FC Cincinnati ‘just getting started’ after playoff run ends in Philadelphia
CINCINNATI (Enquirer) - FC Cincinnati gave its fans and city a reason to dream in 2022, but any dreams going forward will have to be for 2023 after Cincinnati’s season ended.
The top-seeded Philadelphia Union dispensed of fifth-seeded FC Cincinnati, 1-0, on a Leon Flach goal in the 59th minute that caused Subaru Park to quiver as fans rejoiced.
FC Cincinnati, which on Saturday advanced to Saturday’s semifinal in suburban Philadelphia after beating the New York Red Bulls, had drawn Philadelphia in June and beat the Union handily in August.
A second win against the Union, and on an undefeated Philadelphia homefield through the regular season, was too much to ask.
FC Cincinnati received some breaks in the game and made some of its own. FCC took the match to halftime in a scoreless deadlock and withstood the pressure offered by the top-scoring team in Major League Soccer in 2022.
Cincinnati’s own chances were scarce, though. The best with a side-footed Junior Moreno shot from the top of the Philadelphia penalty area after the intermission.
Andre Blake, a winner of the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year award for three seasons running, punched Moreno’s shot away. Later, in the 83rd minute, Brandon Vazquez broke in on goal and fired off a dangerous shot even though he had a defender draped on him.
Blake was equal to that attempt to. He finished the match six saves.
Blake’s opposite number, Cincinnati rookie Roman Celentano, had six saves to punctuate his promising debut campaign.
The Union, which complemented their attack in 2022 by being the stingiest MLS club defensively, held out for the victory.
FC Cincinnati ended its 2022 season with 13 wins including the Red Bulls playoff victory, and a 12-9-13 regular season record. But it was the Union that advanced to the MLS Cup Eastern Conference final, which it will host against either No. 2 CF Montreal or No. 3 New York City FC.
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