Written by: Kyra Campbell
FC Cincinnati (13-2-6) came from behind to secure a point on the road in its 2-2 draw with Charlotte FC (6-8-8) on Saturday. Thanks to some other results going its way this matchday, the Orange and Blue now have a 7 point lead over second place St. Louis (12-7-2) in the Supporters’ Shield standings, as well as a 7 point lead over Nashville (11-6-5), who is second place in the Eastern Conference.
FCC’s starting XI was probably as close to full strength as it has been since the June international break. Roman Celentano got his usual start in goal. Ian Murphy returned to the lineup after being out last came serving a red card suspension and played in a back three with Yerson Mosquera and Nick Hagglund. Alvaro Barreal and Santiago Arias started in their normal wingback positions. Junior Moreno returned from injury and was back in the midfield with Obinna Nwobodo and Luciano Acosta. Sergio Santos started for the first time since coming back from his injury. Yuya Kubo started up top next to Santos, with Dom Badji being out with a leg injury picked up in training midweek.
FC Cincinnati looked to be on the front foot early on, and had a great chance within the first 10 minutes. Mosquera received a yellow card in the 11th minute, the first out of nine total given in the match. The game quickly turned to Charlotte’s favor when Karol Swiderski scored a header in the 14th minute to put the home team up 1-0. Just ten minutes later in the 24th minute, Swiderski got himself a brace and put Charlotte up 2-0. Ian Murphy picked up his first yellow card of the match in the 29th minute, but otherwise FC Cincinnati was able to get out of the first half without more harm done. FCC cut its deficit in half in the 52nd minute when Lucho converted a penalty kick, scoring his 10th goal of the season. Sergio Santos then received a yellow card in the 57th minute. In the 68th minute, Cincinnati tied the match 2-2, when Alvaro Barreal slotted home his third MLS goal of the season, assisted by a beautiful nutmeg pass from Lucho. In the 75th minute, right before he was about to be subbed off, Ian Murphy picked up his second yellow, and therefore subsequent red card, and FCC was forced to finish the match out with 10 men. Cincinnati was able to see out the draw which brought them up to 45 points on the season.
FC Cincinnati is on the road again midweek as the club travels to New Jersey to take on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. The previous meeting between these teams in the U.S. Open Cup resulted in a Cincinnati penalty shootout victory to send FCC to the Quarterfinals. The match is on Wednesday, 7/12 at 7:30pm, and as always, fans can catch the match on the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.