Major League Soccer

Pat Noonan reacts to Brenner hat-trick in FC Cincinnati 4-4 NYCFC

Chris Smith
Brenner is the first FC Cincinnati player to score a hat-trick in MLS.
Brenner is the first FC Cincinnati player to score a hat-trick in MLS. / Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Amid the chaos and calamity of their 4-4 draw with NYCFC on Wednesday, FC Cincinnati still had plenty of positives to take.

Granted, no side should be throwing away a 3-0 lead at home and especially not in the space of seven minutes at the end of the first half. But Cincinnati's attacking play to get into that position - and to equalize after falling 4-3 behind in the second half - was about as incisive as you're likely to see in Major League Soccer.

Even better was an Orange and Blue player registering the club's first hat-trick since joining MLS in 2019. If you'd have asked any coach, executive, or supporter which player they'd like to score that hat-trick, they'd have likely picked Brazilian striker Brenner, who is the fourth-most expensive incoming transfer in league history.

That pressure has so far weighed heavily on the shoulders of Brenner who, prior to Wednesday night, had scored just nine goals in 44 appearances for Cincinnati across all competitions.

So, is this the start of Brenner truly repaying that $13m fee spent to bring him aboard from Sao Paulo in 2021? Cincinnati head coach Pan Noonan at least believes the 22-year-old is on the right path.

“He was outstanding tonight," Noonan said of Brenner after Wednesday's thriller. "I thought he was finding himself in good spots closer to goal. He was aggressive looking to get behind the timing of his runs to get to goal. Certainly, the goal that he gets played in, his timing was very good. And that's what we're looking for.

"It's just for him in those moments where we can face goal to be thinking about how people get in behind. That was certainly well taken with our third goal. The second was just his quality. Not a lot of players could do that. And then even with his third, given to his left, for him to be able to hit with that kind of accuracy and power. You just saw all of his qualities come out tonight.”

Though Brenner walks away with a piece of Cincinnati history, the striker insisted he'd rather trade in his hat-trick for a victory that would have lifted the Orange and Blue to fifth in the Eastern Conference.

“The team had the best 30 minutes of the season yet the 10 worst minutes of the season," he said, adding: "I’m very happy that I scored three goals, but I would change those three goals for a victory for the team. Now it's time to go back to training and work hard so that we can keep winning.”