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Cincy advance past Union after controversial goal

Yerson Mosquera scored an opportunistic goal in second-half stoppage time and FC Cincinnati pulled off a dramatic 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night in an Eastern Conference semifinal.

Mosquera was anchoring a back line that was missing suspended MLS Defender of the Year Matt Miazga, who received two yellow cards in Cincinnati's clinching first-round match, and the injured Nick Hagglund (hamstring).

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A video review upheld the goal, despite replays suggesting that Ian Murphy may have been offside when he played a header across goal to set up Mosquera's finish.

Cincinnati -- which has already won the 2023 Supporters' Shield -- advances to its first conference final in club history in its second postseason appearance, and will host third-seeded Columbus, which defeated Orlando earlier Saturday.

Roman Celentano made four stops to keep his second playoff clean sheet in as many home games on a night his defense was also without defensive midfielder Obinna Nwobodo due to a hamstring injury.

Andre Blake made five saves for fourth-seeded Philadelphia, which was attempting to reach its third consecutive conference final.

After absorbing lots of pressure in the first half, the Union were arguably the more threatening side until conceding from a set piece on a night they played without defender Kai Wagner (suspension) and Jakob Glesnes (hernia surgery).

Defensive midfielder Jose Martinez was also off the pitch due to a second-half injury before the game's decisive moment.

Álvaro Barreal struck the initial service across the box, and Murphy cradled a gentle header back in front of the goal for Mosquera to run to. He hammered a low finish past Blake.

There weren't many clear chances until the ball fell to Mosquera's feet from close range on a well-worked free kick from the left.

Aaron Boupendza tested Blake in the first half with a dipping effort from distance in the 34th minute, and the Union's Mikael Uhre should've done better than sending a first-time half-volley well over the crossbar from close range in the 38th.

Nathan Harriel was nearly the hero when his drive from the edge of the penalty area forced Celentano into a diving stop in the 86th minute. Instead, he was one of the defenders caught flat-footed on Mosquera's winner.

    

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