Match Recap: FC Cincinnati 0 - New York Red Bulls 2


Saturday, May 25, 2019
Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati
FC Cincinnati (3-8-2) vs. New York Red Bulls (5-5-3)

I was already writing the recap in my head about a 0-0 draw that felt like a tipping point. FC Cincinnati showed so much promise in a first half full of chances created, but was at the same time rife with near misses. Where are you going? Where have you been? Alas, it was not to be as the Orange & Blue lost 2-0 to the visitors from New Jersey in the waning moments of an otherwise competitive match.

For 77 minutes, Cincinnati went toe-to-toe with New York's Red Bulls. The best chances belonged to Cincinnati. Most of the pressure was applied by Cincinnati. Then, in the 78', in almost the exact same square yard of Nippert turf just at the top of the 18-yard box furthest from the Bailey, where the inexplicable Garza-Richey pile-up led to Kansas City's lone goal on April 7, another uncharacteristic blunder. This time, the victim of Nippert's Bermuda Triangle was Mathieu Deplagne, potentially the least deserving scapegoat on the pitch.

Robles Saves...

No one realized it at the time, but Cincinnati's fate was sealed 72 minutes earlier, just six minutes into the contest, when Red Bulls' veteran Goalkeeper Luis Robles stepped off his line to kick a shot away from Fanendo Adi. A savvy throw-in by Deplagne set up a quick turn by Roland Lamah whose through ball right to Adi's foot looked to put FCC up early if not for the even savvier save by Robles. This theme continued throughout the game.

Oh my, Amaya!

Frankie Amaya is fast becoming a fan favorite in a city that loves hustle and is hungry for a star performer on the pitch. The young phenom continues to show real flashes of brilliance amidst moments of more than holding his own. Of all Cincinnati's midfielders, Amaya seems most comfortable and composed in a crowd with pinpoint passing, nimble challenges, and an uncanny knack for drawing fouls by confounding his opponents with impeccable footwork and body positioning.

Photo by JEREMY MILLER, Cincinnati Soccer Talk

Photo by JEREMY MILLER, Cincinnati Soccer Talk

He showed off some of that promise early in the match on Saturday, taking a pass from Victor Ulloa and dribbling between two Red Bulls defenders into an open space for a shot that took yet another miraculous save from Robles to deny Amaya’s first MLS goal. If you are reeling from these losses, looking for some hope, then watch the 4 second highlight of Amaya confidently carrying that ball past two defenders at the top of their own box, displaying the vision to find that open space in the defense, and immediately taking a screaming shot towards the upper left corner of goal. But, stop the highlight at 4.1 seconds, right before the ball gets to Robles.

And, Saves…

Amaya wasn't done yet, though. Neither was Adi. Unfortunately, neither was Robles. Six minutes before halftime, Frankie served up a target from a free kick to the head of Fanendo Adi. The header was already a good twelve inches behind Robles when he somehow reached back and slapped it over the goal.

Robles kicked, punched, and laid waste to every FCC shot on goal. The difference may have been a misstep from Mathieu Deplagne, but the game-changer was the Keeper in the Red Bulls' net, who earned a clean sheet standing on his head.

Give the Man a Break

It needs to be said that Mathieu Deplagne could not possibly be doing more for FC Cincinnati. In a season riddled with injuries, only he has played every single minute of all 14 matches, a full 180 minutes clear of the next player on the list, Team Captain Kendall Waston. He's played Left-, Right- and Center-Back as full-back and a winger. In 14 matches, he has 25 tackles and has yet to be booked for discipline. He's tied for second with two other players (Midfielders) for most shots at 13, 4 shots on goal (also tied for second on the team) and has one goal.

Cincinnati's most reliable player so far, Deplagne’s versatility has given the back line a level of consistency it could not have had otherwise. He has been wholly effective and mostly under-appreciated. It's unfortunate that it took a contrasting moment like this to point it out.

The Misstep

In the 78', Caleb Stanko (speaking of under-appreciated assets) took the ball away from the Red Bulls in Cincinnati's defensive midfield, sweeping it to Victor Ulloa, who tapped it along to Amaya. Amaya rolled free of the crowd and cut it to Deplagne. The ball got tied up between Deplagne’s feet as he was attempting to turn, and in the confusion, the Red Bulls' young Argentinian DP Kaku sprinted in, picked the ball off of Deplagne, and charged Spencer Richey. FCC's entire back line was caught in transition. Richey, one-on-one, challenged, but Kaku's shot rolled just out of reach into the back of the net.

Photo by KAREEM ELGAZZAR, Cincinnati Soccer Talk

Photo by KAREEM ELGAZZAR, Cincinnati Soccer Talk

Deplagne collapsed to his knees in anguish before Amaya jogged over to lift him back up. After 78 minutes of hard fought focus in a game where Cincinnati was running stride for stride with a top-of-the-table side, that one brief misstep brought harsh consequences.

Seven minutes later, Deplagne almost erased the error with an equalizer from 20 yards out that veered just left of the goal. Then, four minutes later, he saved an almost certain goal with a slide tackle that deflected a point-blank shot by Red Bulls' Brian White safely away from goal.

We’ve Seen this Movie Before

The nail in the coffin for FC Cincinnati came in the first minute of added time with a header by Omir Fernandez putting New York up 2-0.

In the end it was another in a string of increasingly frustrating goalless losses by the MLS expansion team, who now hold last place alone in the Eastern Conference with only 11 points through 14 games. The only MLS team with fewer points than Cincinnati heading into Week 15 is their Week 15 opponent, the Colorado Rapids, who are currently last in the West with 8 points. The Orange & Blue look to turn things around on June 1 in Denver.

FC Cincinnati Starting Lineup (4-3-3):
Spencer Richey (G), Alvas Powell (D), Justin Hoyte (D), Kendall Waston (D), Mathieu Deplagne (D), Victor Ulloa (M), Caleb Stanko (M), Frankie Amaya (M), Roland Lamah (M), Emmanuel Ledesma (M), Fanendo Adi (F) Substitutes: Kekuta Manneh 81’, Nazmi Albadawi 81’

New York Red Bulls Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Luis Robles (G), Tim Parker (D), Amro Tarek (D), Kemar Lawrence (D), Michael Murillo (D), Cristian Casseres Jr. (M), Sean Davis (M), Andreas Ivan (M), Alex Muyl (D), Marc Rzatkowski(M), Tom Barlow (F) Substitutes: Brian White 58’, Kaku 59’, Omir Fernandez 79’

New York Red Bulls Goals:
Kaku 78’
Omir Fernandez 91’

Steve Haldeman