MLS

Signature FC Cincinnati Persistence Leads to a Positive Road Result, But Offensive Frustrations Leave a Continued Topic for Focus

FC Cincinnati Announce Roster for 2023 Preseason

March 31, 2024 – Major League Soccer (MLS)
FC Cincinnati News Release

Common wisdom in MLS suggests that wins at home and draws on the road are the keys to success in league play. Given the variables presented, the challenges of playing on the road are great, possibly greater than in any other league. Thus, earning a point, regardless of the opponent, is a positive outcome.

But as FCC head coach Pat Noonan has said, some draws feel like wins, and others feel like losses. Saturday’s in Charlotte, a 1-1 draw in Bank of America Stadium where a 90+2 minute goal from Aaron Boupendza gave FCC the equalizer, somehow felt like both and neither at the same time.

After a slow start, FCC grew into the game and looked like the superior side for the end of the first half and most of the second half but went down in the 60th minute due to what Noonan called an “unnecessary challenge,” resulting in a penalty kick that gave CLTFC a 1-0 lead deep into the second half.

So, The Orange and Blue found themselves in a unique yet all-too-familiar situation. FCC was the better side and had created high-quality chances to score, but they couldn’t find their way into the lead with an early finish. The frustration brought by this early-season trend isn’t new, but the specifics were that for the first time in MLS play, FCC was playing a deficit. All other situations like that had resulted in nil-nil draws or protecting a narrow lead. For the first time in 2024 league play, FCC had to fight back to earn a point.

“The guys kept going,” Noonan praised his team postgame. “I liked the way we found the equalizer late… (it was) a good push from the guys to find the late goal.”

“You know that Cincinnati’s never out of the game,” wingback newcomer DeAndre Yedlin said after the match, highlighting the perseverance the club has shown not only since he’s been a member but also the reputation the team has earned over the last couple of years. “That’s what this team has. Playing against this team last year and the year before… it’s annoying to play against, but it’s nice to play with because everybody’s honest and just keeps going together.”

It was a battle to get to that point, and one that substitutes played a major role in achieving. A clutch tackle in the box from substitute Bret Halsey started the breakout from the FCC defensive zone that allowed fellow substitute Dado Valenzuela to bring the ball up and use his creativity to find a hard-running and fresh-legged Sergio Santos with a…

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