Throwback Thursday: FC Cincinnati
It's FC Cincinnati week for Orlando City. The Lions have only played Cincinnati six times in history since the Knifey Lions joined the league as an expansion side in 2019.
With that limited sample size, it's hard to find good historical match ups to reminisce about. However, two seasons ago, Orlando City gave a woeful FC Cincinnati team a historic beatdown.
May 1, 2021.
Orlando City --- fresh off the first playoff appearance in club history --- is hosting two-time reigning Wooden Spoon holders FC Cincinnati in an early season matchup. Orlando had gotten off to a relatively slow start with a pair of low scoring draws to open the year.
The Lions weren't in store for another slow stalemate on this night.
Striker Tesho Akindele immediately got in behind the Cincinnati backline and finished for the fastest goal in Orlando City history.
Akindele's record-setting goal set the tone for a dominant first half for Orlando. The Lions doubled the damage when Nani put Cincinnati midfielder Yuya Kubo in a blender and finished a beautiful goal from outside of the box.
Orlando finished the job in the '81 minute. Veteran midfielder Junior Urso put Cincinnati away with a third goal to win 3-0. The Lions outshot their opponents 22-7 and won the expected goals battle 2.8-1.
Cincinnati failed to get a shot on target for the entire game. Then coach Jaap Stam was fired in September of that season. Three players in the starting XI against Orlando that night are still key starters for the Knifey Lions, including Brazilian sensation Brenner.
He scored just eight goals in that debut campaign, but the former Sao Paolo starred exploded for 18 goals last season. Brenner is now linked with a multi-million dollar transfer to a top-five league in Europe.
The entire Cincinnati program exploded last season after floundering at the bottom of MLS for its first three seasons. New head coach Pat Noonan and general manager Chris Albright arrived from the Philadelphia Union and led Cincy to the playoffs last season.
This year, Cincinnati is a genuine contender for both the Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup. Saturday's brawl in Orlando should be a big time game early in the season.