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FC Cincy readies for first home playoff match!


FC Cincinnati (FCC) is ready to host their first playoff match against the New York Red Bulls (NYRB). The new playoff structure has been criticized by many. But the wild card play-in games are history, and now the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs begins!


How FCC and NYRB got to the playoffs


Cincinnati won the Supporter’s Shield with the best season record in MLS. So they grabbed the #1 seed. 


The Red Bulls needed a win on Decision Day, the last day of the regular season. Then Wednesday night the club defeated Charlotte FC, 5-2, to nab the #8 seed and the right to battle FCC. Here was the PK to send NYRB to the playoffs.


Regular Season/US Open Cup games – FCC vs NYRB

2023 saw Cincy and Red Bulls battle three times. Cincinnati won the first match, May 23rd, during the US Open Cup competition. A 42’ goal by Kubo of FCC was matched by Vanzeir in the added time of the first 90, only to have Cincinnati win on PK’s 5-3.


Cincinnati won in New York on July 12th, 2-1. Two PK’s, one for each team, had the game level into added time. But during the 2nd added minute, Cincinnati’s Nwobodo struck a low spinning ball that just got under NY’s goalie for the late winner.


Red Bulls got some revenge in Cincinnati on a night that could have practically ended NY’s season. The 2-1 win in Ohio was a good precursor to how NY will probably play FCC. Score early like they did in the first 20 minutes then hold on to win.


Who’s Hot? FCC vs NYRB

Red Bulls are en fuego right now. Winners of four straight, they have never lost in Cincinnati. Elias Manoel with a hat trick Wednesday is playing at a high level.


Luciano Acosta, the Cincinnati forward, is highly regarded as the unanimous choice for MLS MVP. 


John Tolkin for Red Bulls is the player who catapulted the squad into the playoffs with his PK in added time on Decision Day. But every Red Bulls fan will tell you he is a special, homegrown player from New Jersey. A strong defender, he found his time with the US Men’s National Team in January to be special along with his hair. 

Red Bulls

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Roman Celentano, the Cincinnati keeper, resigned to stay with the club after his collegiate time at Indiana University. Third in MLS for clean sheets with 12, the young net minder is part of the core group of players FCC needs to continue their success.

Jacob Clary, Cincy Soccer Talk

Who’s Not?


Aaron Boupendza missed the season ending match as coach Pat Noonan suspended him for arriving late after the International Duty. Aaron has been training with the club and has owned his mistake.


Cincinnati defense! The vaunted defense have given up six goals in their last four games, and they have not won their last two games of the season. With Red Bulls offense on fire, this will be a key to the three game series.

Stats – Averages for games and season totals

Cincinnati           vs              NY

49             Possession%       46

13.2               Shots               13.7

5                     SOG                4.3

2.9                Blocks              3.7

417.2            Passes              358.1

80.5            Passing%          71.9

52.3           Duels won         60.4

69                  Points             43

57                Goals For          36

39             Goals Against     39


News and Notes (Courtesy of MLS)

Referee for the match:Rubiel Vazquez


FCC began their 2023 season with 13 straight home wins in all competitions, the longest streak ever to begin an MLS season. But in their last 11, they have won just four.


Red Bulls netted a club record five goals in their win over Charlotte in the Wild Card round. This was their first playoff win after four straight postseason losses.


Luciano Acosta led all MLS with 31 goal contributions (17 goals and 14 assists) with 21 of those coming at TQL Stadium!


New York owns the head-to-head history. Their record is 6-5-3. Cincinnati defeated the Red Bulls last year to end their season in the first round of the playoffs. 


The home team has NOT won a matchup between the two clubs! How long? Nine meetings!



I’m guessing that Cincinnnati will survive, 2-1. If New York scores first, they just might play ten men back and hold on. Remember, there will be NO extra time for draws. Penalty kicks will determine a winner!


And the weird playoff format for this round only will produce angst for clubs and fans!


Share your predictions with us!


Match Preview from MLS!


Here’s the match preview from MLS.


Follow me on X @Petrorock44 for more MLS and Cleveland Soccer!

I am a math teacher in SW Ohio. Born and raised in NE Ohio, I am married with four sons who keep the flame burning for all things Cleveland. I cover soccer, betting, football and anything that focuses on the human side of sports.

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