Pavel Bucha scores twice as FC Cincinnati edge D.C. United

League: MLS

Posted on: 04 Jul, 2024 at 06:13 AM

Credit: Hannah Foslien-USA TODAY Sports

Pavel Bucha scored the second and third goals of his first MLS season and FC Cincinnati kept pace in the Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield race with a 3-2 victory over D.C. United on Wednesday in Washington.

Kevin Kelsy added the fifth goal of his maiden campaign for Cincinnati (14-4-3, 45 points), which remained two points behind East and Shield leaders Inter Miami after the Herons won 2-1 at Charlotte on Wednesday.

After completing its seventh consecutive away win, Cincinnati will host Miami -- whose stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are away on international duty -- on Saturday.

Martin Rodriguez scored one goal and assisted the other for D.C. (4-10-8, 20 points), which has now gone 10 matches without a victory.

Substitute Gabriel Pirani scored his second goal to pull D.C. within one late in the second half, but the Black-and-Red scored twice and still lost for the third time this season.

Cincinnati signed Bucha in February more for his work on the defensive side of midfield, but the Czechia native showed a striker's polish with his two finishes to turn a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 lead.

On the first in the 39th minute, he intercepted a D.C. pass in the attacking half, played a pass to Luca Orellano to his right, continued his run to reach Orellano's return ball through the back line, and then neatly chipped his shot over the charging Tyler Miller.

In the 63rd minute, he perhaps confused D.C.'s defense by roaming further forward than expected. And when he took a square ball from Yamil Asad near the left corner of the area, he was afforded plenty of time to curl a low, right-footed strike around Miller's dive and inside the far right post.

Pirani pulled a goal back in the 69th minute. Martinez pressured Cincinnati into a giveaway in its own half, poking the loose ball directly to Pirani in the left side of the penalty area.

From there, the 22-year-old Brazilian brilliantly weaved around two Cincy defenders before dispatching his finish past ‘keeper Roman Celentano from close range.

Kelsy's goal came on a gaffe from Miller, who took a loose touch in his own box after receiving a backpass and then saw his clearance attempt deflected into his own net in the 10th minute.

Martinez pulled D.C. level in the 24th minute before Bucha got going 15 minutes later.

--Field Level Media