FC Cincinnati won their first MLS road match Sunday afternoon when they beat the New England Revolution 2-0 at Gillette Stadium. The Orange and Blue are now unbeaten in their last three matches and have seven points from four games.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Grinding out a result on the road
Up until the final minutes of the first half, FC Cincinnati were on the backfoot in the match and susceptible to conceding.
But a counter attack goal from Kekuta Manneh from a Kenny Saief assist gave the visitors an early lead entering halftime.
In a halftime interview, Head Coach Alan Koch mentioned the necessity of Cincinnati tightening up its backline but continuing to look dangerous.
That happened in the second half.
Again, the Orange and Blue were out possessed, but they capitalized on chances and eventually doubled their lead in the 65th minute when Saief finished a pass from Manneh.
Later in the half, Koch made defensive-minded substitutions to help FCC secure three points and another clean sheet.
FC Cincinnati have some serious depth
Entering the week, the big talking point surrounding FCC was how the club would play with notable starters missing for international duty.
How would the club respond with four key players missing from last week’s win? Who would play forward if Fanendo Adi was injured? What about Prezemysław Tytoń in goal?
For all those legitimate questions, FC Cincinnati went out and produced a spectacular response.
The visitors played well and effectively in New England. They seized opportunities and shell shocked a Revolution team still awaiting a first win. That wait continues.
Spencer Richey produced another clean sheet and had a world-class double save in the 61st minute.
Emmanuel Ledesma started in place of Adi, but played deeper in the midfield. As a result, he provided space to Manneh up front to dribble at the home side and create attacking chances.
Forrest Lasso was stout and looked like an MLS regular despite making his first MLS appearance.
Greg Garza provided attacking options as a fullback and defensive toughness when out of possession.
That Cincinnati played well without key starters shows the quality this roster possesses – while also highlighting the difficult choices Head Coach Alan Koch will have to make next week against the Philadelphia Union.
It’s worth noting Koch said he wouldn’t have changed his lineup from last week if it wasn’t a necessity.
Saief and Manneh delight
Before Sunday, Saief had only played 17 minutes for FC Cincinnati this season. That was enough time to produce a match-tying assist to Roland Lamah at Atlanta United FC.
So when the U.S. international got his first start, it’s no surprise he showed how lethal he can be as a goal-scoring threat.
When given too much space, he hurt the Revolution. His assist to Manneh is proof. But then to score inside the box reiterated how strong of a signing he’s been for this club.
As for Manneh, he continued to provide the excitement and quality he’s provided through his three other appearances for Cincinnati. If that consistency continues, Manneh will be arguably the hardest player for other MLS clubs to defend against.