WASHINGTON, D.C. – FC Cincinnati’s turnaround in 2022 was once polished off by way of clinching the membership’s first Major League Soccer postseason berth at the ultimate day of its fourth season within the league.
FC Cincinnati’s assault left room for no doubt Sunday at Audi Field in opposition to D.C. United.
Cincinnati led 3-0 by way of the twenty fourth minute, 4-1 at halftime by way of a hat trick by way of Brenner Souza da Silva and gained, 5-2, earlier than a sold-out Audi Field crowd on MLS Decision Day.
After beginning the day in a win-and-in state of affairs relative to the playoff image, FC Cincinnati’s perfect ever steady season marketing campaign wrapped up on a 12-9-13 report. That was once excellent sufficient for 49 issues within the standings and a fifth-place end within the league’s Eastern Conference.
Consequently, and after the opposite fits within the east went ultimate, FCC earned a first-round playoff event in opposition to New York Red Bulls, a staff it two times tied with within the steady season, subsequent week at Red Bull Arena.
MLS officers may verify playoff dates and get started instances as early as Sunday night time, and FC Cincinnati can also be assured of its probabilities because the No. 5 seed.
For now, despite the fact that, the membership is savoring merely attaining the playoffs.
“It’s a neat second for the crowd, for the avid gamers, personnel,” FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan said. “Certainly everyone that’s concerned within the membership and the fan base. This was once a special occasion. We’re going to check out to benefit from the heck out of it as a result of those avid gamers, personnel have labored so arduous to get thus far. Our objective wasn’t simply to get right here. Hopefully, we will be able to do one thing particular now that we’re right here however a large number of other people installed a large number of arduous paintings and so they’re playing the instant. It’s genuinely-earned.”
Star power won the day for FC Cincinnati
The offense came early and often from FC Cincinnati. Its biggest, highest-paid stars were directly involved, too.
Captain and former D.C. United star Luciano Acosta opened the scoring for FCC in the sixth minute. Two minutes later, Brenner tapped home his first score of the afternoon.
In the 17th minute, Brenner was on the scoresheet again, and FCC appeared to by cruising.
Ravel Morrison rocketed a shot past FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano to put the hosts on the board, but Brenner responded by completing his hat trick in just the 37th minute.
That allowed FCC to go into the intermission ahead, 4-1, behind Brenner’s latest scoring outburst and three assists from Brandon Vazquez.
A sleepy start to the second half by FCC saw United halve its deficit at 4-2 in the 47th minute through Kristian Fletcher, but a goal by Vazquez restored Cincinnati’s three-goal cushion.
Brenner and Vazquez finished the match tied for the team lead in scoring for 2022 on 18 goals apiece. Acosta’s goal was his 10th of the season, giving the club three double-digit scorers for the first time in its MLS history.
In the end, and after a season of contributions from unexpected members of the team, FC Cincinnati got its playoff push across the finish line through the play of its most potent scoring options.
“They all stepped up. They’ve stepped up the vast majority of the yr,” Noonan said of Acosta, Vazquez and Brenner. “And they weren’t by myself.”
The combined performances of Acosta, Vazquez and Brenner underscored a promising, new reality for the club: That it is one of the best attacking teams in MLS.
Among the many franchise bests achieved by FCC in 2022, their 64 goals were the most in single-season history, and more than the club tallied in the 2021 and 2020 seasons combined.
The 64 goals also ranked second-most in the Eastern Conference, and fourth-most in all of MLS.
Its plus-eight goal difference was also a franchise best.
The postseason outlook
FC Cincinnati joined a seven-team playoff field in the east headed up by Philadelphia Union, which locked down the No. 1-seed and a first-round bye with its 4-0 win Sunday against Toronto FC.
Here’s how the first-round playoffs matchups turned out after other action across the east on Decision Day:
- No. 4 New York Red Bulls vs. No. 5 FC Cincinnati
- No. 3 New York City FC vs. No. 6 Inter Miami CF (at Red Bulls Arena)
- No. 2 CF Montreal vs. No. 7 Orlando City SC
Philadelphia awaits the winner of the four-five matchup between the Red Bulls and Cincinnati. So, as if winning one playoff game to start isn’t enough of a daunting task, success for FCC in the postseason would mean an encounter with the east’s top side.
It’s a tough road in the MLS Cup playoffs for a No. 5 seed, but there’s seldom an easy path to a championship.
FC Cincinnati’s self-described quiet confidence entering the postseason was evident almost as soon as the final whistle blew on Sunday’s game.
Loud music emanated from Cincinnati’s team locker room at Audi Field afterward. There was celebrating and yelling, and a modest assortment of beer available to players and staff. Most chose not to imbibe, though, and the overall tone of the celebration was a bit muted.
FC Cincinnati knows bigger accomplishments are attainable, hence the absence of champagne showers and a more joyful dressing room.
“It’s no longer like everybody’s like ‘oh, we gained the World Cup,’ ” FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano said. “It’s an accomplishment to have gained this recreation and made playoffs however we aren’t gonna act like, I have no idea. You cannot simply act adore it’s the most important factor ever as a result of we’ve larger fish to fry subsequent week with Red Bulls. We’re gonna focal point on that recreation and pass from there.”
To continue Celentano’s fish-fry analogy, FC Cincinnati is capable of frying the bigger fish.
In addition to posting a 3-2-7 record against the other six teams in the Eastern Conference playoff field, FC Cincinnati’s lost only one of its last 13 games.
FCC’s also lost just twice since July 17. That’s the kind of run teams make when they’re well-situated to do big things in the playoffs, and especially in the MLS Cup playoffs.
Most importantly, Cincinnati recaptured momentum after a disappointing 3-2 loss to Chicago Fire FC Oct. 1. The nature of Sunday’s dominant, attack-fueled win was such that FC Cincinnati has renewed confidence at the outset of the postseason.
“Winning the sport – it is helping with the sensation presently of the way we get into the playoffs,” Noonan said. “We weren’t depending on people or effects, so the fellows stepped up this night.”
As for next week’s opponent, FC Cincinnati twice played New York Red Bulls to 1-1 draws. New York’s only goals in the matches came via penalty kicks, meaning FCC defended well against them for the most part.
Replicating that feat, combined with the potential of FCC’s explosive attack, should hold Cincinnati in good position in the match.
“It’s fascinating. I used to be simply enthusiastic about it somewhat bit in the past,” Cincinnati center back Nick Hagglund said. “They were given two penalty kicks in opposition to us and that’s more or less the 2 ties. Hopefully we will be able to steer clear of the ones errors and put a pair away and we’ll let at them because it comes. I feel the fellows will likely be able. With Red Bulls, it’s about urgency. It’s about coming to struggle, and in the event you win the ones battles, anything else can occur.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. − Welcome to Cincinnati.com’s reside protection of FC Cincinnati as opposed to D.C. United on Decision Day, the general regular-season event day of the 2022 Major League Soccer season. Refresh this web page right through the event (2:30 p.m.) for reside updates and research from Audi Field, and apply Enquirer FC Cincinnati reporter Pat Brennan on Twitter (@PBrennanENQ) for additional updates.
- Final: FC Cincinnati 5, D.C. United 2.
- 53rd minute – GOAL, FC Cincinnati (2-5): Brandon Vazquez’s side-footed effort with United’s protection ripped vast open was once his 18th objective of the season.
- forty seventh minute – GOAL, D.C. United (2-4): Kristian Fletcher.
- Halftime: FC Cincinnati 4, D.C. United 1.
- thirty seventh minute – GOAL, FC Cincinnati (1-4): Brenner Souza da Silva smashed house his 3rd objective of the sport from the highest of the field. In the span of 37 mins, he is overtaken Brandon Vazquez because the staff’s main scorer in 2022.
- twenty sixth minute – GOAL, D.C. United (1-3): Ravel Morrison.
- twenty fourth minute – GOAL, FC Cincinnati (0-3): Brenner Souza da Silva. Brenner’s seventeenth objective of the season tied him with Brandon Vazquez for the membership’s 2022 scoring lead.
- Eighth minute – GOAL, FC Cincinnati (0-2): Brenner Souza da Silva was once credited along with his sixteenth tally of 2022 after his subtle shot on objective seemed to be kicked around the line by way of a D.C. United participant.
- Sixth minute – GOAL, FC Cincinnati (0-1): Luciano Acosta scored his tenth objective of 2022, tapping house from shut vary after an extended ball by way of Matt Miazga was once flicked on by way of Brandon Vazquez. Acosta become the 3rd double-digit scorer of the yr for FC Cincinnati – a membership first.
- Game underway at 2:55 p.m.
- All fits within the Eastern Conference will kick at 2:55 p.m. in spite of the introduced get started time of two:30 p.m. In MLS, fits on Decision Day, the season finale, are synced and get started concurrently to maintain the aggressive stability of the general around of regular-season video games.
- FC Cincinnati beginning XI: Roman Celentano (GK), Alvaro Barreal, Matt Miazga, Geoff Cameron, Nick Hagglund, Alvas Powell, Junior Moreno, Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta, Brenner Souza da Silva, Brandon Vazquez.
- Cincinnati bench: Dom Badji, Allan Cruz, Ray Gaddis, Alec Kann (GK), Yuya Kubo, Ronald Matarrita, Ian Murphy, John Nelson, Quimi Ordonez.