Games between FC Cincinnati and CF Montreal haven’t been short of thrills in their shared recent history, but results for Cincinnati have become hard to come by.
That was the case again on Saturday at Stade Saputo in Montreal as the last high score shootout between the clubs saw FC Cincinnati fall 4-3.
The match was the third time in the last four meetings between the clubs in which at least seven goals have been scored, and it was also FC Cincinnati’s second consecutive loss in which points were attainable.
Consequently, FC Cincinnati enters the next break of games for a FIFA international window with a 6-7-1 record and in command of sixth place out of seven in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference playoffs. .
The club will then play on June 18 at the Philadelphia Union.
“It’s too bad we can’t find a way to leave the field with at least one point,” FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan said afterwards. “With the chances we’ve created and some of the moments we’ve wasted where we’ve had a few good looks to end games. We have to find a way to get a result, and we’re really hurting ourselves in key game moments. .”
The game started off in ideal fashion for Cincinnati with Junior Moreno scoring his first goal for the club from an Alvaro Barreal corner kick and was headed in goal by a Brandon Vazquez header.
But Montreal scored three unanswered goals and led 3-1 less than a minute into the second half.
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Cincinnati’s lead only lasted 10 minutes before an unmarked Joel Waterman scored from a Montreal corner.
Then came a calamitous end to the first half in which Romell Quioto snatched the ball away from FCC goalkeeper Roman Celentano as he attempted to gain possession with his hands.
When the ball escaped, Quioto had a simple tap-in to give Montreal a lead in the 45th minute.
FC Cincinnati were then caught off guard less than 30 seconds into the second half when Kai Kamara fed the ball past Mathieu Choinière, who rippled the net from Celentano’s net for a 3-1 lead.
“Lack of focus and certainly execution in some ways,” Noonan said when asked about Montreal’s second and third goals. “We left them behind just before the break. We still had three guys to deal with a scramble that allows them to just put the ball in the goal.
“Start of half-time – something we tackled even at half-time, making sure we started strong and found a way to get the next goal in the game. We conceded within a minute, so I wish I had a better answer now for those times when we concede and it’s too easy to score.”
Goals were a big drag on Cincinnati’s efforts on the night, but as has become the custom when Cincinnati and Montreal meet, the game was far from decided with 44 minutes to go.
Eight minutes after Montreal jumped on FCC to take a 3-1 lead, Alvaro Barreal cut the deficit to one when he kicked wide from about 12 yards,
Barreal, whose goal was his second of the MLS season and his fifth in all competitions, ran on a pass from Luciano Acosta, whose assist was his sixth of the year and his 11th goal contribution.
Seven minutes after Barreal’s goal, however, Quioto slipped a penalty past Celentano and into the net.
The penalty was awarded for a handball in the Cincinnati penalty area by center back Nick Hagglund. Handball was not initially called but was confirmed after a video review of the play.
Noonan called handball “unfortunate”.
Moreno scored for 4-3 just four minutes later from a pass from Brenner Souza da Silva, who played his first game since May 4.
For Moreno, a defensive midfielder, the two-goal performance was the first of his MLS career.
“I was happy to score. I’m not that happy because we’re losing the game and we can’t help winning the (game),” Moreno said, “but happy to make those two scores for the team. .”
But that was the end of FC Cincinnati’s score. More close chances arose in the final period of the contest, but Noonan’s side couldn’t summon an equaliser.
FC Cincinnati’s 6-7-1 record, while good enough for a playoff berth heading into the middle of the season, seemed to puzzle Noonan when asked to react to the club’s results. so far this season.
“I think the record is fair based on performance and some areas where we just aren’t executing enough to be more consistent with the results,” Noonan said. “We certainly had a great defensive streak that allowed us to run, but we lost that in the last two games. But when you look at how we missed some points, I would say there’s frustration in the feel like we could be in a better place than we are.”