Early in the first half, Cincinnati received a penalty kick, on a call that left a lot of people scratching their heads, and capitalized for a 1-0 lead. In a half of dueling penalties, the Black & Gold equalized with a Pedro Santos goal from the spot. Going into the half, the Crew was likely happy with the equalizer, but it didn’t last long. In the 49th minute, Nick Hagglund gave Cincinnati a 2-1 lead with a header from a set piece. This was a lead that would end up being insurmountable as the Black & Gold left Nippert Stadium with no points and a lot of concerns.
There isn’t a lot of time to address them either, with Columbus welcoming New York City FC back to MAPFRE Stadium for the second home match against New York City and third of the season. The Pigeons come in on a form of three wins, one loss and a draw in the last five games. Most recently, NYCFC earned an away point in a draw against Orlando City.
Against Cincinnati, head coach Caleb Porter tweaked his lineup, putting Fatai Alashe back in the midfield in his first match since going down due to injury. Emmanuel Boateng also got his first start of the season but was substituted at halftime for Youness Mokhtar. Aboubacar Keita also received a rare starting nod over veteran Josh Williams but was also yanked early.
Porter, known for not using all five of his subs, used three at once, with Columbus down, bringing on Williams for Keita, Aidan Morris for Alashe and Derrick Etienne Jr. for Luis Diaz. This overhaul, relatively early in the second half at 59 minutes, could be interpreted as either Porter not being thrilled with his starting decisions or simply a means of trying to jolt the side to a comeback.
This week, we’re asking you to do the same thing. What lineup would you choose against New York City to liven up a side that has drawn two and lost two in its last four? Is there a midfield pairing that you think has looked best during a tough stretch? With a rotating door of offensive wingers picked, which have shined? Is Williams the partner going forward with Jonathan Mensah? As of writing this article, there is no recovery update on Lucas Zelarayan, Darlington Nagbe or Eloy Room. If any of them become available, would that give the team a desperately needed spark?
Make your managerial calls in the Supporters’ XI for the NYCFC game. On Sunday, we’ll share your picks alongside those of a Massive Report contributor in the hours leading up to kickoff.