Yuya Kubo hat trick powers FC Cincinnati in wild win at San Jose

FC Cincinnati’s flair for the dramatic clearly survived its 17-day break between games.

FC Cincinnati emerged from the June international window, and having last played May 29, with a 4-2 win in a dizzying second half against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at PayPal Park.

The clubs combined for six second-half goals, with FC Cincinnati jack-of-all-trades Yuya Kubo scoring the last three. He did so as a substitute, and made history in the process: He was the fifth-ever substitute to score a hat trick in Major League Soccer, and the nine minutes it took him to score his three goals made it the fourth-fastest hat trick in league history.

Kubo’s goals, which were all assisted by FCC captain Luciano Acosta, tied the match at two in the 78th minute, put Cincinnati back in front in the 80th minute, and provided an insurance tally in the 87th minute.

The hat trick made Kubo FC Cincinnati’s third-ever player to score a hat-trick for the club (Brenner Souza da Silva, Brandon Vazquez).

With 13 assists on the year, Acosta entered into a tie for the MLS lead with Inter Miami CF’s Lionel Messi.

Above all else, FC Cincinnati improved to 11-3-3 on the regular-season campaign, and 36 points in the standings. FCC remained one point back of Miami with two games in-hand.

The win also helped Cincinnati avoid the unpleasant optics that would have followed a defeat against last-place San Jose, which saw its league-worst record drop to 3-12-2.

The victory might end up coming with a steep cost, though. Center back, MLS All-Star and 2023 MLS Defender of the Year, Matt Miazga, was carried off the field on a stretcher in the 62nd minute. FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan said afterward that Miazga was being evaluated at a local hospital.

An injury to Miazga would be especially troubling because Miles Robinson, FC Cincinnati’s other All-Star-caliber center back, figures to be away on international duty with the U.S. men’s national team for about a month. A second month could follow that period if Robinson joins the American men’s Paris Olympics soccer team as one of its three “over-age” players.

As of 2 a.m. Sunday, there was only speculation about the extent of Miazga’s injury. Team officials didn’t have updates to provide immediately following the game, which kicked off at 10:30 p.m. ET.

In the 53rd minute, Pavel Bucha capitalized on a slick playing surface that pestered both teams all night. He cleanly intercepted a pass as a San Jose player slid out of the play and punished the hosts by tallying his first-ever goal in MLS.

But San Jose shoved back in with a quick equalizer from Hernán López, which arrived just four minutes later. Then, with the field seemingly and suddenly tilted toward Cincinnati’s end of the field, Cristian Espinoza installed the Earthquakes’ first lead of the match in the 72nd minute.

Then Kubo and Acosta arrived on the scene to deliver a memorable ending.

FC Cincinnati’s defense survived 11 minutes of second-half added time to close out the match.

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In-match updates from during the game:

FC Cincinnati’s Yuya Kubo, a second-half substitute, has likely made MLS history, recording a nine-minute hat trick. It’s 4-2.

Yuya Kubo has brought FC Cincinnati back from the brink of a truly horrific result against the last-place team in MLS. Kubo scored twice, with Luciano Acosta assisting on both tallies.

Kubo now has six goals on the year and Acosta has 12 assists.

A rough night for FC Cincinnati keeps getting rougher. Cristian Espinoza just carved up the left side of FCC’s defense and scored for a 2-1 Earthquakes lead.

Amahl Pellegrino broke in on Cincinnati’s last defenders and had a chance to do damage. In attempting to mitigate the damage, FC Cincinnati defender Matt Miazga slid to the ground but had an ugly collision with the post of the net he was defending. Ultimately, Miazga was stretchered off the field. This is a big injury scare for a Cincinnati side that could be without Miles Robinson for close to two months due to international duty.

The Earthquakes were pretty convincing in their response to going down, 1-0. Roman Celentano dove to deny an initial save but there was a rebound and Hernán López hit the back of the net to tie the game.

Pavel Bucha hammered San Jose for a failed attempt to play out of the back, netting his first goal for the Orange and Blue to put them up, 1-0, on the road. It’s certainly relevant that Bucha was able to cleanly intercept the ball and stroll in on goal because a San Jose player slipped.

Players on both teams seem to be having trouble finding consistent grip on the playing surface at PayPal Park. Numerous readers have messaged The Enquirer about how glaring and clear the problem has been tonight.

We’re deadlocked on the scoreboard but San Jose’s .7 expected goals, or “xG,” versus Cincinnati’s .5 xG is indicative of which team was better in the first half, although Cincinnati grew into the game later in the first half.

Still looking for FC Cincinnati’s first on-target shot, Luciano Acosta decided to try to chip San Jose goalkeeper William Yarbrough from around midfield. The attempt was lofted too much, though, and also too long. But seeing as FCC seems a little off in its first match in 17 days, it’s not such a bad idea from Acosta.

The teams are still feeling each other out early, but San Jose carved out a chance in the second minute that required a Roman Celentano save via Jeremy Ebobisse.

  • FC Cincinnati starting XI: Roman Celentano (GK), Luca Orellano, Ian Murphy, Matt Miazga, Nick Hagglund, DeAndre Yedlin, Pavel Bucha, Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (captain), Sergio Santos, Kevin Kelsy.
  • Cincinnati bench: Alec Kann (GK), Alvas Powell, Yuya Kubo, Kipp Keller, Bret Halsey, Gerardo Valenzuela, Malik Pinto, Yamil Asad, London Agredo.
  • Players OUT for FC Cincinnati: Corey Baird (hip), Miles Robinson (U.S. men’s national team).

More: FC Cincinnati: Miles Robinson’s busy USMNT summer to continue at Copa America

More: Preview: FC Cincinnati seeking 11th win of 2024 vs. San Jose Earthquakes


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