FC Cincinnati interim manager Tyrone Marshall has credited the "grit, heart and passion" of his side's second-half performance against the Philadelphia Union.
The Ohio side consolidated their position at the bottom of the overall standings with a 2-1 defeat on Saturday evening. Goals from Kacper Przybylko and Paxten Aaronson did the damage for the Union.
But former Philadelphia midfielder Haris Medunjanin pulled a goal back in the 82nd minute, capping off what was a much-improved final half hour for Cincinnati.
Though his side left the game with no points, Marshall was happy with the response shown, hoping that'll be the standard for the rest of the 2021 season.
“For me, the second half is what I want to see the team play like," Marshall told reporters. "We finished with grit, heart, passion; guys were throwing their bodies around and working hard. For me, that exemplifies what I want to see the rest of the season from the players.
"[The game] was obviously a tale of two halves; first half we had some opportunities and more than one. They had one chance and they put their chance away. Second half we came out trying to find that goal, and they scored again and the guys could’ve put their head down and folded and we didn’t.
"The message for them is to continue going, continue grinding and that’s what we did. Training all week was like that. Our luck will change. The second half was a good indication of what hopefully will be the rest of the season for us."
Cincinnati out-shot the Union 9-3 in the second half but despite having a $13m striker up-front in Brenner, they fluffed their lines on all but one occasion. Marshall admitted that superior finishing was the difference between the two sides.
"Overall, some good football, I thought at times and moments we played well," he added. "Acosta was on the ball a lot tonight, everyone came in tonight and did their part. Just again, it's who finishes and they did and we didn’t put away our chances, and they put theirs away.
"I thank the players in the locker room for their effort and we will just continue to work hard and see if we can get a W for them."
Cincinnati host Orlando City on Saturday as they try to battle their way off the foot of the table.