In a historic achievement for Cincinnati soccer, FC Cincinnati made history by securing the MLS Supporters’ Shield for the 2023 season. For the first time in its MLS journey, the orange and blue club lifted the coveted trophy for the best team in the regular season.
The victory that sealed this memorable feat came in an exhilarating match against Toronto FC on Saturday night, which ended with a 3-2 scoreline in favor of FC Cincinnati. This win mathematically guaranteed the top spot in the Eastern Conference and home-field advantage during the 2023 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Additionally, the club is now qualified to compete in the prestigious 2024 Concacaf Champions League.
FC Cincinnati’s coach, Pat Noonan, shared his excitement after the match, emphasizing how special this moment was for the team and its supporters. He expressed gratitude to the club’s owners, including Carl Lindner III, for their unwavering dedication and support.
Winning the Supporters’ Shield marks a remarkable transformation for FC Cincinnati, which entered MLS as an expansion team in 2019 and faced challenges in the league’s early years, finishing at the bottom of the overall standings for three consecutive seasons.
However, since Noonan and General Manager Chris Albright took charge before the 2022 season, the club has undergone a notable on-field transformation. They not only qualified for the playoffs last season but also achieved a spectacular performance in 2023, amassing 65 points with an impressive record of 19 wins, 4 losses, and 8 draws. There’s a possibility of setting a new points record in a single season if they win their remaining three matches.
The MLS MVP leader, Luciano Acosta, played a crucial role in the victorious campaign, leading the league in goal contributions and sharing the top spot in the Audi Golden Boot race with 15 goals. Acosta also received a new contract and was praised for his leadership.
Now, with the Supporters’ Shield in hand, FC Cincinnati prepares to face the New York Red Bulls on October 4th and Atlanta United on Decision Day, October 21st. They aim to set a home wins record in a single MLS season, needing two victories to surpass the current mark. Furthermore, the club has its sights set on an even greater prize: the MLS Cup, presented by Audi on December 9th.
Amid the celebration of this remarkable achievement, one thing is clear: FC Cincinnati doesn’t consider its job done. As striker Brandon Vazquez stated, “We turn the page quickly. We enjoyed this little moment, but we’re back in Cincinnati tonight, and we’ll be recovering, preparing, and fully focusing on what comes next.”
With a passionate fan base and a determined squad, FC Cincinnati is determined to continue making history in MLS and charting a path to new successes and trophies in the future.