Banner night from reigning MVP Luciano Acosta propels Cincinnati to 4-3 victory over Union

CINCINNATI (AP) — Reigning MVP Luciano Acosta scored in the 10th minute of second-half stoppage time, polishing off a two-goal night and leading FC Cincinnati to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night.

Acosta, who notched an assist on the first goal of the night, became the seventh player in league history to have a hand in 100 regular-season goals over a four-year span. Acosta, who has career totals of 43 goals and 57 assists, used a helper from Yamil Asad to score the winner and help Cincinnati (12-3-3) keep pace with front-running Inter Miami in the Eastern Conference.

It was Acosta's ninth goal of the season and the second assist for Asad. At 99:05, it was the latest goal scored in club history and the 10th latest winner scored in league history. Cincinnati, winners of the Supporters' Shield for most points during the regular season last year, trail Inter Miami by two points with two matches in hand.

Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute on a goal by Kevin Kelsy. Acosta and Yayu Kubo notched assists on Kelsy's fourth netter this season. It was the 14th assist of the season for Acosta and the first for Kubo.

Philadelphia (4-6-8) pulled even just before halftime when Tai Baribo scored his first career goal — in the 43rd minute. It was the third career start and 11th appearance for Baribo over the past two seasons. Mikael Uhre picked up his second assist of the season on the score and defender Olivier Mbaizo pocketed his first. Uhre became the ninth player in club history to reach 40 career goal contributions.

Cincinnati retook the lead four minutes into the second half when Acosta scored on a penalty kick. Acosta took the PK after Kubo was fouled by Union defender Jack Elliott.

Philadelphia tied it up in the 55th minute on Jesús Bueno's first career goal. Kai Wagner notched his fifth assist when Bueno found the net in his 13th career start and 37th appearance over the past four seasons with the Union.

Cincinnati took a 3-2 lead in the 60th minute on rookie Luca Orellano's fourth goal of the campaign with an assist from Pavel Bucha — his fifth.

Roman Celentano finished with two saves for Cincinnati. Rookie Oliver Semmle stopped one shot in his 13th start and 15th appearance for Philadelphia. Celentano and company had allowed just 18 goals through their first 17 matches.

International duties cost the Union the services of leading scorer Dániel Gazdag (10 goals, 1 assist), José Martínez (3 goals) and defender Damion Lowe.

Cincinnati will play without defender Matt Miazga, who left Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on a stretcher with a leg injury, for the foreseeable future according to manager Pat Noonan.

Noonan was an assistant coach under Union manager Jim Curtin from 2018-21. Cincinnati is 12-3-5 in 20 Wednesday matches under Noonan.

Philadelphia leads the all-time series 6-4-3, but Cincinnati improves to 4-1-2 against the Union at TQL Stadium. Cincinnati beat Philadelphia 1-0 in an Eastern Conference semifinal last year in the Union's last trip to town.

The Union return home to play Charlotte FC on Saturday. Cincinnati will host the New England Revolution on Saturday.


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