CINCINNATI — It was a drab night in the Queen City, and not just because of the cold and wet weather.
Two goals just before halftime and a second-half penalty gave Real Salt Lake a 3-0 win over FC Cincinnati on a damp Friday night at Nippert Stadium. The loss sees FC Cincinnati (2-4-2, 8 points) slip to 1-2-1 at home.
The result is particularly disappointing for the hosts since Real Salt Lake’s form heading into the match was poor. The visitors won once in their previous five matches and had just one victory on the road. But an Albert Rusnák brace sparked RSL (3-4-1, 10 points), which left with a shutout and three much-needed points.
Cincinnati lacks end product
However, the opening 15 minutes of play looked as if Salt Lake’s run of poor form might continue. The Orange and Blue — who wore special navy-colored kits on the evening as part of a league-wide collaboration between MLS, adidas and Parley for the Oceans — came out of the gates firing on all cylinders.
Cincinnati logged seven shots and nine corners before halftime and held an advantage in possession for the entire half for the first time this season. But their recent struggles to convert the chances they create plagued them once again Friday.
The challenge to finish definitely wasn’t passing by the FC Cincinnati coaching staff.
“If we capitalize on chances, we obviously get something out of the game tonight,” a visibly frustrated Alan Koch shared during the postmatch presser. “But at the end of the day, we didn’t. That’s a problem. It’s becoming a bit of challenge now as we’ve gone through the last few games.”
And just as was the case in their previous few matches, they were made to pay for that challenge.
Despite Cincinnati’s dominance, Rusnák opened the scoring against the run of play in the 42nd minute. Spencer Richey’s initial save from a Corey Baird effort fell to Rusnák, and his effort was enough to best Richey. Just four minutes later, the visitors would double their lead in first-half injury time. A goalmouth scramble saw the Cincinnati defense make a pair of stops on the goal line. But RSL’s Sam Johnson punished their failure to clear their lines, his shot finding its way into the back of the net.
“Incredibly frustrating, incredibly disappointing evening for our group.” Koch said, “Our concentration definitely hurt us during the course of the game. An incredibly disappointing night.”