FC Cincinnati, a team that spent years at the bottom of the Major League Soccer (MLS) standings, has written a remarkable page in its history by clinching the 2023 Supporters’ Shield. This achievement is not only a sports victory but also an inspiring example of how perseverance, leadership, and strategic planning can transform a team from obscurity to stardom.
For years, FC Cincinnati occupied the last place in the MLS, known as the “Wooden Spoon,” from 2019 to 2021. What seemed like an endless nightmare for fans turned into a fairy tale under the leadership of coach Pat Noonan and general manager Chris Albright, former members of the Philadelphia Union. In just two full seasons at the helm, they achieved a remarkable transformation.
FC Cincinnati’s meteoric rise was sealed with an exciting 3-2 victory over Toronto FC in the 35th round of the regular season. This win not only secured the Supporters’ Shield but also ensured the team’s first-place finish in the Eastern Conference for the 2023 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Furthermore, they will have the advantage of playing at home in the TQL Stadium for the Audi-presented MLS Cup in December, should they advance that far.
At the heart of this transformation is captain Luciano Acosta, whose brilliant season places him on par with MLS legends like Landon Donovan. With inspiring leadership abilities and extraordinary skills on the field, Acosta was complemented by other key players such as Obinna Nwobodo and Aaron Boupendza. The latter’s mid-season signing, following a significant transfer from Brenner to Udinese in Serie A, demonstrated the club’s determination to achieve success.
With three games remaining in the 2023 regular season, FC Cincinnati has the opportunity to surpass the points record set by the New England Revolution in 2021. Currently, they have 65 points, showcasing consistency and excellence throughout the season.
This Supporters’ Shield triumph marks the beginning of a new era for FC Cincinnati in MLS. After their first playoff appearance in 2022, when they reached the Eastern Conference semifinals, this achievement solidifies their position among the league’s top teams.
FC Cincinnati, now on the list of Supporters’ Shield winners, joins an elite group of teams that have accomplished this feat. This achievement is more than just a sports victory; it is a lesson in resilience and determination that can inspire not only FC Cincinnati fans but all sports enthusiasts around the world.