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RECAP: Red Bulls Stay Alive! Trip Up FC Cincinnati, 2-1

Photo Credit: Matt Kremkau
By Garry Redman

CINCINNATI, OH - After a disappointing 1-0 loss at home at the hands of Chicago Fire FC, Troy Lesesne and his team are now on the brink of being eliminated from playoff competition. Something that this club has experienced only four times in their 27-year history.

They arrive at TQL Stadium, the home of the newly crowned Supporters Shield winners FC Cincinnati. After suffering three seasons where they finished as the worst team in the league, their climb to the top is one for the books as they capture the team’s first-ever trophy.

They hope to keep their very slim postseason chances alive until Saturday, when they return home to face Toronto FC. But first, they would have to do something they only did twice this season: Grab a victory on the road. And with FC Cincinnati losing only once at their home ground this season, getting a point, let alone a win, just became a tough challenge.

The Red Bulls had a chance to score on a corner kick eight minutes into the match. Frankie Amaya served a terrific ball into the box and found the feet of  Cameron Harper, but Harper pulled his shot to his right, blowing an opportunity to put his team in the lead early in the match.

Rather than feeling sorry for themselves for the early miss, Luquinhas dribbled deep into the Cincinnati defense just four minutes later, and he passed the ball to an onrushing Frankie Amaya. The first-round draft pick returned to haunt his former club by taking a shot from outside the box that found the back of the net.

All season long, the Red Bulls had problems scoring goals when needed. Not on this night. as they got another one in the 17th minute as John Tolkin took the ball deep in the corner and delivered a pin-point perfect pass over to Elias Manouel, and he did not miss from close range to double their lead, stunning the home supporters into silence.

A quick, strong start was just what the Red Bulls needed in the first half of the match. Still, with 45 minutes before the final whistle and FC Cincinnati’s starters coming off the bench in the likes of Luciano Acosta and Brandon Vazquez, the challenge is to keep those high-powered forwards under wraps defensively and walk out of the stadium with all three points. 

Speaking of Acosta, he replaced Marco Angulo and immediately made an impact. In a wild sequence, Aaron Boupendza took a shot that the New York defense blocked. Alvlas Powell picked up the rebound, but his shot screamed through the box untouched as the home supporters screamed in anguish. 

In probably one of the dramatic and definitive turn of events of the match in the 66th minute, on a break, Acosta’s shot was blocked by the arm of Andres Reyes, which was first disallowed by referee Chris Penso. And while his teammates were standing looking for answers, Elias Manoel sprinted down the other end of the field and curled his shot in the upper part of the net to give the Red Bulls a three-goal advantage as the home supporters exploded with rage.

However, after further review by VAR, it did indeed catch Reyes blocking Acosta’s shot with a handball in the box, negating the goal Manoel scored. Luciano Acosta scored the penalty shot to cut the Red Bulls’ lead to one shortly after that. 

Omir Fernandez entered the match in the 69th minute, but his stint was shortened by a brutal tackle by  Nick Hagglund, who somehow escaped a red card for his clumsy and dangerous challenge and was replaced by Cory Burke ten minutes later. FC Cincinnati was reduced to ten men when Alvas Powell’s late challenge on Peter Stroud earned him a second yellow card for his foul four minutes earlier, and thus, he was ejected from the match. 

There will be flashpoints whenever these two sides meet, as the matches are tense. And this was no different down the stretch as fouls, shoves, and objects flew from the stands from angry and disappointed supporters as the match ended, giving the Red Bulls their third road victory of the season and, more importantly, keeping their very slim playoff chances very much alive as they face FC Toronto at Red Bull Arena on Saturday. 

Starting Lineups:

FC Cincinnati: Alec Kann, Alvas Powell, Nick Hagglund (Brandon Vazquez, 81’), Yerson Mosquera, Matt Miazga (Ian Murphy, HT), Raymon Gaddis (Alvaro Barreal, 58’), Obina Nwobodo (Malik Pinto, HT), Yuya Kubo, Marco Angulo (Luciano Acosta, 58’), Aaron Boupendza, Dominique Badji

New York Red Bulls: Carlos Coronel, John Tolkin (Dylan Nealis, 69’), Sean Nealis, Andres Reyes, Kyle Duncan, Cam Harper (Peter Stroud, 69’), Daniel Edelman, Frankie Amaya, Luquinhas (Dru Yearwood, 86’), Elias Manoel (Omir Fernandez, 69’)(Cory Burke, 76’), Tom Barlow

Scoring Summary:
12’ - New York Red Bulls - Frankie Amaya, assisted by Luquinhas
17’ - New York Red Bulls - Elias Manoel, assisted by John Tolkin
68’ - FC Cincinnati - Luciano Acosta (converted penalty kick)

Disciplinary Summary:
27’ - FC Cincinnati - Raymond Gaddis - Yellow Card
49’ - FC Cincinnati - Alvas Powell - Yellow Card
53’ - New York Red Bulls - AndrĂ©s Reyes - Yellow Card
73’ - FC Cincinnati - Nick Hagglund - Yellow Card
82’ - FC Cincinnati - Malik Pinto - Yellow Card
90+8’ - FC Cincinnati - A. Barreal - Yellow Card
90+9’ - New York Red Bulls - Carlos Coronel - Yellow Card
90+10’ - New York Red Bulls - Kyle Duncan - Yellow Card
90+10 - FC Cincinnati Luciano - Acosta - Yellow Card


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