SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Brandon Vazquez scored the latest goal in club history, three minutes into second half stoppage time, to earn FC Cincinnati a 1-0 win Saturday night against Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field.
The win gave FC Cincinnati (5-5-1, 16 points) the club’s first three-game winning streak since entering MLS in 2019, the club’s first win on the road at a Western Conference foe, and the club’s first win against Minnesota United, who dropped to 4-4-2 (14 points) in defeat.
With the game scoreless deep into the second half and the Orange and Blue mounting pressure, Luciano Acosta received the ball at the top of the box and slid a through ball to Calvin Harris making a run in behind the Minnesota backline. Harris played the ball across the box to a cutting Brandon Vazquez for a tap-in finish to an empty net.
Vazquez returned to the scoresheet with his team-high sixth goal of the season, one strike off the league-high of seven. Vazquez has now finished 12 goals all-time with the Orange and Blue, the most in club history.
The Orange and Blue outshot the Loons on goal, 6-5. Roman Celentano earned his second consecutive clean sheet in goal, the first time FC Cincinnati have held an opponent scoreless in back-to-back games since July 31 (D.C. United) and August 4 (New York Red Bulls) of last season.
The Orange and Blue continue on a three-game stretch away from home Wednesday at the New England Revolution in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7 p.m. and the game will stream nationally and exclusively on ESPN+.
FC CINCINNATI GAME REPORT
FC Cincinnati at Minnesota United FC
Date: May 7, 2022
Competition: MLS Regular Season
Venue: Alianz Field
Kickoff: 8:08 p.m. ET
Weather: 72 degrees, clear
SCORING SUMMARY: 1-2-F
MIN - None
CIN - Brandon Vazquez (Calvin Harris, Luciano Acosta) 90+3'
• FC Cincinnati won for the first time at a Western Conference foe, entering Saturday 0-8-1, with Saturday being the third win all-time against the Western Conference … the win is FC Cincinnati’s first result against Minnesota United FC, having entered Saturday 0-3-0 against the Loons.
• Saturday was the 21st clean sheet for FC Cincinnati in club history.
• Brandon Vazquez scored the latest goal in club history at 90+3’ … previously the latest goal was a penalty kick from Emmanuel Ledesma (90+2’ – 9/7/19) … the previous latest game-winner came from Gustavo Vallecilla on 5/22/21 at MTL (In Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
• Vazquez’s six goals trail the league-high of seven scored by Sebastian Driussi (ATX), Jesus Ferreira (DAL) and Jesus Jimenez (TOR).
• Vazquez is FC Cincinnati’s all-time leader in goals (12), while with an assist on Vazquez’s goal, Luciano Acosta extends his club record for assists to 13.
• Luciano Acosta made the 150th regular season start of his MLS career.
• After scoring his first career goal on Wednesday, Calvin Harris’ assist for Brandon Vazquez was his first career assist in MLS.
• Less than two weeks after FC Cincinnati’s game vs. LAFC featured neither team drawn offside for the first time in a game in club history, on Saturday neither team was drawn offside.
• FC Cincinnati’s third road win of the season matches a club record for most road wins in one season (3, 2019 and 2021).
CIN: Roman Celentano, John Nelson (Álvaro Barreal 63’), Ian Murphy, Geoff Cameron (Calvin Harris 84’), Nick Hagglund, Zico Bailey (Alvas Powell 46’), Junior Moreno (Haris Medunjanin 76’), Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (C), Dominique Badji (Arquimides Ordonez 76’), Brandon Vazquez
Substitutes not used: Kenneth Vermeer, Harrison Robledo, Allan Cruz, Nick Markanich
Head Coach: Pat Noonan
MIN: Dayne St. Clair, Bakaye Dibassy, Michael Boxall, Kemar Lawrence, Oneil Fisher, Emanuel Reynoso, Wil Trapp (C) (Joseph Rosales 78’), Kervin Arriaga, Adrien Hunou (Franco Fragapane 57’), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Niko Hansen 63’), Abu Danladi
Substitutes not used: Brent Kallman, Tyler Miller, Jacori Hayes, D.J. Taylor
Head Coach: Adrian Heath
STATS SUMMARY: MIN/CIN
Shots: 15 / 14
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6
Saves: 5 / 5
Corner Kicks: 10 / 7
Fouls: 8 / 9
Offside: 0 / 0
Possession: 52.4 / 47.6
CIN - Alvas Powell (Yellow Card) 69'
CIN - Geoff Cameron (Yellow Card) 73'
CIN - Obinna Nwobodo (Yellow Card) 87'
Referee: Marcos DeOliveira
Ast. Referees: Andrew Bigelow, Corey Parker
Fourth Official: Greg Dopka
VAR: Malik Badawi
AVAR: Jonathan Johnson
FC Cincinnati Head Coach Pat Noonan
On the win
“That win was a testament just to the mentality of the group. I thought we had, I said it I think at halftime, we had heavy legs, you could see that. And when quality with the ball isn't there, you have got to figure out how to defend well. And that was a lot of what we talked about before the game was understanding the importance of defending as a team. And we could never get into our attacking shape or any kind of rhythm with a lot of careless turnovers.
“But the way the guys defended the box tonight and put their bodies on the line was what enabled us to see this game out in a way where we could get three points. Very pleased with the contributions of all the players that came in. Calvin Harris [was] fantastic to help us get that goal. Quimi [Ordonez], I thought he did some really good things with his minutes. Alvas [Powell], Haris Medunjanin giving us the quality on the ball with recovery runs and closing balls. Alvaro [Barreal], again, Alvaro and Calvin being put in positions that they're unfamiliar with, but the commitment's there from the group. And that's what enables you to find points on a night where you're not at your best."
On the importance of the win for FC Cincinnati
“You can feel it, you could hear it in the locker room. You could hear it and feel it in our stadium when we got a result at home against Toronto. The winning is important for this club, to show signs of progress but to also show that the group that we have is as capable of winning games. Regardless of who we're playing, where we're playing, as long as we have the mentality that we've shown I think certainly over the last week, this can continue. Hopefully we don't settle because we've had a good stretch, that we understand that we can do this quite often with the commitment from every player, every single day, and every time we step on the field. It sounds cliche, but when you have that commitment, when you have the buy in, when you have that effort, nights like tonight, when you're not your best, you still can find a way to get results. And that's just a testament to the to the group of players that were out there working really hard for this club, for these fans.”
On Nick Hagglund
“We have not talked enough about Nick with what he has meant for our team and for the results. He's been very strong in so many ways, his leadership on and off the field, his continued improvement in decision making; decision making with and without the ball. Certainly on the defensive side, the way he puts his body on the line to block shots, to break up plays. It's been really important for us, especially when we're in transition moments and you need that play to prevent a goal, he's been there for us. We're very pleased with Nick and where he's at right now.”
Forward Brandon Vazquez
On the win and his goal despite fatigue
“[It’s] incredible, incredible. Three wins back-to-back-to-back feels good. The team's really been working, and I think we deserve it.
“I was on autopilot. Autopilot, 100 percent. But I was sharp enough to make good movement in the box and finish it off well, so I'm really happy about that. It's like that, I always think when I feel like I'm exhausted, I'm only 40 percent done, I can push more. And it's at that point, it's all mental for me. I'm glad I was able to get the goal at the end and get it three points.”
On his goal
“I saw Calvin [Harris] get slipped in, and I thought, 'I do this in training every day.’ It's just natural for me, I already knew what to do. When I say I'm on autopilot, it was like, I've done it so many times already and it just comes natural, make a double movement always in the box, going one, and then going to another place and defender fell for it and I slipped it in. Scoring a goal in the 90th minute to win, it's the best feeling there is in this game. So I'm ecstatic.”
Defender Nick Hagglund
On the winning streak
“It's just awesome, it's a good feeling. I think it just goes into everything that we've been working on this year: building culture, building the right attitude and mentality. On a day where maybe our football isn't the best, we had tired legs, we got out a win against a quality opponent. I think that says a lot about who we are right now and the direction that we're heading.”
On the excitement level within the team
“It was more just like an excitement that we wanted. Winning three games in a row is something that's never done in the club. We wanted to do that. It was explicitly said the first time when we won two in a row, 'to win three in a row.' This time it wasn't explicitly said, but I think there was a realization that we did that. And as a group, you always want to break records, you always want to push the envelope, and I think we did that tonight. There was just there was a sense of 'we did it' and also a sense of 'we're still hungry, we still want more' and there's an excitement about pushing forward and the direction of the group, and I think you could just see that in the reaction of the guys.”
FC Cincinnati's 2022 schedule can be viewed, HERE. Fans can build their custom Pick 3 package today. They can pick three games that best fit their schedule, while saving on the price of a single game ticket. Fans can pick the same seats for three games or select different options around TQL Stadium.
Single match tickets to any of FC Cincinnati’s remaining home games are also available now, head to fccincinnati.com/tickets or call 513-977-KICK, that’s 513-977-5425, to learn more.
FC Cincinnati are playing their fourth season of MLS competition in 2022, and their second playing at TQL Stadium. For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. Additionally, fans are encouraged to download the team’s official mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for instant access to mobile tickets, team content and match notifications.