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FC Cincinnati take the field under Head Coach Pat Noonan for the first time Saturday night when the Orange and Blue take on Austin FC. Kickoff from the Lonestar State’s capital is set for 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT.

FC CINCINNATI AT AUSTIN FC

HOW TO WATCH:

Local TV: Star64

Local Stream: fccincinnati.com

Out of Market Stream: ESPN+

Radio: 1530 ESPN

Talent: Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play), Kevin McCloskey (analyst), Alex Stec (sideline)

Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the match.

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SCOUTING AUSTIN FC (2021: 9-21-4 – 31 points – 12th, MLS Western Conference)

Austin FC begin their second season in Major League Soccer, coming off a 12th place finish out of 13 teams in the Western Conference. The team scored an MLS-low 35 goals a season ago but does return co-leading goal scorers Cecilio Domínguez and Diego Fagundez, who each tallied seven goals.

The team will be without veterans Matt Besler and Aaron Schoenfeld, both of whom retired following last season. Other departures include former FC Cincinnati forward Kekuta Manneh whose contract option was declined, Tomas Pochettino who was loaned to Argentinian side River Plate, and McKinze Gaines who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in December’s Expansion Draft for Charlotte FC.

Newcomers Maxi Urruti, Ethan Finlay and Generation adidas SuperDraft selection Kipp Keller are among the newcomers for ATX.

Former professional and USMNT international Josh Wolff leads Austin FC into their second season as Austin’s Head Coach. Wolff and FC Cincinnati Head Coach Pat Noonan’s paths crossed throughout their playing careers, including both being part of the 2005 Concacaf Gold Cup-winning squad for the United States.

STORYLINES TO WATCH

NEW SEASON, NEW FACES… – For the first time since November 7, the Orange and Blue take the field for a regular season matchup. FC Cincinnati will be led by the previously mentioned new Head Coach Pat Noonan, who was hired on December 14.

He’s not the only newcomer for FC Cincinnati, five players were signed via free agency: Dominique Badji (Colorado Rapids), Ray Gaddis (Philadelphia Union), Alec Kann (Atlanta United FC), John Nelson (FC Dallas) and Alvas Powell (Philadelphia Union). That’s along with three MLS SuperDraft selections (Roman Celentano, Nick Markanich, Ian Murphy), all of whom earned spots on the roster.

The team has been active up to the last day before the regular season officially began. On Friday, FC Cincinnati acquired midfielder Junior Moreno via trade with D.C. United and then acquired the Homegrown Priority of midfielder Harrison Robledo from New York City FC and signed him to a Homegrown contract.

…WITH FAMILIAR RETURNING PRODUCTION – Luciano Acosta brings his savvy creativity back to FC Cincinnati in 2022. Acosta’s 10 assists last season set a club record, both in one season and total over FCC’s three seasons. He also set club single season-high marks for shots on goal (24) and corner kicks taken (67). The Argentine earned five MLS Team of the Week honors in 2021, a club-record for most in a season, and his seven goals trailed only Brenner’s eight for most on the team last year.

Brenner started and appeared in 33 of the club’s 34 games last year. Other top scoring returners include Brandon Vazquez, who tallied four goals, and Álvaro Barreal and Harris Medunjanin, each of whom scored three times.

In the back, Geoff Cameron, Gustavo Vallecilla, Ronald Matarrita and Nick Hagglund each are back after making 22 or more appearances last season. Tyler Blackett made 11 appearances after joining mid-year, and Zico Bailey is back after starting the final seven games of 2021. Goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer was in net for four clean sheets last year.

BEGINNING ON THE ROAD – FC Cincinnati have always began the season on the road, away from the Queen City. In 2019 at Seattle Sounders (March 2), in 2020 at New York Red Bulls (March 1), in 2021 at Nashville SC (April 17) and this year at Austin FC (February 26). Going back even further, each of the USL club’s season-openers (2016-18) were all on the road, all three years at Charleston Battery.

THIRD TIME IN TEXAS – The Orange and Blue play in the Lonestar State for the third time in club history. The team lost 3-1 at FC Dallas on August 31, 2019 and tied Houston Dynamo FC, 1-1, last season on July 3.

2022 FC CINCINNATI ROSTER

GOALKEEPER (4): Roman Celentano, Alec Kann, Beckham Sunderland, Kenneth Vermeer

DEFENDER (10): Zico Bailey, Tyler Blackett, Geoff Cameron, Ray Gaddis, Nick Hagglund, Ronald Matarrita, Ian Murphy, John Nelson, Alvas Powell, Gustavo Vallecilla

MIDFIELDER (8): Luciano Acosta, Allan Cruz, Calvin Harris, Yuya Kubo, Haris Medunjanin, Ben Mines, Junior Moreno, Arquimides “Quimi” Ordonez, Harrison Robledo

FORWARD (6): Isaac Atanga, Dominique Badji, Álvaro Barreal, Brenner, Nick Markanich, Brandon Vazquez