FC Cincinnati Claim Supporters' Shield in Dramatic 3-2 Win Over Toronto FC
After seven minutes of stoppage time, and a last-second attempt from Toronto FC sailed high of the net, the referee blew his whistle, and the trophy was theirs. For the first time in the club's history, FC Cincinnati have earned an MLS trophy. In Toronto, Ontario, Canada, The Orange and Blue had won the 2023 Supporters' Shield.
With a thrilling 3-2 win over Toronto FC, The Orange and Blue secured the Supporters' Shield with their 65th point (19-4-8) of the season, 1,830 days after earning their last trophy before joining MLS in 2019.
FC Cincinnati took an early lead, scoring twice in the first half on a brace from Brandon Vazquez. The hosts stormed back with two of their own, but it was the combination of FC Cincinnati's two DPs who earned the third, and ultimately winning, goal late in the second half.
The Orange and Blue will return to TQL Stadium to face New York Red Bulls Wednesday night, where after the match FC Cincinnati will celebrate with their supporters and lift the Shield for the first time.
**Boupendza Delivers (The Winner)
**With a dramatic second half brewing, Aaron Boupendza delivered the match-winning goal after being perfectly led on to by a pass from captain and MLS MVP front runner Luciano Acosta.
In the 72nd minute, Acosta won a ball in the final third and dribbled his way to just outside the box. A surging Boupendza made his run into the box and Acosta threaded the needle between Boupendza and the defender to give the striker a clear path to the net. Boupendza sent a curling shot past the keeper and into the side netting.
Boupendza has now scored five goals in his five MLS starts. Acosta earned his 13th assist on the season with his contribution.
**A Brace for Brandon
**Brandon Vazquez broke open the scoring for FC Cincinnati in the first half, scoring twice in seven minutes to give FCC the early lead. Both goals came from the American striker being in a solid position to capitalize on opportunities in front of the net.
Following a throw-in just feet from the corner kick flag in the 28th minute, Álvaro Barreal sent a cross to the middle of the box where Yerson Mosquera was able to get his body on the ball and direct it to Vazquez for the finish from the left of the penalty spot. Both Barreal and Mosquera were credited with assists.
The second goal came unassisted but was the product of dangerous play from Barreal and Boupendza. With the two playing a slick give-and-go to free up Boupendza, the Gabonese striker fired a shot on net that was saved by the TFC keeper. But Vazquez was in position and was able to tap in the finisher, giving FCC a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute.
The brace was seventh of Vazquez's career across all competitions. It was his fifth for FC Cincinnati and fourth in MLS play. The last time Vazquez earned a multi-goal game for The Orange and Blue was in Leagues Cup against Chivas Guadalajara on July 28th.
**The Hosts Respond
**However, FC Cincinnati could not see out the first half with the lead as unfortunate rebounds found the foot and head of Toronto's Jonathan Osorio in the 39th and 44th minute to even the score going into the half.
The first TFC goal came after Celentano was able to square up a blistering shot from Federico Bernardeschi in the 39th minute. The shot squibed away from Celentano after wearing it in the chest just far enough for a serging Osorio to tap in the goal uncontested.
Five minutes later the combo struck again. A shot from a narrow angle was saved by Celentano, but popped up in front of the net where Osorio headed the equalizer in from just feet off the goal line.
The second goal was created controversially, as contact up the field on Boupendza went uncalled, allowing for a play to be developed by TFC. Boupendza would require medical attention and was temporarily removed from play, but returned later.
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