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FC Cincinnati receives stadium approval if granted MLS bid

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The path to Major League Soccer looks to have gotten a whole lot clearer for FC Cincinnati on Monday.

[ MORE: Who has improved the most under Pep Guardiola at Man City? ]

The Cincinnati budget and finance committee voted to pass a stadium plan for the current USL side by a margin of four to three, in the event that FC Cincy is granted a place in MLS.

Meanwhile, the City Council voted five to four in favor of the plan.

The vote results in a $34.8 million infrastructure package that will go towards the development of a future stadium for FC Cincy, who is currently aiming to become the 26th franchise granted entry into the top flight of American soccer.

The stadium would be in Cincinnati’s West End, and would be a $200 million project, all of which is privately funded.

Last week, the club agreed to a land-swap deal with the Cincinnati Public Schools in order to secure the land necessary for their stadium project.

Cincinnati schools OK land swap with FC Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI (AP) Cincinnati Public Schools have agreed to a land swap with the city’s professional soccer team so the club can build a new $200 million stadium on the site where a high school stadium now sits.

[ MORE: Toronto makes CCL Final ]

The school board approved the swap Tuesday. As part of the deal, FC Cincinnati agreed to build Taft High School a new $10 million stadium near the school’s current stadium in the city’s west end.

The deal is contingent on the minor league team getting an invitation to join Major League Soccer.

The school board initially rejected the offer because the team was seeking to make reduced property tax payments on the new stadium. The team later agreed to pay about $25 million over the life of the stadium.

Ohio officials pressure MLS to decide on FC Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI (AP) Ohio county officials are putting the pressure on Major League Soccer to decide whether FC Cincinnati will join the league.

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Hamilton County commissioners voted Wednesday to renew an agreement to pay for a 1,000-car garage at the team’s future stadium through Feb. 28.

The board’s original agreement expired Dec. 31. The agreement was extended at the request of FC Cincinnati, which says it expects to hear from the league before March.

MLS previously said it would select its 25th and 26th teams by the end of 2017. It selected Nashville, Tennessee to take the 25th spot in December, but said it would decide on the final spot next year.

Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune tells The Cincinnati Enquirer it’s important a decision is made sooner rather than later.

The legend of Wright-Phillips grows with latest Red Bulls triumph

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For the better part of five years, Bradley Wright-Phillips has been the engine that never ceases to churn for the New York Red Bulls attack.

[ MORE: Red Bulls storm back to knock off Cincinnati in Open Cup semis ]

The Englishman that wears kit number 99 continued to cement his legacy with the MLS side on Tuesday night as Wright-Phillips added another two goals to his growing tally, which now stands at 94 in all competitions.

BWP — as Red Bulls faithful know him — recorded a brace after the 75th minute to help the Red Bulls reach the U.S. Open Cup final in Cincinnati, including once in extra time.

While Wright-Phillips certainly played a key role in the comeback, the striker emphasized his side’s “character” after they went down 1-0.

“It felt massive,” said Wright-Phillips. “When we went two goals down it was going take something special but if there’s one team that can do it. It’s not me being biased, it’s us. We have a lot of character, we’re a fit team and situations like that seem to suit us. As soon as we go a goal down, I don’t like it but sometimes we just turn into a different animal. Today, it was no different.”

Manager Jesse Marsch and the Red Bulls have come under scrutiny in the past for not showing up in big matches, particularly when the MLS Cup playoffs roll around.

The Red Bulls have finished atop the Eastern Conference in back-to-back seasons leading into 2017 under Marsch, however, the club has come up empty in the postseason.

Tuesday night’s comeback win over Cincinnati is a positive step for the club in terms of how the Red Bulls handle adversity in the biggest of matches.

“I think it’s been a very long time and I read things all the time about New York Red Bulls don’t win trophies or even some of their fans were saying we were going to choke into the semifinals,” Wright-Phillips said. “So it’s just good to get over this hurdle here and prove to people that we are a team that we’re learning and we’re getting better.”

Marsch and Co. trailed 2-0 with under half an hour remaining at Nippert Stadium, but a gutsy performance from Wright-Phillips and the rest of the Red Bulls crew ensured the team that they’d play in the their second Open Cup final in club history (first occurred in 2003 when Red Bulls were previously the MetroStars).

[ MORE: Fourth MLS firing in ’17 — Mastroeni sacked by Rapids ]

The Red Bulls will move on to the tournament’s finale next month when they take on Sporting KC at Children’s Mercy Park.

Red Bulls storm back against FC Cincinnati to reach Open Cup final

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FC Cincinnati looked to be on the verge of another historic victory at Nippert Stadium, but that was before Bradley Wright-Phillips had his say in the matter.

[ MORE: Rapids fire Pablo Mastroeni in fourth MLS coach dismissal in 2017 ]

The New York Red Bulls notched an impressive comeback on Tuesday night to knock off Cincinnati, 3-2, in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.

The Red Bulls will now move on to face Sporting KC in the Open Cup final on September 20 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.

The 33,250 supporters in the crowd on Tuesday marked the second-highest attended match in the Open Cup’s history, according to TheCup.us.

Wright-Phillips grew his legend with the Red Bulls after recording a brace for the MLS club (his 93rd and 94th goals). Alan Koch’s side managed to stifle the veteran Englishman for most of the night, but Wright-Phillips kept on doing what he does best when it matters most.

The 32-year-old goalscorer tallied his second goal of the night in the 101st minute to help the Red Bulls complete their comeback, after having previously trailed by two goals inside the final 20 minutes.

Cincinnati was certainly on the back foot in terms of chances created throughout the night, but Austen Berry made no mistake with his opportunity in the 62nd minute, which gave the home side a 2-0 advantage.

The 28-year-old defender broke free on a corner kick from Kenney Walker, and Berry’s aerial effort left Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara with absolutely no chance.

This came after Corben Bone had sent Cincy out in front near the half-hour mark.

Just as the team looked dead in the water, goals from Gonzalo Veron and Wright-Phillips broke the hearts of Cincinnati inside the final 15 minutes of regulation.

For Cincinnati, Veron’s finish marked the first time the club has conceded in this year’s competition.