CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati defeated Toronto FC for the second time in five days, knocking off the Reds 2-0 Wednesday night in front of 19,563 fans at TQL Stadium.
With the win, the Orange and Blue improve to 4-5-1 (13 points) and head into the weekend slate in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Toronto fall to 3-5-2 (11 points).
Calvin Harris, FC Cincinnati’s No. 2 overall selection in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft scored his first career goal for the Orange and Blue in the 2nd minute. Along the left touchline, Álvaro Barreal played a ball for Brandon Vazquez in behind the Toronto defense. Vazquez then found a streaking Harris into the box for a tap-in finish for the 22-year-old forward.
Harris scored the fourth-fastest goal in club history, the quickest this season for FCC. It was the first goal the Orange and Blue have ever scored in the 2nd minute of a game.
One minute later Toronto midfielder Ralph Priso went in for a challenge on FCC’s Obinna Nwobodo, who made his first career start with Cincinnati, and was initially shown a yellow card for his tackle. After VAR review, it was determined that the serious foul drew a straight red card and ejection for Priso.
The 6th minute issued red card was the quickest ejection of an FC Cincinnati opponent in the club’s history, the 12th red card shown to an FCC opponent in MLS.
In the 54th minute, Álvaro Barreal was taken down in the box to send the Orange and Blue to the penalty spot for the third time this season. Captain Luciano Acosta stepped up and buried the kick to double FCC’s lead, 2-0.
Acosta scored his 11th career goal with FC Cincinnati, which matches Brandon Vazquez for the most in club history.
The Orange and Blue hit the road to face Minnesota United FC for the first of three games in eight days away from TQL Stadium. Kickoff on Saturday, May 7 is set for 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.
FC CINCINNATI GAME REPORT
FC Cincinnati vs. Toronto FC
Date: May 4, 2022
Competition: MLS Regular Season
Venue: TQL Stadium
Kickoff: 7:38 p.m. ET
Weather: 60 degrees, cloudy
SCORING SUMMARY: 1-2-F
CIN - Calvin Harris (Brandon Vazquez, Álvaro Barreal) 2’, Luciano Acosta (PK) 57’
TOR - None
• All-time FC Cincinnati are 4-4-0 against Toronto FC, having won four of the last five meetings between the sides … three of those wins have been by a 2-0 scoreline ... Wednesday’s shutout was the club’s first clean sheet win since September 11, 2021 against Toronto FC, a 2-0 win at TQL Stadium.
• FC Cincinnati defeated an opponent twice in one season for the fourth time (Montreal – 2019; New York Red Bulls – 2020; Toronto – 2021).
• FCC’s three goals in the opening 15 minutes of a game this season is tied for third in MLS this year, only behind the four scored by Austin FC and New England Revolution.
• Calvin Harris became the 31st different goal scorer for the Orange and Blue in the club’s MLS history … his first goal came in his 21st appearance for the Orange and Blue.
• The red card issued to Toronto’s Ralph Priso in the 6th minute was the quickest ejection of an opponent in FC Cincinnati history (previous earliest: Atlanta’s Jake Mulraney in the 26th minute, July 16, 2020) … Wednesday marked the 12th red card issued to an opponent in club history.
• Álvaro Barreal’s assist on Harris’ goal was his fourth career assist, his first since the last time Toronto FC played at TQL Stadium, on September 11, 2021.
• Brandon Vazquez’s assist of Harris’ goal was his seventh career assist with FC Cincinnati, which matches Ronald Matarrita for the second-most in club history.
• Alvas Powell surpassed 12,000 minutes in his MLS regular season career on Wednesday.
• Roman Celentano at 21 years, 232 days became the youngest goalkeeper to record a shutout in club history, surpassing Spencer Richey’s mark (26 yrs., 291 days) in the first MLS shutout in club history on March 17, 2019 vs. Portland Timbers.
• All-time, FC Cincinnati are 9-for-13 from the penalty spot in MLS regular season play … the third drawn penalty of the season is tied for the most in MLS this season (along with RBNY, NE, SJ) … last season FC Cincinnati went to the penalty spot three times all year (2-for-3).
CIN: Roman Celentano, John Nelson (Tyler Blackett 67’), Ian Murphy, Nick Hagglund, Alvas Powell, Junior Moreno, Obinna Nwobodo (Haris Medunjanin 67’), Álvaro Barreal, Luciano Acosta (C) (Nick Markanich 86’), Calvin Harris (Dominique Badji 58’), Brandon Vazquez (Brenner 67’)
Substitutes not used: Kenneth Vermeer, Harrison Robledo, Geoff Cameron, Zico Bailey
Head Coach: Pat Noonan
TOR: Alex Bono, Kadin Chung (Kobe Frankin 77’), Shane O’Neill, Lukas MacNaughton, Luca Petrasso, Michael Bradley (C), Kosi Thompson (Steffen Yeates 64’), Ralph Priso, Alejandro Pozuelo (Jordan Perruzza 64’), Jayden Nelson (Deandre Kerr 46’), Jesús Jiménez (Ayo Akinola 64’)
Substitutes not used: Quentin Westberg, Paul Rothrock, Themi Antonoglou
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
STATS SUMMARY: CIN/TOR
Shots: 16 / 14
Shots on Goal: 6 / 4
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 2 / 6
Fouls: 16 / 10
Offside: 4 / 1
Possession: 60.4 / 39.6
TOR - Ralph Priso (Red Card) 6'
TOR - Jayden Nelson (Yellow Card) 12'
CIN - Obinna Nwobodo (Yellow Card) 59'
CIN - Tyler Blackett (Yellow Card) 75'
CIN - Álvaro Barreal (Yellow Card) 88'
Referee: Lukasz Szpala
Ast. Referees: Jose Da Silva, Tyler Wyrostek
Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic
AVAR: Nick Uranga
FC Cincinnati Head Coach Pat Noonan
“I thought it was overall certainly good to win the game. I thought the start to the game was very promising getting the goal early. You go up a man a few minutes later, and I think the remainder of the half was subpar. I think we stopped playing, we stopped pressing. The remainder of the half was just average in terms of us being confident in playing and moving off the ball and still putting them under pressure. I was pleased with the second half in finding the second goal despite it coming from a PK. We could have done a better job certainly to score a few more goals, but I was pleased with how we settled into that second half in ways where we played with some more confidence with the ball on the ground. Guys were moving, guys were active, and I thought defensively, defending forward was better. And that's the way it should be when you're playing with a lead and a man advantage. Certainly a good victory and we can take some things from this and how we manage games when we're playing with the man advantage.”
On the early lead and man advantage
“Everything we're experiencing is a first. And so, a goal five minutes into the game, you're playing up a man. And so, OK, now we get to experience 40 minutes of what that looks like until we can address it at halftime, but just being a little bit more aggressive and not losing our ideas because we have a goal or we have a lead and we have a man advantage. We're still learning things as a group. But I thought the second half was a better version of a team with a lead and a man advantage.”
On the start to the season
“We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We knew there was going to be a lot of challenges along the way, a lot of learning experiences. And I feel like we've seen a lot of different situations early on in our time together and we're learning how to navigate certain factors in how we play the game and how we look to have success in how we play the game. The goal wasn't to win four games. It's to continue to grow and progress as a group where, as the season progresses, we're positioning ourselves to do something meaningful in the summer and as the season closes out. Right now, we're in a good position after 10 games, but not a great position.”
On defeating a Bob Bradley-coached team twice
“It's not extra special. I do have a lot of respect for Bob. It had nothing to do with me beating a very experienced and successful coach. It was how can we find a way to beat a good team and do it coming off of a good result in Toronto. I was pleased with the result, but it had nothing to do with trying to beat a very successful coach.”
On defeating Toronto twice in five days
“The message was that it was good to get the result in Toronto, but understand that now you have a team that you're playing again a few days later that's going to be motivated, want to come out and write the ship in our stadium. Despite them missing players, the message was that this is a group that can cause us problems if we're not mentally in the right place and if we're not physically running and being aggressive. That was the message before the game and again, I'm pleased that we were able to get an early lead and get the result.”
Forward Calvin Harris
On his first MLS goal
“There's been a lot of ups and downs. With getting an injury last year as well and especially it was a big one for me. I've never had an injury that big before. It's been a long road for that goal. It felt really good to put it away. Hopefully there's more to come.”
On the win
“It's a huge win and a huge step in the right direction. We've been training really well. It feels like there's just a better togetherness in the group and you've seen that on the pitch, especially today. Some of the ways that we were playing out was fantastic. Junior and Obi [Nwobodo] were so good in the midfield. It was just linking, was just flowing a lot better today. That just shows that togetherness.”
Midfielder Obinna Nwobodo
On the win and his first start
“First of all, I'm glad and I'm so happy we were able to get two wins in a row. And hopefully it will continue. And I have been with the group for a while now and I see that we have we are working on something. And I hopefully it will keep coming and it will even get better.”
On playing in front of the fans in Cincinnati
“Well, it's something I've been looking forward to. For a while even before I arrived I've already seen some videos, some pictures about the fans. I've been following them for a while. And I see how they've been always fine to support the team even when the things are not going so well. So I'm glad that I'm finally here to witness it. And to be able to be part of this, this group and this big family which is the team and the fans and everyone.”
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.