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Recap: Ten-man Toronto FC suffer defeat in Cincinnati

TFC have now lost three games in a row.

MLS: Toronto FC at FC Cincinnati
Ralph Priso-Mbongue reacts after being shown a red card in the first half against FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium.
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC lost 2-0 away to FC Cincinnati on Wednesday evening, a game which saw TFC go a goal down and a man down inside the first six minutes.

Calvin Harris scored his first MLS goal just two minutes into the contest. Brandon Vazquez caught the TFC defenders off-guard, getting behind the backline and sending a ball to Harris, who tapped it in at the far post.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for the Reds as Priso was dismissed in the sixth minute following a VAR review. It was a nightmare first start of the season for Priso, who has struggled to get back in the starting XI following his injury troubles.

Cincinnati doubled their lead in the second half as club captain Luciano Acosta slotted a penalty home in the 57th minute.

The penalty decision was called after Toronto’s Kadin Chung brought down Alvaro Barreal in the area. Barreal’s nifty footwork got the better of Chung, and while Alex Bono got a hand on Acosta’s shot, the goalkeeper did not do enough to keep it out.

FC Cincinnati (4-5-1) would see out the rest of the match and hold onto the 2-0 scoreline as the Reds were unable to salvage anything with only ten men on the pitch.

MLS: Toronto FC at FC Cincinnati
Calvin Harris opens the scoring for FC Cincinnati early in the first half.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Jesus Jimenez was left struggling up top and was unable to maintain his goalscoring form for Toronto FC (3-5-2) .

The Spanish striker would get the best chance of the match for the Reds in the 35th minute, controlling a ball sent over the top and getting a shot off in the box. The effort was too tame though, with Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano easily dealing with the shot.

Still down two, Bob Bradley desperately attempted to switch things up in the 63rd minute as he made a triple substitution. Yet, Ayo Akinola, Jordan Perruzza, and MLS debutant Steffen Yeates were unable to make a real difference in their thirty minutes on the pitch.

Ultimately, the Reds were lucky to only concede twice in the midweek matchup. Barreal was lively all evening, creating chances for his teammates throughout. He even put the ball in the back of the net, only to have his goal denied by the offside flag.

Just minutes after Harris’ finish in a sequence which almost mirrored the opener, Acosta stretched for a ball at the far post following a Barreal cross, but sent his effort flying over the crossbar.

Finally, Brenner would have a golden opportunity to make it 3-0 late in the second half, but he could not make the most of his one-on-one with Bono and sent a soft attempt right at the TFC shot stopper.

FC Cincinnati will hope to make it three wins in a row in MLS when they take on Minnesota United on Saturday.

It’s back to the drawing board for TFC as they look to avoid making it four defeats in a row when they head to the West Coast to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday afternoon.