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Lucho Acosta launches FC Cincinnati to the top of the Eastern Conference

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By Abel Folgar

FC Cincinnati is flying high to the top of the Eastern Conference table thanks in part to the unlikely stat of numerous wins by narrow margins, 1-0 victories in particular.

Their latest — and sixth of 12 this season — came this weekend against the bottom keg Chicago Fire in front of a home crowd of 25,000 at TQL Stadium. In this match, Luciano ‘Lucho’ Acosta, the versatile centre-forward, put in a commanding performance to earn himself the Player of the Match distinction thanks to his 83rd-minute goal.

The goal, a well-placed right-footed shot from the center of the box, came after Acosta set up a long cross from Santiago Arias to beat Fire goalkeeper Spencer Richey.

“If you just look at the production and the ways he’s helping our team win games, I think it’s fair to say he could be the best form I’ve seen since we’ve been together,” said FC Cincinnati gaffer Pat Noonan after the match.

“If you look at the rotations we’ve had and the fact that he’s still out there today, it’s part of him convincing me he’s okay, and I believe that,” Noonan said. “But he’s a competitor, and I think he recognizes how special this group is, and he wants to be out there leading the way.”

Noonan’s trust is well placed, as Acosta has racked up seven goals and three assists so far this season, fulfilling his role as the team’s number 1. 10 and showing an incredible – even disinterested – flexibility on the pitch that sees him press and work in defensive/offensive transitions.

“I couldn’t be happier with his leadership, his output, and he’s a big part of why we’re in this position,” Noonan said.

Cincy is eyeing the US Open Cup quarterfinals next week against an emboldened USL team, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, before going on the road for the weekend against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Lucho Acosta launches FC Cincinnati to the top of the Eastern Conference.