NYCFC were on the road Saturday night as they fell to FC Cincinnati. An early strike from Aaron Boupendza put the hosts ahead. They would double their lead in the 52nd minute through Júnior Moreno. The hosts would add a third through Nick Hagglund in the 59th minute. That would be the end of the scoring on the night and hand Cincinnati a home win against the Boys in Blue
Cincinnati FC 3 NYCFC 0
City Boys were clad in their secondary kit for the trip to Ohio, with Nick Cushing making several changes to the team that faced Minnesota United last time out. New signings Julián Fernández, Andreas Perea, and Birk Risa were handed starts as part of 3-4-1-2 system.
Cincinnati started brightly, and that saw them take the lead in the sixth minute after an overload down the left saw Bret Halsey get off a shot that Luis Barraza did well to save – Aaron Boupendza pouncing on the rebound to head home.
Recovering well from that early setback, NYCFC almost fashioned an instant response. An inswinging delivery from Fernández was met with a volley by Perea that flashed just wide of the right-hand post.
As the contest progressed NYCFC began to grow into the game and settled on possession. Mitja Ilenič was enjoying time and space down the right-hand side, but his crosses were met with well-timed interventions from Cincinnati’s defenders.
Chances were few and far between for both sides as the battle for the ball continued. In the 38th minute, Boupendza tried to test Barraza from a distance, but his effort whistled past the post.
At the other end, a freekick for NYCFC saw the Boys in Blue utilize a training ground routine that almost allowed Risa to head home at the back post, but for a vital interception at the last moment.
From the resulting corner, a cross landed on the thigh of Thiago Martins, but he could not adjust his body in time to steer the ball toward goal. The momentum was building and on the stroke of half-time Maxi Moralez found space to cross on the left and Perea guided a header just wide of the right post.
The second period started with an early goal for the hosts. A breakaway down the left from Luciano Acosta saw him pull it back for Júnior Moreno to convert from close range.
NYCFC were quick to try and find a goal in response, and Fernández tried his best with a curling effort from distance. A deflection saw it loop up and safely into the arms of the goalkeeper.
His teammate Monsef Bakrar went even close barely two minutes later after Ilenič’s cross deflected into his path. Only a smothering save from close range could deny Bakrar his first goal in MLS.
That would be the Algerian’s last involvement of the evening. He would be replaced by Talles Magno as part of a double substitution that saw Andres Jasson enter the game in place of Ilenič in the 57th minute.
Despite that pressure, it would be Cincinnati that secured the game’s next goal. A short corner involving Lucho Acosta allowed him to cross the ball into the box and Nick Hagglund headed home.
A flowing counterattack and some silky skill from Andres Jasson down the right finished with him chipping the ball to the back post for Keaton Parks to get a shot on target.
Cushing would turn to his bench again in the 66th minute and call upon Richy Ledezma and Matías Pellegrini for Moralez and Fernández.
One of Cushing’s changes would arguably create NYCFC’s best chance of the second half as Jasson found Keaton Parks free in the box – his header brilliantly tipped over by Roman Celentano.
There was also an NYCFC debut for Alonso Martínez as he replaced Braian Cufré in the 84th minute. As the clock ticked toward the end of regulation time, Sergio Santos was denied a goal by a well-timed block from Thiago Martins.
That would be the last act of note and confirm a 3-0 defeat for NYCFC on the road.