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FC Cincinnati headed to U.S. Open Cup semifinals after win over Pittsburgh

FC Cincinnati fans marching
Posted at 10:13 PM, Jun 06, 2023

CINCINNATI — The Orange and Blue are headed to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals after triumphing over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at TQL Stadium in the quarterfinals.

They're the first team to stake their claim to a spot in the semifinals; the winner of Wednesday's quarterfinal game between Birmingham Legion FC and Inter-Miami FC will go on to face FC Cincinnati.

The 3-1 win over USL's Riverhounds came to fruition in the second half of the game, after a scoreless first half. In the 56th minute, Brandon Vazquez sunk the team's first goal after a quick and skillful set-up pass from Dominique Badji.

The next goal, incredibly sunk by midfielder Alvaro Barreal, was the result of a corner kick lofted just outside the Riverhounds' penalty line. Barreal's left-footed volley soared over the heads of the Pittsburgh defense and into the goal.

But FC Cincinnati wasn't done there: During the second half stoppage time, Barreal took his turn at a corner kick and booted the ball fast toward the goal box as defender Santiago Arias rushed in, getting a head on the ball and sinking it straight into the goal net.

One minute after Barreal's goal, Pittsburgh forward Tola Showunmi managed to get his team on the board just before the end of the match.

Barreal's late goal now ties him for most goals scored in the Open Cup by an FC Cincinnati player. Former FC Cincinnati forward Baye Djiby Fall, whose 2017 run with the team was short-lived and contentious, scored 4 goals throughout the 2017 Open Cup — the same amount Barreal claims now, as the team continues to make their way through the tournament.

The most goals ever scored in the U.S. Open Cup by a single player is 6, last clinched by former Minnesota United player Darwin Quintero in 2019.

The match was FC Cincinnati's 11th against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, dating back to the team's USL days at Nippert Stadium; in those 11 games FC Cincinnati has never lost to the Riverhounds.

As the Orange and Blue continues through the U.S. Open Cup, they remain undefeated on their home turf at TQL Stadium this season.