly error from Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte gave way to FC Cincinnati’s third of the night, and what proved to be the game-winning goal, in the 67th minute. Acosta forced Schulte into an awkward position after a back pass to the keeper led to a turnover and an empty net for Columbus.

Brandon Vazquez picked up the loose ball as Columbus looked to cover with Schulte out of goal. Vazquez rolled a pass in towards Yuya Kubo who did well to control the pass that was slightly behind him, leaving a quick one-touch pass into the path of Junior Moreno who followed up and put it home.

Moreno scored his third goal of the season, his first since his two-goal night on March 18 at Chicago Fire FC.

Cincinnati fought off an offensive barrage from the Crew over the final 20-plus minutes, including a heroic stoppage-time save from goalkeeper Roman Celentano, the best of five saves for him on the evening.

The Orange and Blue knocked off their in-state rivals for the first time since October 14, 2020 at Nippert Stadium.

FC Cincinnati travel to face the New York Red Bulls this Tuesday, May 23 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. from Red Bull Arena, and the match will be streamed for free on the Bleacher Report YouTube channel and the B/R app.

FC Cincinnati’s next home game at TQL Stadium comes against Chicago Fire FC on June 3. Tickets are available at at or by calling (513) 977-5425 (KICK).

FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew
Date: May 20, 2023
Competition: MLS Regular Season
Venue: TQL Stadium
Attendance: 25,513 (sellout)
Kickoff: 7:39 p.m. ET
Weather: 66 degrees, clear

CIN: 2-1-3
CLB: 1-1-2

CIN Luciano Acosta (Dominique Badji) 17’, Luciano Acosta (PK) 23’, Junior Moreno (Brandon Vazquez, Yuya Kubo) 67’

CLB Lucas Zelarayán (Cucho Hernández) 40’, Malte Amundsen 52’

• FC Cincinnati defeated the Crew for the first time since October 14, 2020 at Nippert Stadium … all-time in six meetings in the Queen City, FCC are 2-1-3.
• Luciano Acosta netted his first-career brace with FC Cincinnati … the Argentine’s two-goals marked FC Cincinnati’s 11th multi-goal game performance in MLS play.
• Acosta has scored in three-straight league games, his second three-goal streak with FC Cincinnati (April 24 – May 4, 2022: vs LAFC, at TOR, vs TOR) … the club record is four-straight games set by Brandon Vazquez last season.
• Acosta is 2-for-3 this season from the penalty spot … his five converted regular season penalties are the most in club history.
• Junior Moreno entered this season with three-career MLS goals in 124 regular season appearances … he has now scored three goals this season in 12 games played.
• Yuya Kubo has now appeared in 9 of the 11 MLS Hell is Real matches, more than any other FCC player … Saturday marked his first game played against the Crew as a substitute.
• Under Pat Noonan, FC Cincinnati have scored at least one goal in every game at TQL Stadium except for one, the 2022 home-opener against D.C. United.
• Under Pat Noonan, FC Cincinnati are 5-0-1 in games played three days (or fewer) after another game.
• FC Cincinnati are the third team in MLS history to begin a season 8-0-0 or better at home (2002 San Jose Earthquakes, 10-0-0; 2020 Philadelphia Union, 9-0-0).

CIN: Roman Celentano, Álvaro Barreal (Santiago Arias 90+5’), Yerson Mosquera, Matt Miazga, Nick Hagglund, Ray Gaddis (Alvas Powell 66’), Junior Moreno (Marco Angulo 90+5’), Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (C) (Malik Pinto 85’), Dominique Badji (Yuya Kubo 66’), Brandon Vazquez

Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Joey Akpunonu, Ian Murphy, Isaiah Foster

Head Coach: Pat Noonan

CLB: Patrick Schulte, Philip Quinton, Gustavo Vallecilla (Jacen Russell-Rowe 87’) Malte Amundsen (Jimmy Medranda 87’), Mohamed Farsi, Steven Moreira, Darlington Nagbe (C) (Christian Ramirez 90+3’), Aidan Morris, Lucas Zelarayán, Alexandru Matan, Cucho Hernández

Substitutes not used: Evan Bush, Isaiah Parente, Keegan Hughes, Sean Zawadzki, Max Arftsen, Jake Morris

Head Coach: Wilfried Nancy

Shots: 10 / 11
Shots on Goal: 6 / 7
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 14
Offside: 1 / 0
Possession: 33.4 / 66.6

CIN – Matt Miazga (Yellow Card) 63’
CLB – Malte Amundsen (Yellow Card) 72’

Referee: Nima Saghafi
Ast. Referees: Ian McKay, Matthew Nelson
Fourth Official: Filip Dujic
VAR: Daniel Radford
AVAR: Jozef Batko


FC Cincinnati Head Coach Pat Noonan
On the win
“That was a great win. What an atmosphere, what a game. I thought both teams played really well in different phases of the game. High energy, the individual quality that you saw on the field on both sides to be able to open the game up and get each team attacking the goal made for an entertaining evening, and I'm really thrilled for our guys to come out on top against a very good team. Started off very strong, loss of momentum right before the break, and then they carried that momentum out in the second half. But the guys showed a lot of character in being able to get past that tough stretch and find the third goal and then hold them off. I'm very pleased for our team tonight.”

“I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel different. This was a neat experience when you knew it was going to be difficult, and it was. But to be able to win against that team in front of our fans was important.”