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New York Ends Cincinnati’s USL Run

FC Cincinnati was knocked out of the USL Playoffs by the New York Red Bulls II 1-0. Armando Moreno was the lone goalscorer off a counter attack in the 12’.

Cincinnati’s run in the USL has ended tonight with MLS looming on the horizon. After setting multiple attendance records including highest attendance at a match and the highest average over the course of a season. Winning the Regular Season title this year will be the only trophy they have, but the US Open Cup run last year to the Semi-finals against the New York Red Bulls will remain in fans minds for years to come.

Coach Alan Koch commented after the match, “The game is about managing moments, of course. We have done a fantastic job this year this year of managing moments. But obviously we were on the wrong end of managing one individual moment tonight.”

That moment being the only goal in the match, Moreno latched onto a clearance off a Cincinnati free kick and drove at three Cincinnati defenders who were unable to stop him from scoring from 25 yards out. Spencer Richey had no chance to stop the shot despite a fully stretched dive.

It was a very chippy first half between Cincinnati and New York with both sides going at it. It all started with Fatai Alashe being kicked in the head by New York’s Christopher Lima. Alashe was down for a few minutes holding his head before playing on. On the resulting free kick Alashe and Lima came together again and Lima was left on the ground and words were exchanged between the teams.

Right before halftime Forrest Lasso had his legs taken out from under him at the top of his box and there was no call or advantage after Cincinnati made the clearance.

Cincinnati had a very lackluster first half creating very few chances and only having one shot, which was far off target. On their positive attacking moves they always ended up being just offside tallying up five in the half.

The second half was much better for Cincinnati creating chance after chance but unable to find the back of the net. There were more than a handful of crosses that found no one in a scoring position. Adi was battling for position all half but only received one good ball in and was unable to put the ball in the back of the net due to a great save by the New York keeper.

Late in the match New York had more than a handful of players cramp up in the later part of the half. Cincinnati players were yelling to have them stop wasting time, which a couple were.

News and Notes

Cincinnati without their third leading goalscorer again tonight, who was out due to dealing with a personal issue. He missed the game against Nashville SC last week as well

New York played four players who are on their MLS roster but combined they had just one appearance this season.

The attendance tonight was 16,617, the lowest of the three playoff matches in team history. This was also the lowest home attendance since April 19th 2017.

Recap

New York took the lead with a goal from Amando Moreno in the 12’. A Cincinnati free kick was cleared and Moreno latched onto it driving into his attacking third with three Cincinnati defenders in front of him. As his supporting help showed up he took a long shot and slotted the ball into the bottom corner past a diving Spencer Richey.

Richey made two good saves in the 47’ and 49’. The first he was shielded by his own defenders and good positioning and a quick reaction with his arm. The second he made a nice diving save

Adi almost pulled Cincinnati level in the 50’ with a shot inside the six-yard box but a spectacular kick save kept the ball out. Ledesma did a great job creating the chance.

Corben Bone hit the crossbar in the 68’. After a corner was bouncing around the top of the box he ripped a hard shot that went off the top of the crossbar.

Lasso had a great chance off a corner in the 85’ with an open header but the ball went wide. He was in disbelief after the ball went wide and held his head in his hands.

In the final minute of stoppage time Lasso had a header on target but it was from too far out to be a real threat on goal.

Final thoughts

It was a great run in the USL but the MLS is on the horizon. That is the one of the few positives I can find after tonight’s match.

This is a team that would usually find one or two moments of individual brilliance in tough matches like this to get a result. We saw it happen more than a handful of times over the course of the 24 game unbeaten streak. The usual suspects of Adi and Emmanuel Ledesma couldn’t find a way to put the ball in the back of the net.

Adi was left on an island at points during the match and couldn’t get any help to take a defender away from him on crosses. Credit to Hassan Ndam who was tasked with marking him during the match, he did a fantastic job of being just physical enough to not pick up a foul.

Ledesma couldn’t seem to get anything clicking all night. Many of his crosses were long and his free kicks have been off the last few games. He is taking shots from tough angles that he passed for assists earlier in the season.

Lasso and Barrett both had good games tonight. Lasso was all over the defensive third blocking shots and making lunging tackles. Barrett played a very simple game and kept the pressure off his keeper.

This has been an unforgettable season. Next year beings the real test of what Cincinnati has been building over the last three seasons. Through a coaching change at the start of last season, more than a handful of USL attendance records, and the Open Cup run, this club has proven they are ready for the MLS.

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