Cover Image via FC Cincinnati 

By Kyra Campbell 

FC Cincinnati is moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals of the MLS Cup Playoffs after its 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. 

This year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals were a rematch of last year’s, where the Union was able to come out on top in another 1-0 match. 

FCC was forced to run out a somewhat rotated starting lineup, with Matt Miazga out on yellow card suspension as well as Obinna Nwobodo and Santiago Arias coming back from injury. 

Roman Celentano started in goal, with Ian Murphy, Yerson Mosquera, and Alvas Powell making up the defense. Alvaro Barreal and Ray Gaddis started at wingback. 

The midfield consisted of Junior Moreno, Yuya Kubo, and Luciano Acosta. Aaron Boupendza and Brandon Vazquez started at striker. 

FCC started out on the front foot, seemingly dominating Philly for the first 25 minutes. 

After a while, the Union started to settle into the match, and play became much tighter. 

In the 30th minute, Ray Gaddis received a yellow card. 

The teams went into halftime even. 

Later on, in the 76th minute, Boupendza received a yellow card of his own. He was then subbed off in the 88th minute for Dominique Badji. 

Then, in stoppage time of the second half, Philly’s Damion Lowe fouled Badji, setting up a dangerous set piece situation for FCC. Barreal served the ball in, and following an Murphy header, Mosquera put the ball in the back of the net. 

There is some controversy around this goal, as Murphy may have been offside. VAR found no clear and obvious error, however, and the goal stood. 

FCC made one last substitution of Marco Angulo for Kubo and was able to see the rest of stoppage time out to move on to the next round of the playoffs. 

FC Cincinnati will face their rivals, the Columbus Crew, in a Hell is Real edition of the Eastern Conference Finals. The match is this Saturday at 6 p.m., and as always, fans can catch the action on the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.

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