D.C. United needed to sign off this season with a display of confidence. Unfortunately, today’s 2-5 loss to Cincinnati wasn’t the strong finish the Black-and-Red was looking for.
FC Cincinnati came out of the gate swinging today, putting up a strong attack and scoring two goals within the first ten minutes of play to set D.C. United back on its heels.
D.C. United alum and supporter favorite, Luciano “Lucho” Acosta, found the back of the net first for Cincinnati, floating the ball past David Ochoa in the 6’. Brandon Vázquez provided the assist with a headed pass to Lucho. Acosta is known for his flashy play and didn’t disappoint. It’s just hard to remember sometimes that we shouldn’t be cheering for him.
Brenner followed up with Cincinnati’s second goal of the match in the 8’, capitalizing on a slick through ball from Acosta. By the 24’, Brenner made it a brace, bringing Cincinnati’s lead to three. Once again, Brandon Vázquez provided the assist.
The Black-and-Red needed any boost to bounce back and turn the tables on Cincinnati. Sofiane Djeffal found Ravel Morrison with the assist, allowing Morrison to infuse some life into the Black-and-Red, scoring from outside the box in the 26’ and reducing the deficit for the home team.
Morrison’s bump to the scoreline was short-lived as Cincinnati found their fourth (yes, fourth) goal of the match as Brenner found himself a hat trick, scoring from the center of the box in the 37’.
The Black-and-Red headed into halftime down by three as the club sought to honor play-by-play announcer Dave Johnson and homegrown goalkeeper Bill Hamid on the field during a special presentation. The moment was bittersweet as D.C. United turns the page on a definitive era of soccer in the District.
17-year-old Kristian Fletcher, making his first MLS start, justified his place in Wayne Rooney’s XI in the 46’. Fletcher put his laces to a pass from Tony Alfaro and took a daring shot without hesitation from a distance to bring the Black-and-Red’s tally up to two.
Fletcher said, “From three days before the game, I was always telling myself, ‘I’m going to score. I’m gonna score.’ From there, I kinda have spoken in the reality, but it’s the first of many, and I’ll keep working hard to get more.”
Assessing Fletcher’s performance, Wayne Rooney said, “I think he’s done okay. I think he could have done better in the game. Of course, he lost a couple of balls, but the players who get remembered are the players who have the big moments and score the goals when they’re having the best game. Always the most exciting players are normally the ones who make the most mistakes and then score one or two goals which a lot of the time we need for the game. So, I think that’s what player Fletcher is going to be.”
The Black-and-Red’s elation over young Fletcher’s goal would be short-lived. Cincinnati’s Brandon Vázquez and Brenner switched roles in the 53’, and Vázquez slotted in the shot for Cincinnati to make it a huge five goals for the visitors. D.C. United’s hopes of staging a second-half comeback narrowed as the minutes ticked by.
D.C. United wouldn’t find another chance in the second half, and Cincinnati clinched their spot in the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time in club history.
D.C. United now heads into the off season, hoping to rebuild for 2023 under the guidance of Wayne Rooney. Rooney said, “As I said when I came in, I’m committed to this club.”
- Time to say goodbye to our local broadcast crew. Today was a day of goodbyes for D.C. United. While we’re thrilled to end the 2022 season, we are certainly not happy to bid farewell to our wonderful local broadcast crew, Dave Johnson, Devon McTavish, Claudia Pagán, Moises Linares, and Luciano Emilio.
- Kristian Fletcher is ready for more. Fletcher is ready for more and has already set high goals for himself and said, “For next season, I want to have at least five MLS goals. At least five MLS starts.”
- Wayne Rooney’s big task. Head coach Wayne Rooney has a huge task ahead of him in the off season. He said, “There need to be a lot of changes for us...I’m a big believer in sometimes the hardest things to do are simple things. I think that’s what costs us, whether it’s a simple pass, whether it’s communication, or talking to your teammates... But it’s the simple things which normally let you down in games...I think what I’ve seen is the mentality and the character of the club, it’s got to improve.”
Watch the highlights from D.C. United vs. FC Cincinnati
MLS Regular Season - Game 34
D.C. United: 2 Morrison 26’, Fletcher 46’
FC Cincinnati: 5 Acosta 6’, Brenner (8’, 24’, 37’), Vázquez 53’
D.C. United:(4-4-2) David Ochoa, Steve Birnbaum, Tony Alfaro, Matai Akinmboni (Kimarni Smith 76’), Chris Odoi-Atsem (Drew Skundrich 45’), Sofiane Djeffal, Chris Durkin, Ted Ku-DiPietro (Nigel Robertha 60’), Ravel Morrison (Jackson Hopkins 76’), Kristian Fletcher (Ola Kamara 60’), Christian Benteke
FC Cincinnati: (3-4-1-2) Roman Celentano, Geoff Cameron, Matt Miazga, Nick Hagglund (Ian Murphy 70’), Júnior Moreno (Yuya Kubo 45’), Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta, Álvaro Barreal (Rónaldo Matarrita 85’), Alvas Powell, Brenner, Brandon Vázquez (Dominique Badji 85’)
D.C. United: Birnbaum 45’ +2’
FC Cincinnati: Moreno 30’, Barreal 61’