FC Cincinnati struck early and controlled play with a dominant 3-0 win over New York City FC Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 25,513 at TQL Stadium.
The Orange and Blue improved to 16-3-6 (54 points) to remain in first place in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings. NYCFC fell to 5-10-11 (26 points). With the win, FCC matched the 2002 San Jose Earthquakes for the most points (37) through a club’s first 13 home matches in a season.
FC Cincinnati defeated New York City for the third time this year. The sweep marked the first opponent which FCC have beaten three times in a single season.
Aaron Boupendza brought TQL Stadium to life in the 6th minute of the match with his second goal for the Orange and Blue. Luciano Acosta played a part in the goal, dancing around a number of New York City defenders and into the box before a heavy touch found the foot of Bret Halsey, who curled a first-time effort towards goal.
Goalkeeper Luis Barraza made a strong save to deny Halsey, but it was Boupendza waiting a few yards out as the Gabonese international headed the rebound into an empty net.
Junior Moreno added a second for the Orange and Blue in the 52nd minute for his fourth goal of the season. Acosta tallied his ninth assist of the year on the goal, as the attacking midfielder drew the attention of three New York City defenders inside the box before playing a ball towards the penalty spot where Moreno met with a cool finish.
Moreno had scored three goals in his five-year MLS career entering 2023. Now, his four MLS goals this season are tied with Dominique Badji, Brandon Vazquez and Sergio Santos for second among FC Cincinnati players.
Nick Hagglund made it three for FC Cincinnati as the defender scored his first goal of the season in the 59th minute following a corner for the Orange and Blue. Acosta earned his second assist of the night, collecting a short corner from Halsey and delivering a perfect ball into the box for Hagglund to head home.
Acosta’s assist marks his 10th of the season and sees Acosta as one of six MLS players to register double-digit assists this season.
Roman Celentano made four saves in net to earn his 10th clean sheet of the season. His 10 shutouts are second in MLS this season only behind Seattle’s Stefan Frei (11).
After failing to earn a win in the six all-time matchups against NYCFC, FC Cincinnati are now unbeaten in five-straight (3-0-2) against the 2021 MLS Cup Champions.
FC CINCINNATI GAME REPORT
FC Cincinnati vs New York City FC
Date: August 26, 2023
Competition: MLS Regular Season
Venue: TQL Stadium
Attendance: 25,513 (sellout)
Kickoff: 7:39 p.m. ET
Weather: 81 degrees, clear
SCORING SUMMARY: 1-2-FT
CIN – Aaron Boupendza 6’, Junior Moreno (Acosta) 52’, Nick Hagglund (Acosta, Halsey) 59’
NYC – None
• Saturday marked the 12th sellout of TQL Stadium this season.
• FC Cincinnati became the second club in MLS history (2002 San Jose Earthquakes) to earn 37 points in their first 13 home matches of a season (12-0-1).
• Luciano Acosta’s two-assist game marked the 13th multi-assist game in club history … Acosta has accounted for seven of the 13 performances.
• Aaron Boupendza’s opening goal marked just the second time since the June 24 match at D.C. United that FCC had scored first in MLS play (7/1 vs NE) … Despite that, FC Cincinnati still have allowed the fewest 'first goals' in MLS this season (6) … The next fewest entering Saturday was eight (CLB, SJ, VAN).
• Boupendza’s goal was the earliest goal scored by an FCC player this season … an own goal scored by CF Montréal’s Joel Waterman in the 2nd minute on May 17 is the earliest goal scored for FCC in 2023.
• Junior Moreno had scored three goals in 124 MLS appearances entering the 2023 season … he has now scored four goals this year.
• Nick Hagglund’s goal was his ninth-career MLS goal … he has scored one goal in each of the past four seasons for FC Cincinnati.
• Bret Halsey became the 73rd different player in FC Cincinnati club history to start an MLS regular season match, the eighth this season (Santos, Arias, Mosquera, Angulo, Pinto, Ordoñez, Boupendza).
• Álvaro Barreal’s 40-game regular season starting streak came to an end on Saturday night … his mark was tied for the longest in club history by an outfield player (Brandon Vazquez, 40, May 2022 – May 2023).
CIN: Roman Celentano, Bret Halsey (Álvaro Barreal 73’), Ian Murphy, Matt Miazga, Nick Hagglund, Santiago Arias (Ray Gaddis 73’), Yuya Kubo (Marco Angulo 72’), Junior Moreno, Luciano Acosta (C) (Gerardo Valenzuela 84’), Aaron Boupendza (Sergio Santos 72’), Brandon Vazquez
Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Alvas Powell, Malik Pinto, London Aghedo
Head Coach: Pat Noonan
NYC: Luis Barraza, Braian Cufre (Alonso Martinez 84’), Birk Risa, Thiago Martins (C), Tayvon Gray, Julian Fernandez (Matias Pellegrini 66’), Andres Perea, Maxi Moralez (Richard Ledezma 66’), Mitja Ilenic (Andres Jasson 57’), Keaton Parks, Monsef Bakrar (Talles Magno 57’)
Substitutes not used: Matt Freese, Alfredo Morales, Kevin O’Toole, Justin Haak
Head Coach: Nick Cushing
STATS SUMMARY: CIN/NYC
Shots: 12 / 11
Shots on Goal: 6 / 4
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 5 / 8
Fouls: 8 / 11
Offside: 0/ 0
Possession: 44.5 / 55.5
CIN – Matt Miazga (Yellow Card) 45’
CIN – Yuya Kubo (Yellow Card) 50’
NYC – Birk Risa (Yellow Card) 88’
NYC – Andres Perea (Yellow Card) 90+2’
Referee: Chris Penso
Ast. Referees: Kali Smith, Jeffrey Swartzel
Fourth Official: Elvis Osmanovic
VAR: Kevin Stott
AVAR: Joshua Patlak