CINCINNATI, OH – As it was the case in the quarterfinals against Charleston, the New York Red Bulls II were on the attack, right from kickoff. Relentlessly pressing hard early and often, putting FC Cincinnati’s defenders right on their heels.
Their effort led to a tightly contested 1-0 victory in the semi-final round of the USL Playoffs.
NYRBII beat FC Cincinnati, head to third consecutive conference final
The effort paid off as Jose Aguinaga took a touch in the midfield and started a break, passing it off to Amando Moreno who found some space between defenders and let loose a blistering shot that found the back of the net to give New York the lead in the 12th minute.
The match took a somewhat chippy affair as both teams traded hard fouls on both ends of the pitch, but it was the home side that was feeling the pressure to perform in front of their ardent supporters. The frustration reached a fever pitch as Fernando Adi received a yellow card from referee Timothy Ford.
The second half almost stared in the same fashion as the first, but then thanks in part to a change of the defensive shape by FC Cincinnati’s head coach Alan Koch, the hosts began to push back, nearly equalizing the match when the ball found the feet of Fernando Adi, but New York goalkeeper Evan Louro was up to the task.
Both the New York Red Bulls II and their supporters had to endure a nervy finish where FC Cincinnati pushed for the equalizer but the tremendous defensive efforts of Hassan Nadam and Evan Louro sealed the win and punched a ticket to the Eastern Conference final for the fourth straight season, ending an impressive winning streak for FC Cincinnati who hasn’t lost at home in nearly five months.
With their historic and record-breaking season coming to a disappointingly bitter end, FC Cincinnati will be playing in Major League Soccer next season.
Man of the Match:
Hassan Ndam – Baked up his earlier statement of being a better defender by silencing Fernando Adi and coming up huge on some impressive stops to help his team to survive and advance to the Eastern Final.
New York Red Bulls II face the winner of Bethlehem Steel and Lousiville City FC next week. Should Bethlehem Steel win, the match will be played at MSU Soccer Park in Montclair NJ.