Pfffft, that was a bit easy. You should make things more challenging and play with no keeper.
Cincinnati Progress to CONCACAF Semi-Final
After a stalemate 0-0 draw in the first leg of FC Cincinnati’s CONCACAF Quarter-Final with Vancouver Whitecaps, Cincy have beaten the Canadian side 2-0 to see them through to the final four.
In one of the most memorable moments in FC Cincinnati’s short history, Leonardo Bertone’s winning goal has seen his side through to a historic CONCACAF semi-final spot. After a lacklustre first leg, which saw very limited action, leg two, held at Vancouver's BC Place, was a much improved spectacle.
Cincinnati boss Paul King had admitted after the first leg that his side was not at their best in the opening tie and was looking for an improved performance this time around.
“Simply put, we were not good enough last week, nowhere near good enough and we were lucky that Vancouver weren't necessarily at their best either. We can’t bank on that same luck this time. We need to create a lot more chances, and make sure we take them, whilst remaining solid at the back.” commented King before the days game.
Requesting an improved performance, King certainly got one. Ending the game with 17 shots on goal and limiting Vancouver to just two. But it took awhile for the games opener.
With an hour gone, and the tie still locked at 0-0, David Cooper came on to replace German winger, Julian Gressel. Having played in six games in three weeks, the effects were clear on the German, and Cooper, who finished third in last seasons MLS Rookie of the Year, came on looking to make an impact. It didn’t take long for that impact to be made.
Just five minutes after entering the game, a Greg Garza corner was played into the area. Zac MacMath, Vancouver's goalkeeper, left his line to punch it clear, however, Cooper rose highest and met the ball first, guiding it into the empty net. 1-0.
Things looked to only get better for Cincinnati as Joe Aribo, who recently returned from 6 weeks on the sideline, had the ball in the net for the second time. However, it was ruled out as Aribo had been in an offside position as the freekick was played in.
But it didn’t take long for that second. Leonardo Bertone, who has already scored two freekicks this season. Placed the ball down and drilled a shot hard, hoping to beat the Vancouver wall, however it cannoned back to the Swiss midfielder. With one touch, Bertone moved the ball to the right before swinging his foot seeing the ball fly into the top right hand corner.
The Cincinnati bench were delirious, with King running down the sideline towards to the away fans punching the air in delight. Quickly settling down, King saw his side hold out for the final ten minutes, seeing his side into their first CONCACAF Semi-Final.
“Incredible. I am delighted. Everyone had us down as lucky to get San Francisco in the round of 16 and said we had no chance here. But we always had belief. It is something this side prides itself on. Nobody had faith in us last season. Look at what we did. Nobody has faith in us in this competition but now we are into the Semis. I think I may have got a bit carried away after Leonardo’s (Bertone) goal, but can you blame me. I love this team and I am so proud of the boys. But now, due to the ridiculous schedules we have in the MLS, we need to focus again. It's a long trip back to Ohio and then we have Dallas in less than 48 hours.” said Paul King following the game.
King is clearly unhappy about the scheduling, something he has mentioned numerous times before, most famously following Cincy’s 2-2 draw with Chicago Fire last season. It will be a quick turnaround for him and his team as they are expected to land in Ohio in the early hours of Wednesday morning, before facing FC Dallas, who sit in 3rd in the Western Conference, on Thursday evening. They then travel to Minnesota on Saturday for their fourth game in seven days.
Cincinnati will be keeping an eye out on the CF Pachuca vs New York Red Bulls game on Thursday night, as the winner of that game will be their Semi-Final opponents.
Scott:Samura has impressed early on, he seems to of been a steal of a pick so far!
Justice: A little bit tougher this time around!