Late Lucho Acosta goal gives FC Cincinnati its 12th win | Replay

FC Cincinnati midfielder Obinna Nwobodo (5) fouls Chicago Fire defender Alonso Aceves (3) in...
FC Cincinnati midfielder Obinna Nwobodo (5) fouls Chicago Fire defender Alonso Aceves (3) in the second half of the MLS match at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday, June 3, 2023. Photo: Albert Cesare/The Enquirer(Cincinnati Enquirer)
Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 11:07 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (ENQUIRER) - Just when it seemed like a certainty that the busy run of 10 matches in 35 days had finally taken its toll on FC Cincinnati’s 2023 season, Luciano Acosta arrived late on against Chicago Fire FC.

What seemed destined to finish in a scoreless draw on a night with few flashes of stellar play by either team, FC Cincinnati’s Acosta controlled a ball played in over the top and beat his defender one-versus-one to get a shot off.

The shot slid underneath former FCC goalkeeper Spencer Richey and dribbled over the goal line. It was Acosta’s seventh goal of 2023 and it proved decisive as FC Cincinnati held out for a 1-0 victory Saturday against the Fire at TQL Stadium.

The victory upped FC Cincinnati’s MLS-best record to 12-1-3 and 39 points in the standings. Cincinnati also stretched its undefeated run at TQL Stadium in 2023 to 9-0-0 in MLS play.

FCC’s starting lineup featured 19-year-old Arquimides Ordonez, Yuya Kubo in the role of the playmaking midfielder and Marco Angulo at defensive midfield. Acosta also occupied a striker position – something he’d done once previously this season.

It was a lineup similar to what FCC deployed in mid-May against New York Red Bulls in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which wasn’t too effective attacking-wise at the time but produced the majority share of possession against Chicago.

Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan brought his heavy-hitters on for the final 30 minutes, adding Brandon Vazquez, Dominique Badji and Junior Moreno to the fray but their addition to the match left little time to make an impact.

Santiago Arias, who entered the match in the 70th minute, played the long ball for Acosta to latch on to.

Next up for FC Cincinnati is Tuesday’s Open Cup quarterfinal match at TQL Stadium. There, a win against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC could see FCC reach the semifinal round of the competition for the second time in club history.


The breakthrough (83′)

Luciano Acosta to the rescue. His seventh goal of the season dribbles under Spencer Richey, the former FCC goalkeeper and Fire FC captain, to put Cincinnati in the driver’s seat.

Reinforcements arrive (61′)

FC Cincinnati introduced Dominique Badji, Brandon Vazquez and Junior Moreno. Chicago countered by bring Xherdan Shaqiri, Kei Kamara, and Maren Haile-Selassie in. The should set things up nicely for the final 30 minutes.

An uneventful first half

Even with three key changes to the starting lineup, and Luciano Acosta moved to a striker position, FC Cincinnati controlled the match but lacked that final bit of quality. Sixty percent of the possession, five corner kicks, and eight shots couldn’t produce an opening goal for FCC. Chicago had three corners and no shots, so Cincinnati’s not giving up much to the visitors but it doesn’t have much of its own to speak of either.

Seeking 9-0-0 at home (1′)

We’re underway at TQL Stadium at 7:39 p.m. on a cool evening after a storm passed over the area around 6 p.m.

A familiar face

Spencer Richey, an FC Cincinnati goalkeeper whose tenure spanned three years and the club’s jump to Major League Soccer from the lower divisions, starts and captains Chicago Fire FC in the game. Richey had 29 career MLS appearances for Cincinnati. In 2018 (USL), he was 11-1-2 with a .650 save percentage and a 1.29 goals against average with four shutouts for FCC.

The Starters

  • FC Cincinnati starting XI: Roman Celentano (GK), Alvas Powell, Yerson Mosquera, Matt Miazga, Ray Gaddis, Alvaro Barreal, Obinna Nwobodo, Yuya Kubo, Marco Angulo, Luciano Acosta (captain), Quimi Ordonez.
  • Cincinnati bench: Alec Kann (GK), Nick Hagglund, Santiago Arias, Dominique Badji, Brandon Vazquez, Malik Pinto, Ian Murphy, Dado Valenzuela, Junior Moreno
  • Chicago Fire FC starting XI: Spencer Richey (GK, captain), Arnaud Souquet, Daniel Aceves, Wyatt Ornsberg, Kenall Burks, Brian Gutierrez, Jairo Torres, Fabian Herbers, Federico Navarro, Kacper Przybylko, Georgios Koutsias.
  • Chicago bench: Rafael Czichos, Maren Haile-Selassia, Xherdan Shaqiri, Kei Kamara, Jeffrey Gal, Gaston Gimenez, Missael Rodriguez, Javier Casas, Charlie Ostrem.

This story was written by our media partners at The Cincinnati Enquirer.