D.C. United ended a glorious three-game win streak (four if you count U.S. Open Cup) as FC Cincinnati remains undefeated this season at TQL Stadium, winning 2-1 over the visitors.
The first half was a deadlock, with D.C. United testing its mettle against a Cincinnati team that sits at second place in the Eastern Conference. By and large, the Black-and-Red held its own with a well-organized defense and a respectable number of opportunities. By the end of the match, D.C. would tally more shots on goal than the host.
Immediately noticeable were the absences of Andy Najar and Steve Birnbaum (Russell Canouse wore the captain’s armband tonight). Apparently, Najar had an issue with his calf in the warmup, while Birnbaum took a knock to the hip in last week’s match against Charlotte FC.
Although scoreless, the first half featured a flurry of chances from both sides that kept supporters on the edge of their seats. Christian Benteke, Taxi Fountas, Lewis O’Brien, and Ruan all made a convincing case for D.C. United. While Lucho Acosta, Sergio Santos, and Matt Miazga sought goals for Cincinnati. To add to the tension, Victor Pálsson clashed with Matt Miazga in the 14′, requiring treatment for a knock to the head.
The second half began with drama as Christian Benteke also took a hard knock to the head in the 53′. Thankfully, the striker remained in the match.
Unfortunately, the Black-and-Red’s good fortune wouldn’t last. Ruan conceded a costly corner in the 58′. Former D.C. United player Lucho Acosta capitalized on Ruan’s gift, and opened the scoring for the Orange and Blue with an Olimpico in the 59′.
Motivated by Acosta’s success and a rocking TQL Stadium, the Orange and Blue would double the lead in the 73′. Álvaro Barreal slotted in a ball from Lucho Acosta from the top of the box to stun Tyler Miller.
When all hope seemed dashed for the Black-and-Red, Taxi Fountas came through with a late match goal to keep D.C. in the match. Capitalizing on a set piece situation, Fountas snuck one past Roman Celentano at the back post in the 90′
When referee Guido Gonzales Jr called for review of Fountas goal, the precious minutes that ticked by stymied momentum and seemed to cost D.C. another chance on goal – and possibly a point. Timewasting on the part of Cincinnati didn’t help matters. Keeper Roman Celentano was booked in the 90′ +7′ for holding up the match.
Wayne Rooney saw the positives in D.C.’s performance, saying, “I thought once we were at about 20-25 minutes we we started playing what we trained and tactically how we felt the space would be and making two, three passes. Then we knew we would get space on either side of the midfield and take their forwards out of the game. And that’s what we were doing and it felt we were in in real control. We just couldn’t get the goal. So I think there’s a lot of positives.”
D.C. United will play against the New York Red Bulls on Tuesday for the U.S. Open Cup Round of 32, then return to the District to face Nashville SC in regular season play on May 13 at 7:30 pm ET.
MLS Regular Season – Game 11
FC Cincinnati: 2 Acosta 59′, Barreal 73′
D.C. United: 1 Fountas 90′
FC Cincinnati: Roman Celentano, Nick Hagglund, Matt Miazga, Yerson Mosquera, Alvas Powell (Ian Murphy 88′), Obinna Nwobodo, Junior Moreno (Yuya Kubo 88′), Álvaro Barreal (Raymon Gaddis 79′), Lucho Acosta (Malik Pinto 87′), Sergio Santos (Brenner 65′), Brandon Vazquez
D.C. United: Tyler Miller, Victor Pálasson, Derrick Williams, Donovan Pines, Ruan (Cristian Dájome 64′), Mateusz Klich (Ted Ku-DiPietro 88′), Russell Canouse (Chris Durkin 88′), Lewis O’Brien, Jacob Greene (Yamil Asad 88′), Taxi Fountas, Christian Benteke
FC Cincinnati: Acosta 39′, Mosquera 70′, Kubo 90′ + 5′, Brenner 90′ + 5′, Celentano 90′ + 7′
D.C. United: Greene 21′, Benteke 60′, O’Brien 90′ + 9′
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United