Cover Image via the Cincinnati Enquirer
Written by: Kyra Campbell
FC Cincinnati (15-2-6) remains undefeated at home after its 3-1 victory over Nashville SC (11-8-5) on Saturday. The Orange and Blue now sit 8 points above second place New England (12-4-7) in the Supporters’ Shield standings going into the Leagues Cup break.
Cincinnati was back to their usual starting XI with key players returning from international duty. Roman Celentano made his typical start in goal. Matt Miazga returned to the backline after being away with the USMNT for the Gold Cup and played centrally next to Yerson Mosquera and Nick Hagglund. Alvaro Barreal and Santiago Arias started at the wingback positions. The midfield consisted of the usual trio of Junior Moreno, Obinna Nwobodo, and Luciano Acosta. Sergio Santos started at striker next to Brandon Vazquez, also just recently returned from USMNT duty. New DP striker Aaron Boupendza made his first match day roster for the club.
FCC seemed to be off to a great start in the 8th minute when Lucho chipped Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis, but the goal would be overturned by VAR on a questionable foul, which set the tone for the officiating for the rest of the match. Arias picked up a yellow card in the 26th minute. Ultimately, it would be Nashville who struck first in the 31st minute, when Walker Zimmerman was able to finish a save Celentano couldn’t quite hold onto. Cincinnati would strike back in the 42nd minute, however, when they were awarded a penalty off a Nashville handball in the box that Lucho easily converted. Lucho would then pick up a yellow card of his own in stoppage time of the first half.
In the 62nd minute, Matt Miazga would also receive a yellow card, though his was extremely questionable, making him unavailable for the next league match. Then, in the 68th minute, Nashville’s Taylor Washington was shown a red card for two yellows. Just two minutes later Fafa Picault would also be shown his second yellow and therefore sent off, leaving Nashville to finish the match with 9 men. With the man advantage now, FCC went up 2-1 in the 74th minute thanks to a Santiago Arias goal. A minute later, Aaron Boupendza would make his FC Cincinnati debut. It seemed like Nashville was going to level things up in stoppage time of the second half when they were awarded a penalty for a supposed foul on Walker Zimmerman, but VAR would overturn the call as replay clearly showed Zimmerman just fell down. Later on in stoppage time, Boupendza would score his first goal for the Orange and Blue, putting FCC up 3-1.
FC Cincinnati will take a long break from league play and instead turn its attention towards Leagues Cup. FC Cincinnati’s next MLS match isn’t until August 20th when they travel up I-71 for the Hell is Real derby against the Columbus Crew (10-7-6). FCC’s first Leagues Cup match is on Sunday, 7/23 at 7:30p, where they will take on Sporting Kansas City in the group stage. Just like MLS matches, all Leagues Cup matches can be viewed on the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.