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FC Cincinnati Kicks Off Stadium Opener With Loss To Inter Miami CF

Tana Weingartner
FC Cincinnati played it's first-ever match in the newly construction TQL Stadium May 16, 2021.

FC Cincinnati fell to Inter Miami CF Sunday 2-3 in the first-ever game in the new TQL Stadium in the West End.

A limited number of fans were allowed to attend but they showed up in full voice. The supporters groups recreated the popular march to the stadium, taking a route through Over-the-Rhine and climbing the stadium's grand staircase entrance carrying banners, singing, chanting, and banging drums through plumes of blue and orange smoke.

Season ticket holder Amy McSwegin of Anderson said she got teary-eyed gathering with fans before heading into the new stadium.

"We're just so excited," she said. "It's been a long time coming. We've been fans since the very beginning, so to see the club go from USL to MLS now into our gorgeous new stadium we are just beyond excited."

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
Members of the supporters groups march up the Central Parkway staircase for the first game at TQL Stadium on May 16, 2021.

Amy Cummings was also excited to take in the new facility. She came with three generations of family and was pleased with the COVID-19 precautions in place.

"I think they've done a really good job limiting the seating and making sure people are wearing masks, " she said. "We're all vaccinated so we feel pretty good about being here and I think they're playing it safe so we appreciate that."

Standing outside the stadium as the supporters marched toward the entrance, season ticket holders Michael Kuria and Yarla Ayala were similarly pumped to see the new stadium.

"This is amazing, the first game in the best stadium in the nation, it's awesome," said Kuria.

Sunny Patel said he just started following the team. He had just one thing in mind for Sunday's game: "A win."

Patel did/did not get his wish.

Inter Miami CF score the first two goals of the match and held FC Cincinnati scoreless at the half. Forward Alvaro Barreal scored FC Cincinnati's first goal in the new stadium in the 59th minute. Cincinnati native Nick Hagglund made it level with a driving header in the 83rd, but Inter Miami CF quickly answered back to regain the lead.

The final score was 2-3 in favor of Inter Miami CF.

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber called the stadium opening a "good day for our league."

"It's world-class in every way," he said, calling the size and scale of the facility dramatic. "You walk around this building and it just feels so grand and I think that's, in many ways, what's going to be one of its distinctive characteristics."


While TQL Stadium has a capacity of 26,000, the crowd for the first game was limited to around 6,000. The team says that will remain the same for the next home game on May 29. However, it anticipates moving to full capacity for the following home game on June 19.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.