The match was the second and final meeting of the season between the two Eastern Conference foes. New York City FC claimed a lopsided 5-2 victory at Yankee Stadium on June 7.
But it was FCC who claimed the first lead of the second meeting courtesy of an Allan Cruz strike at the half-hour mark. That goal came just moments after NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson denied Emmanuel Ledesma from the penalty spot in the 24th-minute.
However just two minutes later, Valentin Castellanos leveled the score with the first of his two goals on the night. New York City then had a penalty of their own saved by Cincinnati goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń a few moments later.
The visitors struck once more before halftime with Héber capping an injury-time counterattack. Both NYCFC goalscorers added another goal in the second half, helping NYCFC to secure an easy victory over the Orange and Blue.
With the win, New York City FC (11-5-8, 41 points) leapfrogs D.C. United to go third in the Eastern Conference table. The victory also keeps them within touching distance of first-place Philadelphia and helps to the Pigeons further improve their chances of clinching a home playoff match.
Meanwhile, the FC Cincinnati (5-18-3) loss keeps them bottom of the table and extends the expansion side’s winless run to six matches.
New manager bounce over for Jans
After earning a 2-2 draw away to Columbus in his first match in charge, new FC Cincinnati head coach Ron Jans was understandably positive heading into his first match at Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. The Dutchman elected to select the same starting XI that earned him a point on his debut. And with his side jumping out to another early lead against NYCFC, his optimism seemed warranted.
But it wasn’t long before FCC’s old bad habits started rearing their heads again.
Aug 17, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; FC Cincinnati midfielder Allan Cruz (15) celebrates with teammate midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma (45) after scoring a goal against New York City FC in the first half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati have made a habit of conceding goals shortly after scoring and just before the end of a half in 2018. Tonight they did both. But when asked if that was a cultural problem within his squad, Jans was dismissive.
“I don’t think so,” shared Jans during the post-match press conference. “Mistakes were made by different players, so you cannot say that the team has all the same mental problems. It’s every player has his own personality.”
Midfielder Caleb Stanko, however, had a different opinion on FCC’s lapses in focus.
“I think we need to really buckle down on our concentration, especially after goals. That’s the best opportunity for our opponents to score and it seems like that’s happening too often.”
But even in spite of another heavy loss to NYCFC, positivity remained in the Cincinnati lockerroom.
“I see a lot of positive things,” Jans continued. “I think we could have a result, but it is no use saying it when you lose 1-4. There were moments in the game when we could’ve led more than one-nil, maybe when we could have scored on the penalty. But, that is only if. What I see is a group that is better than the 18 points we have now, and I am sure we will get results.”