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FC Cincinnati Steal the Crown Late in 1-1 Draw with Charlotte FC

March 30, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
FC Cincinnati News Release

Thanks to a late goal in stoppage time, FC Cincinnati left Charlotte FC and their home supporters stunned as The Orange and Blue turned what looked to be a clear loss on the road into a draw. Aaron Boupendza gave FCC the goal it needed to earn the draw, finishing on a night that needed its stars to persevere.

In a game that felt more like a joust at times, FC Cincinnati and Charlotte FC traded blows for the opening half-hour of the match. With direct, long passing defining the play, both sides saw opportunities to score early but solid defending and a little bit of miraculous goalkeeping kept both clubs off the scoreboard and on their horses. Eleven first half shots represented glancing blows with both sides running full steam ahead of each other for the first 45 minutes of play.

The first half delivered much of the same for The Orange and Blue. For the fifth time in six MLS matches, FCC took its opponent to the halftime break with a nil-nil score and entered the half in a draw in all six. It's also the third time in as many years, when Charlotte FC entered MLS, that FCC was held off the score sheet in the first half at Bank of America Stadium.

The first lance came though quickly in the second as a penalty kick call came for Charlotte FC on a foul near the edge of the box on Yuya Kubo. After a long review the call stood and Djibril Diani stepped up and gave the Carolina side a 1-0 lead in the 60th minute.

FC Cincinnati though would not be denied and pushed through the deficit. The equalizing strike would not come until the 90+3 minute when Boupendza put home the rebound on a chance created by some clever passing from Dado Valenzuela and Sergio Santos, both late subs, to give The Orange and Blue a lift.

With limited time in the match, FCC pushed forward for a second goal to steal a victory but were unable to find that final push and emerged with a point on the road. Defensive heroics from Obinna Nwobodo in the final minutes helped secure the draw as his tactical foul halted all momentum and gave FCC the time to set up their stout defense.

With the draw, FCC continued their MLS best record to 3-0-3, good enough for 12 points and remain atop the Supporters' Shield standings (though results from the evening are still coming in). The draw also continued to add to FC Cincinnati's road dominance, making The Orange and Blue undefeated in road matches this season.

The Orange and Blue return to TQL Stadium next Saturday, April 6 for another matchup with a club from the New York area - this time welcoming the New York Red Bulls making their return to Cincinnati after falling to FCC in the first round of the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. FCC will hit the road next for a trip north of the border, visiting La Belle Province to take on CF Montréal on April 13.

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