FC Cincinnati defeats Nashville in a new style

FC Cincinnati had mixed paths heading into the final two games before the team’s month-long exit from the Major League Soccer regular season. Manager Pat Noonan challenged his side to seal the club’s lead at the top of the league table rather than hold out with any progression intact.

Cincinnati met Noonan’s challenge. After a late, from behind, midweek win against the New York Red Bulls, FC Cincinnati came from behind again in a 3-1 win over Nashville on Saturday at TQL Stadium.

After Walker Zimmerman scored on goalkeeping, Luciano Acosta scored on the 42ndAbbreviation II minutes and Santiago Arias scored the game-winning goal against a Nashville team that had been reduced to nine players.

Late in the second overtime period, FC Cincinnati freshman Aaron Popendza made it 3-1 to mark his club debut.

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The goal was Acosta’s 12thy of the campaign, in addition to scoring the best goals of his career. Arias’ goal was his second in his league career.

The eventual winner of the match came after Tyler Washington and Vava Picoult picked up their second yellow card of the match on the 69thy and 70y minutes, respectively.

FC Cincinnati had a scare during the seven minutes of extra time in the second half as a penalty was awarded to Nashville but ultimately overruled on a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review.

The win was tense but it counted every breath. At a 15-2-6 record, FC Cincinnati will lead by eight points going into the League Cup break with 11 regular season games to play.

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Cincinnati improved to 10-0-1 at TQL Stadium in 2023.

The MLS will suspend its regular season from Sunday to August 20 for the first edition of the soccer World Cup-style league cup tournament, featuring MLS clubs and teams from Mexico’s top tier, Liga MX.

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Welcome to Cincinnati.com’s live coverage of FC Cincinnati vs. Nashville SC in a showdown between the top three in the Eastern Conference at TQL Stadium. Refresh this page throughout the match for live updates and analysis, as well as a post-match recap. For additional analysis, follow Enquirer FC Cincinnati Beat reporter Pat Brennan on Twitter (@PBrennanENQ).

Popenda makes his debut for FC Sensi (75′)

The new guy makes his FC Cincinnati and MLS debut. He presented himself two minutes later when he landed a shot on the tire from about 25 yards. Nashville goaltender Joe Willis was forced to punt the ball away because he couldn’t catch it.

Santiago Arias puts Sensei ahead (74′)

Arias, who seemed to be skating on thin ice with referee Rami Toushan, escaped picking up a second yellow card long enough to be in position for a clever short-range shot from a corner. This goal is his third in all competitions and his second in the MLS season.

Nashville down to nine men (70′)

Yellow cards for Tyler Washington and Fava Picoult were the second of the night for both players. And Washington left the game in the 69th minute. Picault was gone a minute later.

half the time

It’s easy to overstate the impact of officiating in a given football match, but it’s impossible to ignore the impact referees had tonight. Both teams left the stadium for the break angry, and also tied 1-1.

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This one is important for Luciano Acosta (42′)

FC Cincinnati was awarded a penalty for Nashville’s handball in the penalty area. Acosta stepped up and didn’t make a mistake. He’s converted five of his six “kills” attempts this year, and he’s scored a career-best 12 goals this year.

Nashville with the editor (31′)

The left wing positioned itself towards FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano, who made a rare mistake and kicked the ball. Walker Zimmermann was right there on the scoreline with a 1-0 goal.

FCC target waived (10′)

It doesn’t look like FC Cincinnati has been on the wrong end of many managerial decisions this season but it is tonight. Luciano Acosta kicked the ball from Nashville’s center back Walker Zimmerman and fired on goal for a simple 1-0 score. But the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) made a field-marking review and it was determined that Acosta fouled Zimmermann in his tackle to take the ball.

kicking weights in the east (1′)

Eastern teams No. 1 and 3 enter tonight’s competition underway.

Departure at 8:32 p.m

Both teams are back on the field and tonight’s kickoff is set for 8:32 p.m., more than an hour after the scheduled start time.

Weather delay to start the night

FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC were about 28 minutes into the start of their important game in the Eastern Conference when they, along with fans sitting in the lower bowl of TQL Stadium, were asked to seek shelter due to lightning in the area. The Enquirer will provide updates on the situation.

Pre-game: Cincinnati players, Nashville

  • FC Cincinnati starting XI: Roman Celentano (goalkeeper), Nick Haglund, Santiago Arias, Yerson Mosquera, Matt Miazga, Alvaro Barrial, Obinna Nobudu, Luciano Acosta (team captain), Junior Moreno, Sergio Santos, Brandon Vasquez.
  • Cincinnati seat: Alec Kahn (goalkeeper), Alvas Powell, Marco Angulo, Aaron Popendza, Malek Pinto, Ray Gaddis, Quemi Ordonez, Ian Murphy, Brett Halsey.
  • Nashville SC starting eleven: Joe Willis (GK), Lucas McNaughton, Josh Bauer, Taylor Washington, Walker Zimmerman (Captain), Dax McCarthy, Randall Leal, Hani Mukhtar, Alex Moyle, Brian Anunga, Fava Picoult.
  • Nashville seat: Ethan Zubak, Til Banbury, Jacob Shuffleburg, Lawrence Wacke, Jan Grigos, Luke Hackinson, Elliott Panico, Sean Davis.
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