CHICAGO – FC Cincinnati extended the club’s MLS win streak to four, knocking off Chicago Fire FC, 2-1, Saturday night at Soldier Field. The Orange and Blue finish a stretch of five games in 15 days with a full 12 out of a possible 12 points to be gained from the team’s four league contests.
The Orange and Blue improve to 6-5-1 (19 points) to end Saturday in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Chicago Fire fall to 2-5-4 (10 points).
With the win, FC Cincinnati have won four consecutive MLS games, and four road games in a season, for the first time since entering MLS in 2019.
The Orange and Blue went up 1-0 in the 33rd minute as a result of a Chicago own goal.
Álvaro Barreal sent a long ball into the box intended for an oncoming Brandon Vazquez. As the ball took a bounce, Chicago captain Rafael Czichos attempted to head the cross back towards his goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, but instead headed the pass over his teammate and into his own net.
The own goal received was the sixth time in club history FC Cincinnati have benefited from an own goal, the second time this season.
Chicago mounted pressure and equalized in the 83rd minute off one of Chicago’s 14 corner kicks in the contest, with Jhon Durán’s header from Xherdan Shaqiri leveling the score.
But two minutes later, FC Cincinnati’s captain provided the game-winner. Brandon Vazquez put pressure on Gabriel Slonina playing out of the back for Chicago, and forced a turnover to Acosta. Acosta calmly weaved through oncoming Fire defenders and placed the go-ahead goal into the back of the net.
Acosta has been involved in a goal in each of the last five games (four goals, one assist). Acosta is the first player in FC Cincinnati history to record a goal contribution in five straight MLS matches.
The Orange and Blue return home to TQL Stadium next Saturday, May 21 to face the New England Revolution. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET and the game can be watched on Star64, streamed in-market at fccincinnati.com, out of market on ESPN+ and listened to on the radio on ESPN 1530.
FC CINCINNATI GAME REPORT
FC Cincinnati at Chicago Fire FC
Date: May 14, 2022
Competition: MLS Regular Season
Venue: Soldier Field
Kickoff: 8:08 p.m. ET
Weather: 71 degrees, clear
SCORING SUMMARY: 1-2-F
CHI – Jhon Durán (Xherdan Shaqiri) 83’
CIN – Own Goal – Rafael Czichos 33’, Luciano Acosta (unassisted) 85’
- FC Cincinnati improve to 3-2-2 all-time against Chicago Fire, the second club FCC hold a winning record against having played five times or more (CF Montréal: 3-2-1) … FCC is 3-1-0 in games in Chicago.
- FC Cincinnati have won four road games this season, a new club-record for most in one season … the club’s six wins this season matches 2019 for the most wins in one season.
- FCC’s four game win streak is the longest in club history, and it is the longest active win streak in MLS … the longest streak this season in MLS is five (Philadelphia Union – 3/5 – 4/9).
- The own goal received for FC Cincinnati scored by Chicago’s Rafael Czichos was the sixth own goal received for FCC since joining MLS, the second this season (Alistair Johnston; 4/2/22 vs MTL – 20’) … entering Saturday the Orange and Blue were 1-4-0 when receiving an own goal, the only win coming at the MLS is Back Tournament (Florian Valot; 7/22/20 vs RBNY).
- Prior to conceding, FC Cincinnati had not allowed a goal in 287 minutes, which is the third-longest shutout streak in club history.
- Luciano Acosta has been involved in a goal in each of the last five games (four goals, one assist). Acosta is the first player in FC Cincinnati history to record a goal contribution in five straight MLS matches.
- Acosta’s 12 career goals for FCC is tied with Brandon Vazquez for the most in club history.
CIN: Roman Celentano, John Nelson, Ian Murphy, Nick Hagglund, Alvas Powell, Junior Moreno, Obinna Nwobodo, Álvaro Barreal (Tyler Blackett 77’), Luciano Acosta (C) (Haris Medunjanin 89’), Dominique Badji (Arquimides Ordonez 66’), Brandon Vazquez
Substitutes not used: Kenneth Vermeer, Harrison Robledo, Zico Bailey, Nick Markanich, Ray Gaddis, Geoff Cameron
Head Coach: Pat Noonan
CHI: Gabriel Slonina, Boris Sekulic, Jonathan Bornstein (Jhon Espinoza 82’), Rafael Czichos (C), Wyatt Omsberg, Chris Mueller (Jairo Torres 73’), Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabian Herbers (Brian Gutierrez 60’), Gaston Gimenez, Federico Navarro, Chinonso Offor (Jhon Durán 60’)
Substitutes not used: Chris Brady, Mauricio Pineda, Carlos Teran, Andre Reynolds II, Stanislav Ivanov
Head Coach: Ezra Hendrickson
STATS SUMMARY: CHI/CIN
Shots: 18 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 3
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 14 / 2
Fouls: 13 / 13
Offside: 2 / 2
Possession: 60.2 / 39.8
CIN – Junior Moreno (Yellow Card) 7′
CIN – Luciano Acosta (Yellow Card) 20′
Referee: Tori Penso
Ast. Referees: Kevin Kinger, Brooke Mayo
Fourth Official: Calin Radosav
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez
AVAR: Thomas Supple
FC Cincinnati Head Coach Pat Noonan
On the win
“I’m certainly very pleased with the result. I was really pleased with what these guys did on the defensive side of the ball. We did not make it easy on ourselves with just being cleaner in moments to get us moving forward, we missed out on some easy passes. And that would have really allowed us to push the numbers forward. But we couldn’t get those moments right, and credit to Chicago. Chicago was better with the ball, and they were throwing a lot at us. I can’t say enough about the group as far as how we defended the box, how we defended set pieces. I kept saying to the guys on the bench, ‘we’re conceding too many set pieces,’ and that’s probably the best set piece delivery we’ve seen this year with [Xherdan] Shaqiri. I thought we defended those outstanding, but when you take on, I don’t know what it was,  corners, you’re bound to get picked off on one of them, and they found the goal there. But our defensive mentality is excellent, we’re still not sharp enough with the ball. And that’s what’s having us grind out these results in ways where we can’t really create enough late in games to be able to play higher up the field and look for look for some late goals.
“But yet again, we get a late one through Lucho [Acosta] because of just the mentality after the goal to press high, to force a turnover and then convert. Certainly I was happy with the response from us conceding.”
On finding a fourth consecutive win
“That just speaks to the guys, you can hear in the other room. It’s a mentality. And they’re figuring out how to do this as a group with a lot of different players contributing to us being able to win some games. And in this stretch, it’s been necessary for us to understand how to defend longer stretches when our quality with the ball isn’t there. And we figured out in a lot of ways how to do that, to not allow teams to score goals, and we found ways to convert on limited chances. But that’s the character of the group right now is understanding how to win when things aren’t going our way. The challenge moving forward is how to be better with the ball so that it doesn’t have to look like this every time you win a game on the road.”
On if he would have been pleased if the scoreline ended 1-1
“Certainly. I mean, again, we’re protecting the one goal lead and protecting it a little too deep at times and too conservative at times. But, when [Chicago] get the goal, now at that point, they have the momentum and they had the run of play, certainly a lot of set pieces. You’re looking to find a way to get out of there with a point, and as you said we weren’t at our best and that’s okay, getting the point on the road is always a good thing. But again, to be able to find a moment to get a goal and walk off the field with three points is a testament to just the mindset of the group.”
On if he was surprised in the response following the New England game
“No, it’s not because what we said post New England was, we’ve been in this position, unfortunately before, in our first game of the year [at Austin FC]. Our response against D.C. in that second game was very good, the result wasn’t there, but we saw how this group is capable of responding to a poor performance and certainly a very poor scoreline. So it’s not a surprise that we were able to get past that game and just focus on making sure that we had a better mentality and in certain ways were able to execute to be able to get a result and that was the case tonight.”
FC Cincinnati’s 2022 schedule can be viewed, HERE. Fans can build their custom 3 Match Flex Plan today. Pick any three matches and save on single match ticket pricing with no fees at checkout. Fans can pick the same seats for three games or select different options around TQL Stadium.
Single match tickets to any of FC Cincinnati’s remaining home games are also available now, head to fccincinnati.com/tickets or call 513-977-KICK, that’s 513-977-5425, to learn more.
FC Cincinnati are playing their fourth season of MLS competition in 2022, and their second playing at TQL Stadium. For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. Additionally, fans are encouraged to download the team’s official mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for instant access to mobile tickets, team content and match notifications.
COURTESY FC CINCINNATI COMMUNICATIONS