FC Cincinnati beat Toronto FC, claim Supporters' Shield
Posted on: 01 Oct, 2023 at 06:24 AM
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Boupendza's second-half goal clinched both the MLS Supporters' Shield and FC Cincinnati's 3-2 victory over host Toronto FC on Saturday.
The victory ensured Cincinnati the top position in the league standings and home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup playoffs. The Supporters' Shield is FC Cincinnati's first trophy in the club's five MLS seasons.
Despite the large gap between Cincinnati (19-4-8, 65 points) and last-place Toronto (4-17-10, 22 points) in the standings, FC Cincinnati gave back an early two-goal lead and needed Boupendza's 72nd-minute strike to secure the win.
Luciano Acosta set up the play with a tremendous run into the box to get Boupendza the ball. The forward then made a great effort of his own in putting a left-footed touch on the ball for the bad-angle conversion.
Since joining FC Cincinnati during the July transfer window, Boupendza has five goals in eight regular-season matches.
Cincinnati's Brandon Vazquez and Toronto's Jonathan Osorio each scored twice during a wild 16-minute period in the first half. It was the first brace of the season for either player.
Cincinnati held 59.7 percent of the possession in the first half, and the constant pressure threatened to turn the match into a rout after Vazquez scored in the 28th and 35th minutes.
However, a misplay from goalkeeper Roman Celentano allowed Toronto FC onto the scoreboard in the 39th minute. Celentano mishandled a Federico Bernardeschi shot, and Osorio was in position to bury the loose ball.
Toronto FC's equalizer came five minutes later, when Bernardeschi sent another shot toward the net from an awkward angle. Celentano got a hand on the shot, but Osorio was again in front to head the ball over the line.
FC Cincinnati had 25 shots and 13 shots on target, their season highs.
Toronto lost two starters to apparent injury. DeAndre Kerr left the match in the ninth minute due to a back injury, while Latif Blessing left in the 60th minute under concussion protocol.
--Field Level Media