For the first time in their history, the fans in Cincinnati had the chance to witness one MLS event in their town. Furthermore, they celebrated after a huge win over one of the best team in the league, the Portland Timbers, 3-0.
When the MLS officials announced on May 29th, 2018, that the city is going to get a soccer franchise, nobody expected to see such euphoria on the first match at home.
The fans were already familiar with soccer as their FC Cincinnati competed in USL Championship, but what we saw yesterday could only be described as wild.
“Amazing, amazing crowd,” said Darren Mattocks. “This type of atmosphere, I look to play in front of every week. The fans were definitely the 12th man out there.”
More than 32 thousand spectators painted the Nippert Stadium in orange and blue, making FC Cincinnati’s home opener memorable.
The guests from Oregon simply didn’t stand a chance in those kinds of circumstances. A loss was inevitable.
Kendall Watson opened the show after some 15 minutes. Leonardo Bertone took a free kick and sent the ball on the edge of a six-yard box, where Watson stormed in and netted the first ever home goal for the FC Cincinnati.
His celebration was one of the best so far seen in the MLS. The Costa Rican defender laid on the ground and started running in the circle, reminding everyone of Homer Simpson.
His action had nothing to do with the popular cartoon character, but with his son who often does it at home.
“Last night, my son told me if you score, you have to do this. I said ‘ok, it kinda looks funny, but I will do it just for you,'” Watson told the reporter during the on-court interview.
After that score, the guests took over the initiative and started dictating their tempo of the court. They had several huge chances.
The first one was by Bill Tuiloma who smashed the ball from some 25 yards but Spencer Richey made an excellent save and diverted the ball into the corner.
The 26-year old goalkeeper made another stunning reaction when he stopped Asprilla’s shot from some three yards after that same corner.
Those were the critical moments for the home team who somehow managed to survive and head for the break with the lead.
Portland’s dominance was stopped, and it seems that the 15-minute rest didn’t suit them very well. They came out for the second half a bit deflated, and the home team used that in the best possible way.
Cincinnati scored two goals in the span of two minutes, knocking out the Timbers who couldn’t recover after that.
Roland Lamah wanted to shoot from the edge of the box, but his effort was blocked. The ball came to Allan Cruz who was well marked by Zarek Valentin, but another Costa Rican found a beautiful solution and sent the ball into the net from a nearby with the back of his heel.
The guests didn’t know what hit them two minutes after this goal when FC Cincinnati sealed their fate with another score.
Mattocks cross from the right side of the box fell perfectly on Mathieu Deplagne’s foot, and the 27-year old French easily placed the ball into the net from the heart of the goalkeeper area.
Portland’s bad day was made even worse when Larrys Mabiala received a second yellow card and had to go out 20 minutes before the end. Luckily for them, the home team didn’t score any more goals, and the guests avoided a complete catastrophe.
Cincinnati’s coach Alan Koch was very proud after the game, saying that the fans and the city deserved the win, and that he feels satisfied because his team provided that for them.
“I’m glad we could reward the city and our fans in a game that was very special to this community, with a great performance and a huge three points. The fans are the reason why we are where we are today,” Koch told the reporters.
His crew will play their next game in Foxborough against the New England Revolution in six days time. Meanwhile, Portland travels to LA to face Galaxy on the 31st of March.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.