FC Cincinnati Clinches Playoffs While Inter Miami’s Hopes Diminish in Scoreless Draw
FC Cincinnati Triumphs into Playoffs, Inter Miami's Playoff Dreams Dwindle
In a thrilling turn of events, FC Cincinnati took a significant stride into the Major League Soccer (MLS) playoffs on Wednesday, while Lionel Messi-led Inter Miami faced a setback with a goalless draw against Nashville, putting their post-season aspirations at risk.
FC Cincinnati displayed their mettle in a triumphant 2-1 victory against Atlanta. The game’s momentum swung when Colombian player Edwin Mosquera secured his first-ever MLS goal, giving Atlanta an early lead in the 10th minute. However, FC Cincinnati made a stunning comeback in the second half, propelled by goals from Luciano Acosta and Brandon Vazquez. Acosta’s 13th goal of the season leveled the score, a feat accomplished by splitting through two defenders and assisting Junior Moreno, whose header set up Acosta for a brilliant one-time shot into the top corner. Vazquez then sealed Cincinnati’s 17th victory with a crucial goal, bringing their total points to 57 and securing the first playoff berth in the MLS Cup. This victory was especially significant as it marked FC Cincinnati’s inaugural win at the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
On the other hand, Inter Miami, led by soccer superstar Lionel Messi, encountered a significant challenge in their quest for a playoff spot. In a high-stakes match, they encountered a scoreless draw against Nashville, failing to find the back of the net for the first time during the Messi era. Messi, who had previously netted an impressive 11 goals in nine appearances since joining Inter Miami, including triumphs in the Leagues Cup and US Open Cup, struggled to make an impact on this occasion. The star-studded crowd at DRV PNK Stadium, featuring notable figures like boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and FIFA chief Gianni Infantino, witnessed an uncharacteristically unproductive performance from Messi. Despite Miami’s consistent possession, they struggled to break down Nashville’s disciplined defense, with Messi’s free kicks failing to make an impact. The draw left Inter Miami trailing by 10 points for the final playoff spot, with only 10 games remaining in the season.
Inter Miami’s next challenge takes them across the country to face the reigning MLS Cup champions, Los Angeles FC, on Sunday. The team’s performance will be closely scrutinized as they work to regain momentum and rekindle their playoff ambitions.
This week’s MLS action also saw Toronto FC stun the Philadelphia Union with a convincing 3-1 victory, ending Toronto’s eight-match losing streak. Additionally, the New England Revolution secured a 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls, propelling them to second place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. The Orlando City SC and the Philadelphia Union both secured points, with Orlando achieving a 1-1 draw at Charlotte, while Philadelphia faced an unexpected 3-1 defeat in Toronto.
In the Western Conference, St. Louis City displayed their dominance with a 2-1 victory over 10-man FC Dallas. St. Louis capitalized on Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes’ red card, as he was sent off in the 12th minute for handling the ball outside the box. Anthony Markanich and Nokkvi Thorisson secured late goals for St. Louis, clinching a crucial win and extending their lead by seven points over LAFC, who had an idle week.
As the MLS season enters its final stretch, each match holds immense significance for teams vying for playoff positions, setting the stage for intense battles and remarkable displays of soccer prowess.