FC Cincinnati’s Alvaro Barreal finally got going in Sunday’s loss

Inter Miami's Gonzalo Higuain battles with FC Cincinnati midfielder Alvaro Barreal. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Inter Miami's Gonzalo Higuain battles with FC Cincinnati midfielder Alvaro Barreal. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

FC Cincinnati didn’t get the win when they opened TQL Stadium on Sunday. But what did emerge was a big goal from Alvaro Barreal, the first of his MLS career.

And for Barreal to open his account with his still relatively new club is a good sign and perhaps the most encouraging news to emerge from a tough 3-2 loss to Inter Miami. The heralded Barreal looked comfortable for stretches of Sunday and scored the first FC Cincinnati goal in the new stadium’s history.

The 59th minute goal came as Barreal took a long pass over the top of the Inter Miami defense, controlled it with his left foot and then with his next touch lobbed it over John McCarthy in goal. For Barreal, it was his first goal with FC Cincinnati.

The attacking player was signed last September.

“Yeah, I am happy that I scored my first goal with FC Cincinnati, in front of all the fans. It was the first time I played here with fans,” Barreal said.

“On that side, I am happy, but at the same time sad that we couldn’t give them a win. I would like to apologize to the fans from my part and from the group. We would’ve loved to give the fans a win.”

Alvaro Barreal was a big signing for FC Cincinnati late last year and if he can start to tick, there is the chance for this struggling side to quickly become competitive in MLS play.

Barreal is a big part of what FC Cincinnati is trying to build. An Argentine U20 national team regular, he has pace and good technical ability but has struggled to adapt to his new league.

Part of it is the bit of a mess that FC Cincinnati has been since his signing, a team that is still coalescing under head coach Jaap Stam and has seen some significant roster turnover this past offseason. Part of it is also the pace and physicality of MLS which has been a bit of a learning curve for Barreal.

The hope is that Sunday’s performance, while a loss, will be the proverbial building block for FC Cincinnati to build upon. The club looked better and more established on Sunday and was unfortunate not to earn anything from the match.

For Barreal, a potentially big part of the roster, the goal is a much-needed step in the right direction.

“Very important. I needed it. I had been looking for it in the last couple of games. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going my way. Personally, this is great for me,” Barreal said.

“It gives me the confidence to keep growing and to be able to contribute all that I can to this team. One of the things that help is goals. Fortunately, It went my way in our first game at the stadium. I am very happy with that.”

Follow Kristian Dyer of ‘MLS Multiplex‘ on Twitter @KristianRDyer