Orlando, Florida — It was the second match for both clubs and both needed results. FC Cincinnati was coming off a horrible 4-0 loss to the Columbus Crew. Meanwhile, Atlanta United fell 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls in their first match.
For the first 10 minutes, both teams got off to a slow start. These 9 a.m. starts in Orlando haven’t worked out for MLS. It’s showing in the goal department.
In the 11th minute is where the first real action occurred, as Atlanta United midfielder Jake Mulraney earned the first yellow card of the match for a vicious tackle. The game remained sloppy and both teams lacked their scoring touch. You could tell Atlanta United were missing Josep Martinez and Julian Gressel. Martinez is out with an ACL injury while Gressel left in the offseason.
The first shot of the match came in the 19th minute. However, Atlanta United’s Ezequiel Barco saw his shot go wide. In the 26th minute, more drama ensued as Jake Mulraney received a second yellow card for a grab and a trip. Automatically, referee Victor Rivas showed a red card and Atlanta United went down to 10 men.
Even with Atlanta playing with 10 men, the play still seemed sluggish. Fans could certainly see a lack of offense. Around the 28th minute, FC Cincinnati started to pick up the pace and attempted to use their man advantage. They were getting chances but nothing was coming out of it.
HAVE A HIT
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 16, 2020
Switching around tactics for Atlanta
In the 34th minute, due to the red card, Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer opted to switch his forward Adam Jahn for Edgar Castillo. In extra time of the first half, Atlanta United was given a free-kick and it was literally the first shot on target. However, the shot was saved by FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton.
Castillo had another brilliant chance but once again was snubbed by Tyton. What followed was pure drama. Referee Rivas called a penalty for a trip in the box and as Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez was getting ready to kick the officiating team decided to take a closer look. VAR proved the play was offside and the penalty was voided.
That was the end of the first half that. Fans on Twitter were wondering what was going on, as both teams proved they weren’t playing their best. As the second half began you had the feeling this one would end goalless with the lack of offense.
Frankie Amaya becomes Cincinnati’s hero
In 75th minute, FC Cincinnati got a breakthrough when Frankie Amaya got the ball and took a great shot that curled the top corner and into the back of the net to give FC Cincinnati the 1-0 lead. Atlanta was now on the verge of a huge upset. And, to that point, they hadn’t scored a goal in 220 minutes.
Extra time was a generous 10 minutes, as Atlanta United were given a final chance to tie things up. It only got worse for de Boer’s group, as VAR review showed another offense. Meanwhile, J.J. Williams, who had come on as a substitute in the 83rd minute, was shown a red card and was incensed.
Atlanta was down to nine men with roughly five minutes to go and that pretty much summed up the game. They lacked discipline and just couldn’t get anything out of the game. FC Cincinnati took the 1-0 victory, which puts Atlanta United in dead last in Group E with one match to go.
This will most likely go down as the biggest win so far in FC Cincinnati history.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 16, 2020