HARRISON, New Jersey − FC Cincinnati didn’t have any business advancing from its Round of 16 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match but it defied injuries, tired legs and the busiest schedule the club’s ever had to progress in the tournament.
After playing the New York Red Bulls to a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes on Tuesday at Red Bull Arena, FC Cincinnati progressed to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals by winning on penalty kicks. FCC’s penalty takers converted all five of their kicks while goalkeeper Alec Kann, who made seven saves from open play, stopped Dante Vanzeir, New York’s first penalty-taker.
That save proved decisive, and left back Alvaro Barreal ended the shootout when he finessed home his penalty.
“All I can say is I’m beyond proud of this group to come out on top under the circumstances on a night when you could tell the legs weren’t there and we were up against it,” FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan said. “Just found a way. It was really impressive, and the credit is solely with them (the players).”
FC Cincinnati used a starting lineup with eight changes from Saturday’s win against archrival Columbus Crew to lead New York Red Bulls, 1-0, for 48-plus minutes at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday. Yuya Kubo scored in the 42nd minute for the lead despite the Red Bulls’ dominance.
New York had about twice as much possession as Cincinnati and much of it came in the Red Bulls’ attacking third of the field. Once they got close to FCC’s goal, the Red Bulls fired off more than 30 shots, out-shooting the Orange and Blue by a roughly seven-to-one margin.
“RBNY’s” dominant play finally paid off late on when Vanzeir scored in the 92nd minute, which pushed the match into 30 minutes of extra time.
Over the two 15-minute extra-time periods, the Red Bulls still dominated possession and with their chances but couldn’t find a winner.
In dragging the game into a penalty shootout, FC Cincinnati afforded itself a kind of fresh start.
Luciano Acosta, Junior Moreno, Dominique Badji, Yerson Mosquera and Barreal all made their kicks to seal the club’s progression to the quarterfinals, which FC Cincinnati will host at TQL Stadium on June 6 or June 7.
Cincinnati will host the winner of Wednesday’s Round of 16 match between lower-tier Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and Columbus Crew.
- Round 1: Luciano Acosta converts; Dante Vanzeir saved by Alec Kann. Cincinnati leads.
- Round 2: Junior Moreno converts; Elias Manoel converts. Cincinnati leads.
- Round 3: Dominique Badji converts; Wikelman Carmona scores. Cincinnati leads.
- Round 4: Yerson Moquera converts; Cristian Cásseres Jr. converts. Cincinnati leads.
- Round 5: Alvaro Barreal converts, FC Cincinnati wins.
To penalties (end of extra time)
It’s a lottery and no one really, truly likes settling an important soccer match this way. But penalty kicks is how this Round of 16 match will be decided. Luciano Acosta forced a save in the second extra-time period. Dante Vanzeir nearly it a winner in the 128th minute, but there wasn’t a decisive goal to be found by either team.
Halftime of extra time (105′)
Outside of a tackle by Joey Akpunonu inside his own penalty area that drew shouts for a penalty kick, FC Cincinnati managed to stay the course in the first extra time period, although the Red Bulls are dominating possession. New York feels more likely to find a winner in the final 15 minutes upcoming. Again, if the score stays tied at one, this match goes down in the record book as a draw and penalty kicks will decides who advances.
Headed to extra time
FC Cincinnati lead for 48-plus minutes and into the closing moments of regular time, but the Red Bulls managed to pull even. Ninety minutes wasn’t enough so the clubs will now play two 15-minute periods of extra time. If they aren’t separated after that, the match will be decided by a penalty shootout.
And for the uninitiated, this is not how the MLS regular-season works. Matches end in draws after 90 minutes until we get to the postseason.
The closers couldn’t close (90+)
Dante Vanzeir, who was recently reinstated by New York Red Bulls after a lengthy suspension, pulled New York level. We have 1-1 late-on in Harrison. Extra-time is looming.
The closers are on (80′)
FC Cincinnati’s gradually introduced Dominique Badji, Alvaro Barreal, Ray Gaddis and, in a few moments, Junior Moreno to help protect the 1-0 lead. RBNY has dominated long stretches of the half but still can’t find a goal.
Yuya Kubo’s fifth-career goal for FC Cincinnati has his club halfway to a quarterfinal-round match at TQL Stadium on June 6. New York isn’t going to go quietly at home, though.
Kubo’s first of 2023 (42′)
A strong movement keyed by Luciano Acosta in the middle of the field, and continued by “Lucho” on the edge of the New York penalty area, ended with a cool Yuya Kubo finish for 1-0. It was Kubo’s first goal since the 6-0 rout of San Jose Earthquakes in MLS regular-season play Sept. 10.
Scoreless stalemate so far (25′)
FC Cincinnati doesn’t have going forward and certainly doesn’t have an on-target shot. RBNY’s ripped a few long-range chances but those haven’t hit the target either. FCC looks like a group that hasn’t played much together.
Underway at RBA (1′)
It’s a beautiful night for soccer in Harrison as we get underway at 7:32 p.m.
- FC Cincinnati starting XI: Alec Kann (GK), Santiago Arias, Ian Murphy, Yerson Mosquera, Nick Hagglund, Alvas Powell, Malik Pinto, Obinna Nwobodo, Marco Angulo, Luciano Acosta (captain), Yuya Kubo.
- Cincinnati bench: Joey Akpunonu, Dominique Badji, Matt Miazga, Ray Gaddis, Alvaro Barreal, Evan Louro (GK), Junior Moreno.
- New York Red Bulls XI: Ryan Meara (GK), Dylan Nealis, Hassan Ndam, Sean Nealis, John Tolkin, Peter Stroud, Cristian Cásseres Jr., Cameron Harper, Dru Yearwood, Dante Vanzeir, Tom Barlow.