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A Controversial Late FC Cincinnati Game-Winner at TQL Stadium

FC Cincinnati Celebrates Yerson Mosquera's Goal on November 25, 2023

The game was scoreless for 90 minutes and almost all the normal stoppage time of the second half. However, a controversial late FC Cincinnati game-winner scored by Yerson Mosquera resulted in the reigning Supporters’ Shield champions advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.

FC Cincinnati Game-Winner Gives Club First-Ever Eastern Conference Finals Appearance

Philadelphia Union Was Wasteful With Possession

The Philadelphia Union had a pretty good game. However, when they had their chances, they did not take advantage of it. Here are some examples of that:

  • Nathan Harriel’s shot from close range was just off-target in the 25-minute.
  • Mikael Uhre’s right-footed shot from the center of the box was sky-high.

There were other examples including Julián Carranza getting a fantastic chance to score in the 48-minute, but his shot was also off-target. When a team has 16 shots, but only four on target, it shows the team has quality. However, it also shows that the Union had every chance to win the game against FC Cincinnati, despite playing on the road.

Defense and Goalkeeping Were Solid for FC Cincinnati

The big save for Roman Celentano came in the 86-minute. With the game still tied, Celentano stepped up big when his team needed it. If that goal went in, FC Cincinnati very well loses that game. Celentano made four saves overall and he also had to be focused as the Union had 16 shot overall.

Another big save was in the 67-minute, where Aaron Boupenza shot was stopped by Celentano.

The Controversial Game-Winning Goal

The game-winning goal, which came from Yerson Mosquera, looked like a well-worked goal from the surface. Arias sets up the play beautifully as his cross into the box finds Ian Murphy, who heads the ball to Mosquera for the goal.

The controversy is when Santago Arias is about to cross the ball, that Mosquera was offside. From the angle seen above, the goal should have been called off. However, maybe the play was closer than everyone thought and Mosquera was onside. It will be a talking point for the next few days as MLS fans and writers hopefully get a better idea on whether the goal was onside or offside.

There are two things to note though, one, is that there should have been a review of the goal by VAR to see if it stood. Also, based on the video shown, the Union players did not seem to be aware that the goal might have been offside. Either way, it does not matter as Cincinnati will go their first-ever MLS Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

Game Overview

The Union played a fantastic game. They struggled to start the game, but found their groove and started and had many chances to win the game. However, against a team who won the Supporters’ Shield on the road, proved too much for Philadelphia.

There is another play that should be looked at. It was when Damion Lowe of the Union might have fouled Boupendza early in the game inside the box. That play should have also been viewed by VAR, saying that, it did not seem as obvious as the late game-winner scored by Mosquera.

As for the Union, they were in good form entering into this game, as their last loss was against the New York Red Bulls on September 3. They were undefeated in their last ten games, but came up short in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. The team had success in the last few years, but really only have one trophy to show for it, the 2020 Supporters’ Shield trophy. The Union will feel though that they can contend for the MLS Cup trophy next year with the 2024 MLS season.

As for FC Cincinnati, after having a terrible first three seasons in MLS, are playing like a team that can win an MLS Cup. They will now face the Columbus Crew SC, who in 2020, lifted the MLS Cup trophy for the second time in club history. These two Ohio rivals nicknamed “Hell is Real” derby will play each other once again with everything on the line.

Andre Blake, coming off that stunning win over Canada with Jamaica, made some big saves for Philadelphia against Cincinnati, unfortunately, this time it was not enough against the reigning Supporters’ Shield champions.

What Players Had to Say After the Game

This is what Lucian Acosta had to say about the player who scored the game-winning goal, Mosquera (source: Carter Chapley of FC Cincinnati):

“I gave him some motivation. Before the game, I talked to him,” FC Cincinnati captain Luciano Acosta said of Mosquera. “I told him that if he didn’t have a yellow card, he would contribute, maybe in the goals.”

This is what the Union head coach, Pat Noonan, said about the loss and trying to get composure (source: Carter Chapley of FC Cincinnati):

“I think decision-making can be better. That’s part of the composure that I talk about,” Noonan said. “Managing the game and not trying to do too much. I think there were stretches where we tried to do too much.

Games Coming up for FC Cincinnati

READ MORE: Analysis: FC Cincinnati Wins Supporters’ Shield At BMO Field

FC Cincinnati will now host their Ohio rivals, Columbus Crew SC, who, on the road, eliminated Orlando City SC in extra time by a scoreline of 2-0. The game is set to take place at TQL Stadium at 6:00 PM ET on December 2.


Photo Credit: Antonia Geiger of Last Word on Soccer on November 25, 2023.


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