FCD can’t keep up as FC Cincinnati win sixth straight road game

FC Dallas fell to a first home defeat under interim Head Coach Peter Luccin. A stubborn FC Cincinnati defense stood firm to shut out the Hoops, along with a fantastic individual performance by Luca Orellano.

“We had chances in the first half and then were more dangerous in the second half,” FC Dallas defender Nkosi Tafari said. “We are very naive in the way we play, we don’t have that killer instinct. It’s the small details that just pile up throughout the season.”

Coach Luccin indulged in some light rotation. The back five remained from Seattle. Liam Fraser welcomed Asier Illarramendi back as his midfield partner after a yellow card suspension.

Sebastian Lletget moved up to the ten spot, flanked by Bernard Kamungo and Eugene Ansah. Logan Farrington started up top in place of Petar Musa, who dropped to the bench.

Joining Jesus Ferreira (hamstring) was a sick Tsiki Ntsabeleng. Tarik Scott was called up from North Texas SC on a short term agreement, with Tomas Pondeca also on the bench.

FC Dallas were forced into a change in the 27th minute. The team passed the ball around the edge of the FC Cincinnati area looking for an opportunity. Liam Fraser pulled a shot, and seemed to pull his groin in the process. Nolan Norris stepped into the midfield and almost immediately fed Eugene Ansah with a fantastic outside-of-the-foot pass to release the Ghanaian down the left, but nothing came of it once he cut inside.

The first real chance of the game came in the 39th minute after Gerardo Valenzuela split the FC Dallas back line with a pass to see Luca Orellano through on goal. The Cincy wingback didn’t test Maarten Paes, sliding the ball wide.

Paul Arriola played in Bernie Kamungo as the clock hit 45. The ball gave Kamungo a run at goal under pressure. The Tanzanian-born forward tried to turn out of trouble, but lost control of the ball before a weak back-heeled attempt that rolled harmlessly wide to a defender.

Orellano hit the crossbar in stoppage time, but it barely took the FCC-loanee a minute to get FCC on the board in the second half. A move that cut through the FC Dallas lineup across the entire field ended with Orellano picking up the ball close to the right touchline. After cutting inside and keeping distance to Illarra, Orellando smashed a left-footed effort beyond Paes.

Peter Luccin made a double change in the 54th minute, bringing in Petar Musa and Tarik Scott for Bernard Kamungo and Eugene Ansah. The move pushed Logan Farrington to a right wing role with Musa as the high nine.

Roman Celentano was finally forced to work after the hour mark, parrying away a Sebastian Lletget free kick from a tight angle.

Cincy held their defensive shape well, keeping Dallas outside the box. FCD tried working in behind the Cincinnati wingbacks with long diagonal balls.

The post denied FC Dallas an equalizer in the 68th minute. Breaking up field following an Alvas Powell chance that had been cleared away by Sebastien Ibeagha. Petar Musa knocked on the long ball for Sebastian Lletget to run on to. The former USMNT midfielder cut inside, with Tarik Scott supporting on the left. Lletget saw a gap open from outside the area, curling the ball off the outside of the post.

Dallas started to get into better positions, though still not challenging in the box. Petar Musa took down a cross beyond the front post, holding it up similar to his assist for Logan Farrington against Minnesota United. The Croatian spread the ball out to Illarra just beyond the D, to sting the Celentano’s hand with a low driven shot.

The Burn was immediately spared some embarrassment as Kevin Kelsy shot into an empty net before seeing the linesman’s flag. Paes played a short pass to Tafari on the edge of the Dallas box. Tafari tried to play the ball away, with Lucho Acosta redirecting it to Kelsy in an offside position.

The pair combined shortly after the water break with Acosta – who had been relatively quiet – doing some reigning MLS MVP things to turn Tafari, Norris, and Farfan inside out before feeding the ball through traffic to Kelsy, who promptly smacked the ball wide.

The last two FC Dallas subs came in the 81st minute. Sam Junqua and Tomas Pondeca came in for Paul Arriola and Sebastian Lletget. FC Dallas moved into a 3-5-2 with Junqua at left centerback, Scott at right wingback, and Pondeca playing an advanced role in midfield, and Farrington joining Musa up front.

Pondeca showed his pace seconds after coming on after Logan Farrington sent the former pro futsal player racing down the right wing. His cross zipped across the box, barely evading Marco Farfan crashing the six-yard box.

In the end a frustrating night for FC Dallas. While it wasn’t a poor performance, the team just could not break down FC Cincinnati’s defensive shape. Of the 16 FC Dallas shots, only two were on target. Six of those were technically taken from inside the box, although three of those were on the edge as FCD struggled to get the ball in dangerous areas.

The bright spot may have been the additions of Nolan Norris, Tarik Scott, and Tomas Pondeca. Norris and Scott played under Luccin early in their FC Dallas academy careers, and the level of quality did not diminish with the additions of players who would normally have prepared for MLS NEXT Pro action.

With Liam Fraser to add to the wounded, FC Dallas return to action on Thursday against Portland. The heavy schedule moves to Kansas City as FC Dallas play both in MLS and US Open Cup action in the space of a few days.

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