When the fulltime whistle sounded Saturday afternoon, Kendall Waston stood inside the midfield circle and pumped his arms. Waston, FC Cincinnati’s captain and center back, exemplified the mood around Nippert Stadium: pride, excitement and relief.
The Orange and Blue beat the Montreal Impact 2-1, which ended a five-game losing streak and scoring drought. That triggered excitement and relief.
But then there was the other massive storyline that stemmed beyond the final score. Yoann Damet, the club’s interim caretaker – and the youngest head coach in MLS history – helped the club earn three points in his first match at the helm.
After FCC preached things would get better, they proved it – even if only in one match. There’s the pride.
“I definitely think we need it,” midfielder Fatai Alashe said of the win. “Definitely for confidence, but anytime you win a game is nice. You know you want three points and it helps us in the long run, but definitely confidence-wise, it’s big.”
Alashe scored the game winner in the 62nd minute when he placed Roland Lamah’s cross into the bottom left corner. The goal came from a spell of 11-consecutive passes. The opening goal, which Allan Cruz scored after seven minutes, came from 16.
“We wanted to get out of this streak, win,” Cruz, a midfielder, said. “We’re at home. We need to win in our home. We have to come do our job, have the ball and start to generate.”
That’s what Cincinnati did.
Now, the question is if that can continue. Even with the result, the Orange and Blue sit 11th in the Eastern Conference standings. A trip to Orlando City SC next Sunday – a team that’s 10th – is an opportunity to accumulate road points before hosting the New York Red Bulls on May 25.
There was nothing small about FC Cincinnati’s win and its significance in the present. But ideally, it’s a moment that can become a minor footnote in a successful campaign in the long-term.
“We’re still a long way off,” Cruz said. “We’re coming from less to more. (I continue) wanting to keep working hard for what’s coming.”