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RECAP: Cincinnati Torch Red Bulls 3-0 to Take Game 1 of the Playoff First Round

photo by Matt Kremkau

by Anthony J. Merced

New York Red Bulls fall to FC Cincinnati 3-0 in game one of the best-of-three series against FC Cincinnati on Sunday night at TQL Stadium. First half goals from Alvaro Barreal and MLS MVP candidate Luciano Acosta proved to be enough to hold off New York and send them home in a must-win situation.

The game started with solid pressure from New York, creating chances and forcing Cincinnati into errors. An early chance fell to Luquinhas in the 12th minute as striker Tom Barlow sent a ball into the box but the Brazilian winger put the ball wide of net. Minutes later Frankie Amaya also produced a chance but it was saved by Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano.

The Supporters Shield winners notched the first goal in the 23rd minute when Junior Moreno passed the ball through to Alvaro Barreal. The midfielder, dribbled into the box, beating goalkeeper Carlos Coronel for the game’s opening goal. Later in the half, disaster struck for New York when Andres Reyes’ header back to Coronel lacked strength, forcing the goalkeeper out of the box to clear the ball. It fell to Acosta who rifled it from distance into the empty net to double the lead.

Red Bulls head coach Troy Lesesne made three changes at halftime, bringing on Cameron Harper, Peter Stroud and Dylan Nealis to spark life into the club. While New York did force the subject at times, Cincinnati was able to hold the team off and add an additional goal in the 89th minute to make the final score 3-0.

The Red Bulls will return home to Red Bull Arena next Saturday in a must-win situation. Another loss will see their 2023 campaign come to an end, adding yet another unsuccessful year to the club’s history. To their benefit, aggregate scoring will not be an issue as the scores will reset heading into the next game.

STARTING XI:

New York Red Bulls: Coronel; Duncan (86' Ngoma), Nealis (46' D. Nealis), Reyes, Tolkin, Fernandez(46' Harper), Amaya, Yearwood (46' Stroud), Luquinhas, Barlow (77' Carmona), Manoel

FC Cincinnati: Celentano; Mosquera, Miazga, Murphy, Gaddis, Nwobodo, Moreno (82' Kubo), Barreal, Acosta (90' Pinto), Vasquez (90' Santos), Badji (72' Boupendza)

SCORING SUMMARY:
23' (FC Cincinnati) Alvaro Barreal assisted by Junior Moreno
35' (FC Cincinnati) Luciano Acosta unassisted
89' (FC Cincinnati) Alvaro Barreal assisted by Luciano Acosta

DISCIPLINE:
33' (FC Cincinnati) Matt Miazga - YELLOW CARD
52' (FC Cincinnati) Alvaro Barreal - YELLOW CARD
74' (FC Cincinnati) Aaron Boupendza - YELLOW CARD
76' (New York Red Bulls) Elias Manoel - YELLOW CARD
90' (New York Red Bulls) Frankie Amaya - YELLOW CARD

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