Despite shattering the fourth-longest goalless streak in MLS history, the Orange and Blue were unable to earn a result in Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to New York City FC at Red Bull Arena.
Here are the takeaways from the match:
FCC score first goal since MLS is Back Tournament
Brandon Vazquez snapped a 558-minute scoring drought in the 72nd minute when he buried the rebound from his initial shot.
Similar to the last goal the club scored in open play – against the New York Red Bulls on July 22 – FC Cincinnati capitalized on a defensive mistake to punish their opponent.
On Saturday, Haris Medunjanin intercepted a heavy touch, found Vazquez open in front of goal and delivered a through ball to the striker. After his first shot was saved at the near post, Vazquez guided his second shot to the back post.
“When you’re scoring a goal, that’s very positive, and especially for Brandon as well,” head coach Jaap Stam said after the match. “It's very good for the team as well, but the thing is that we should score more. We can be honest to each other.
“It's nice that you score a goal, but you still lose and it's about the points, you want to win. You need to see initiative in going forward, being aggressive, being decisive in what you do and in the opportunities that you get. You need to score goals. We need to do that more.”
The scoreless run was FCC’s longest in club history, surpassing the a 528-minute streak from 2019.
Now that it’s history, they can build momentum off the Vazquez strike, even if the game resulted in a second straight defeat.
“Very good, very good. Especially good for our strikers, good for confidence building, good for Brandon, good for the whole team finally to break that deadlock,” Joseph-Claude Gyau said of the goal. “Now we're just going to keep pushing for it, letting shots fly. That's the only way we're going to get results. It's the only way we’re going to get goals, you won't score if you don't shoot.”
Vazquez: “It’s my first of many.”
The 20-year-old striker only needed 65 seconds on Saturday night to score his first goal in an FC Cincinnati shirt.
After arriving during the offseason from Atlanta United FC, Vazquez has had a limited role as a backup. Entering the NYCFC match, he had only played in two of FCC’s first five matches back in markets, and for a combined 32 minutes.
So, it was a promising sign to see a young player score and generate momentum that should spill into the club’s next slate of matches.
“For me, personally, I am happy to open my scoresheet with Cincinnati,” Vazquez said. “It’s my first of many. So, I am happy for that. It is a little bittersweet because we weren’t able to get the result at the end. I am happy personally for the goal, but I am looking forward to the next game and scoring more goals.”
He nearly scored the equalizer in the 76th minute, but his goal was disallowed when he was ruled offside. Straying slightly offside, he made a nice run, found space from another Medunjanin through ball and delivered a confident finish.
Stam said he’s looking forward to similar performances from Vazquez moving forward.
“We know Brandon, he's a great guy to work with, very eager to learn,” Stam said. “We use him now more as well. He scored a goal, which is very good for him. He just needs to keep on going.”
Time to get comfortable in New Jersey
The season opener on March 1 was expected to be the one and only trip to Red Bull Arena for FCC this season. Yet, when Cincinnati rematch with NYCFC in the venue on Sept. 26, the game will be the team’s fourth in Red Bull Arena in 2020.
That means FC Cincinnati will have played as many matches there as they’ve played at Nippert Stadium entering October.
Including Saturday’s loss, three of the next four games will be played in the venue, as FCC face both the Red Bulls and NYCFC again in Harrison.
“When we got the schedule, we were also a little bit – not shocked, but yeah. It'll be a good opportunity to just come back here,” Gyau said. “We play here two more times. We're just looking to get a result each game that we play. It's a short little break in between each game, but they got a good field over here. It's a good opportunity to just build on what we showed in the second half.”
What comes next
The Orange and Blue return next Saturday when they face the Red Bulls, who they beat, 1-0, in their MLS is Back Tournament meeting. When the clubs last met at Red Bull Arena, Jürgen Locadia scored in his MLS debut as FCC lost, 3-2.
Cincinnati’s next home game is Sept. 23 against the Philadelphia Union.