Start Spreading the News! FC Cincinnati dominate from kick to final whistle in 1-0 victory

20240323 FCCvsNYC Match GB 281

FC Cincinnati are back atop the Eastern Conference standings after a dominant 1-0 performance against New York City FC Saturday night at TQL Stadium.

With the victory, FC Cincinnati (3-0-2, 11 pts) earned their first home win of the MLS season, highlighted by a magic moment from Luciano Acosta and the defense once again standing tall with a clean sheet.

Battling through a physical NYCFC side, The Orange and Blue held The Pigeons to just three shots on goal, two of which Roman Celentano, who has opened the season with three home clean sheets, didn’t need to move to save. The goal from Acosta was his second of the season and his third goal contribution.

Pat Noonan opened the match by keeping the same formation as FCC’s last outing with the New England Revolution, but this time placing his stars Acosta and Aaron Boupendza into the Starting XI for optimal results. Typically placed in a top two, Corey Baird dropped back into an attacking midfield role alongside Acosta, leaving Boupendza at the top of the formation as the lone striker.

After a scoreless first half that had FC Cincinnati out chance The Pigeons to the tune of a 0.6xG to a 0.1xG that would not include a called back goal for FC Cincinnati after VAR ruled offside in the build up, FCC came out looking to fire in the second half.

In the 57th minute, the MVP would find the breakthrough. In a quick combination give-and-go pass with Baird, Acosta bounced through the New York backline and dribbled past two defenders before getting a quick, perfectly placed shot off that the keeper was helpless to stop.

The goal gave FC Cincinnati their first in MLS action of 2024 at TQL Stadium, but also lifted Acosta into historic territory in MLS. With 60 goals and 80 assists, Acosta became the fourth-fastest (224 games) and seventh player in MLS history to reach both milestones.

In the 73rd minute, The Orange and Blue faithful were treated to a return performance by the hometown kid, Nick Hagglund, who subbed on for his first action after undergoing hamstring surgery to end his 2023 season. Hagglund twice saved the FCC defense in his cameo appearance, sliding like a Cincinnati Red into second base to intercept an assured breakaway pass and popping up to play the ball forward. The second came moments later when a slide tackle broke up a counter attack and harmlessly pushed the ball back to an FCC teammate who was able to cycle it back to safety.

After an excruciating 13 minutes of stoppage time to cap off the second half, the final whistle blew and FCC were victorious with their third clean sheet of the MLS season. With the result, FC Cincinnati remained undefeated in MLS play and earned their 11th point of the season, moving into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference, thanks to losses from Inter Miami CF and Columbus Crew.

The Orange and Blue return to action next Saturday with a road match in Charlotte, North Carolina. In a Queen City darby at Bank of America Stadium, FC Cincinnati will take on Charlotte FC looking to continue their perfect 2-0-0 record in league road games. FCC will return home to take on the New York Red Bulls on April 6 at TQL Stadium for another Saturday night fixture in West End.