It is back to the drawing board for FC Cincinnati and interim coach Yoann Damet, who look to rebound from the worst defeat of their inaugural season Saturday when they host the New York Red Bulls.
No one was expecting big things from FC Cincinnati (3-2-8) following its jump to Major League Soccer from the USL, but Damet instantly raised hopes in his first match in charge following the firing of Alan Koch with a 2-1 victory over Montreal on May 11. That new-found optimism, though, was quickly tempered back to reality following a 5-1 mauling by Orlando City on Sunday.
“We are in a tough place,” Damet told the club’s official website Tuesday while looking ahead to this contest. “We know it. The win against Montreal was a good thing, but we knew we were still in a tough place. I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction on the field today and in the coming days.
“We sometimes have to go through some obstacles and we have to keep working and moving forward.”
FCC allowed five unanswered goals following Darren Mattocks’ strike in the 24th minute. The MLS newcomers have not recorded a clean sheet in nine matches since a 2-0 victory at New England on March 24 and been outscored 18-4 while going 1-1-7 in that span.
One of those seven defeats was a 1-0 road loss to the Red Bulls on April 27 in which FC Cincinnati had one shot on target while conceding only two. Connor Lade’s goal in the 38th minute, however, separated the sides.
New York (5-3-5) is unbeaten in three matches following a 2-2 home draw versus Vancouver on Wednesday night. An own goal by Whitecaps defender Andy Rose gave the Red Bulls a 2-1 lead in the 55th minute, but VAR awarded a penalty to Vancouver following a handball six minutes later. Keeper Luis Robles preserved the draw with a diving save in the fifth minute of stoppage time on a shot by Lucas Venuto.
“At least we got a point, right,” a frustrated Robles said while recognizing coach Chris Armas made seven changes to the side that beat Atlanta 1-0 on Sunday. “It’s really disappointing if we’re being honest, against a team that traveled a very long way to play midweek. We had an opportunity to win all three points and we wasted it.”
The Supporters Shield winners from last year, the Red Bulls have yet to find a match-to-match consistency this term. They have wins over reigning MLS Cup champions Atlanta United and the Los Angeles Galaxy and gone 4-1-1 in their last six matches, but Armas’ team has shown only flashes of dominance.
“We’re not there yet. We’re 13 games in, we’re a work in progress,” Robles added. “I’m confident we will make improvements and will be better.”
(Justin Hoyte photo courtesy FC Cincinnati official Twitter account)
(Brian White photo courtesy New York Red Bulls official Twitter account)