Yuya Kubo connects for FC Cincinnati’s first goal. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
ORLANDO – The Red Bulls were eliminated from the MLS Is Back Tournament as they dropped a frustrating and disappointing 2-0 decision to FC Cincinnati at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Wednesday night.
Yuya Kubo scored late in the first half for FC Cincy, which also was aided by a Red Bulls’ own goal in the Group E match.
The Red Bulls finished the competition at 1-2-0 and three points as they failed to finish among the top two teams in the group match. The top two teams in each of the six groups will qualify for the knockout rounds as will the top four third-place finishers. FC Cincy (2-1-0, 6 points) booked a spot in the Round of 16.
The Red Bulls’ Starting XI had six midfielders and no natural forwards in the lineup that featured a 4-4-2 formation. Kaku, Cristian Caesseres, Jr., Sean Davis and Florian Valot comprised the midfield with Daniel Royer and Omid Fernandez manning the forward line, even though they were midfielders.
That was translated into a lack of serious scoring opportunities.
On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati was opportunistic and fortunate.
Yuya Kubo lifted FC Cincy into the lead in the 43rd minute when Amro Tarek placed a horrendous clearance on the foot of the Cincy attack, who fired home an 18-yard shot into the lower left corner past goalkeeper David Jensen. It was Kubo’s second goal this season.
In the 52nd minute, the Red Bulls dodged a bullet there as Adrien Regattin, surrounded by four defenders, just missed wide left from inside the box. If he had scored, it might have been game over the way Cincy was packing in its defense.
Four minutes later, the bullet got the Red Bulls on a Cincy corner that Valot, the goal-scoring hero of the team’s lone win of the tournament (1-0 win over Atlanta in its opener), headed in a Haris Medunjanin corner kick into the net off the gloves of a flailing Jensen for the Ohio squad’s second goal and a solid two-goal advantage.
Given Cincy’s ability to keep every player behind the ball and the Red Bulls’ ineptitude offensively, the game was effectively over at that point.
The Red Bulls pushed up and played with urgency over the final 15 minutes, but it was too little and too late.
From the statistics are for losers dept., the Red Bulls outshot Cincy, 15-3, but the most important stat of the game was on the scoreboard.