Pat Noonan: ‘what a moment’ after Supporters’ Shield triumph over Toronto FC

FC Cincinnati clinched the 2023 Supporters’ Shield title after their narrow 3-2 triumph over Toronto FC, with head coach Pat Noonan impressed with how his team kept their composure throughout the game.

Noonan has changed the trajectory of the club, leading the Orange and Blue to two consecutive playoff finishes since joining in 2022 and now new silverware to TQL Stadium. Before Noonan was appointed as head coach, Cincinnati were basement dwellers in the Eastern Conference for three straight seasons.

Now, the team have a trophy to their name, and they won’t be looking to stop there as the regular season comes to a close and the playoffs begin to ramp up near the end of the month.

“What a moment to experience and share with the players and the staff members,” Noonan said after historic win. “Certainly a lot of people to thank and a lot of work that’s gone into this and all those people will be recognized in the coming days.

“We just needed to keep our composure,” Noonan added. “Guys were frustrated because they expect to be winning, they expect not to be conceding goals and so it was just trying to make sure that we had the right approach coming out of the break.”

Cincinnati have collected 65 points through 31 games played, which is already a club record for most points in a season, and they’ll have the chance to extend that record in their final three contests of the regular season against New York Red Bulls, Inter Miami and Atlanta United.

“I want people to really enjoy this,” Noonan said. “I know (the players) are right now. So we look forward to sharing this moment in front of our home fans on Wednesday.”

Cincinnati’s talisman and club captain Luciano ‘Lucho’ Acosta has been in stellar form in the 2023 season, amassing 15 goals and 10 assists while playing as an attacking midfielder for Noonan. Acosta’s MVP form earned him a new contract with the club that runs through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027.

“I’m so happy,” Acosta said after the win. “We’ve achieved what we set out to achieve, and now we know the job’s not finished. We’re going to keep going, and we’re going to achieve more.

“I don’t have many words to explain how I’m feeling … this is my second family. I need to say thank you, to everybody. Thank you to the fans. Thank you to my family, thank you to everybody who makes this city my family and makes this club my family.”

Cincinnati will shift their focus to their October 4 clash with New York Red Bulls at TQL Stadium, where Noonan and his squad will be able to celebrate their Supporters’ Shield victory with their supporters.

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