Ahead of a three-game road trip, FC Cincinnati hosted Real Salt Lake on Friday night at Nippert Stadium and left with a 3-0 home loss.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
Those first 41 minutes…
The first 40 minutes of the match were some of FCC’s finest this season.
From the opening kickoff, they played with a purpose. The home side carried possession and patiently looked to make the right decision, whether that meant a run, pass or tackle. The only thing missing was a quality end product.
Cincinnati got close to scoring in the 25th minute when a Roland Lamah found Allan Cruz in the box, but his header drifted wide of the back post. At the time, it felt like more chances would come. As Head Coach Alan Koch said last week, creating chances is a positive as long as it implies future goals.
But that was part of the problem.
And then those four minutes happened…
Real Salt Lake scored against the run of play in the 42nd minute when Nick Hagglund couldn’t clear the ball, which led to Spencer Richey blocking the ball right into oncoming traffic. Albert Rusnák volleyed the ball in.
In stoppage time, Hagglund made a goal-line clearance after the visitors attacked in transition. After that, Alvas Powell made a similar block and once again, RSL scored on a rebound (Sam Johnson smashed the ball into the net).
By the time the halftime whistle chirped, FC Cincinnati trailed 2-0. In his halftime interview, Koch said the club “switched off” in the final moments of the opening half and were punished.
Ultimately, those moments led to the club’s eventual loss. FCC have lost back-to-back losses for the first time in MLS.
What looms on the horizon isn’t forgiving
With the loss, FC Cincinnati play their next three matches on the road. That stint will last eight days and includes dates at New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and San Jose Earthquakes.
Of the next eight matches, six are away. It’s an unforgiving start to life in MLS. That also makes home points all the more precious.