Match Preview

PREVIEW | FC Cincinnati face D.C. United on Decision Day seeking first MLS Cup Playoffs berth


FC Cincinnati head into Decision Day at D.C. United controlling their own destiny, seeking the club’s first berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Kickoff for the Orange and Blue’s final regular season game is set for Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2:30 p.m. ET at Audi Field in Washington.

FCC would clinch a spot in the postseason with a win or draw against last place D.C. United. If the fixture between Orlando City SC and Columbus Crew does not end in a draw, the Orange and Blue also book their ticket to the playoffs no matter the result against D.C. United.

Fans are encouraged to attend the Official Watch Party Sunday at Rhinegeist Brewery starting at 2:30 p.m.

Local TV: Star64
Local Stream:
Out of Market Stream: ESPN+
Radio: FOX Sports 1360 AM
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 game.

Fans are encouraged to attend the Official Watch Party Sunday at Rhinegeist Brewery starting at 2:15 p.m.

The Official Watch Party will feature an appearance by Gary the Lion and the FC Cincinnati Street Team with giveaways and activities.

Fans can also catch the action at one of 14 official Pub Partners located across the region, presented by Coors Light.


D.C. United lead the all-time MLS series over FC Cincinnati, 4-0-3 (1-0-1 in D.C.)

It’s been a season to forget for D.C. United who will finish the season at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table. United won their first two matches of the season, including a 1-0 win against the Orange and Blue at TQL Stadium on March 5, before dropping four of their next five.

The Black and Red managed to pick up a win against the Houston Dynamo on May 7 before enduring a brutal stretch that saw United earn just seven points over the next three months.

D.C. United parted ways with head coach Hernan Losada in April in the midst of a turbulent season. Assistant Chad Ashton took over interim duties before United appointed Wayne Rooney as first team manager on July 12. Rooney’s coaching debut for United, a 2-1 win against Orlando City on July 31, injected life into a struggling D.C. side but that momentum was short-lived. They would go scoreless over their next five leaving the lowest scoring team in the league searching for answers.

On Aug. 5, D.C. United completed the signing of Belgian international Christian Benteke from Crystal Palace to jumpstart United’s attack. Benteke made his first appearance at the end of August and scored his first goal against Inter Miami CF on Sept. 18.

Despite the big-name moves, United haven’t been able to improve on their year-long struggles as the season draws to a close. The Black and Red are 0-3-2 heading into Decision Day and have scored just two goals over that span.

Taxi Fountas and Ola Kamara combine for 21 of United’s 34 goals. Michael Estrada and Steven Birnbaum, the only other players with two or more goals, will need to support the dangerous attacking duo if D.C. want to play spoilers on Sunday.

The season comes down to Decision Day for FC Cincinnati. For the Orange and Blue to earn a spot in the 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, all Pat Noonan’s side needs is a win or draw against D.C. United. If either Orlando City SC and Columbus Crew defeat each other, FCC will be in postseason play regardless of how the 90 minutes shape out at Audi Field.

SEEKING A FIRST WIN AGAINST THE BLACK AND RED – FC Cincinnati have never defeated D.C. United, holding an 0-4-3 record against the Black and Red. They are one of two Eastern Conference foes FCC have never taken all three points from (New York City FC).

In this season’s campaign, the Orange and Blue have already defeated seven opposing MLS clubs (ORL, MIA, MIN, PHI, CLT, SJ, RSL) for the first time in franchise history.

ACOSTA’S ASSISTS – FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta has the chance to become FC Cincinnati’s first statistical leader to end an MLS season. His 18 assists lead the league, three more than any other player entering Decision Day (15: Diego Fagúndez, ATX and Kai Wagner, PHI).

Lucho also leads MLS in assists from open play (11) and is tied for the league-lead in assist ending carries (5).

A RETURN TO THE NATION’S CAPITAL – Acosta (2016-19) and Junior Moreno (2018-21) return to D.C. to face their former club. Each spent four seasons in Black and Red, with Acosta departing having made 126 MLS appearances, scoring 24 goals and 35 assists. Moreno made played in 97 MLS games, scoring 1 goal and adding 9 assists.

Both played with current D.C. Head Coach Wayne Rooney, who played two seasons from 2018-19.

VAZQUEZ, 33 – Should Brandon Vazquez appear in Sunday’s showdown, the forward will make his 33rd appearance in 34 games for FC Cincinnati, the most on the team this season.

He would be the fourth player in club history to appear in as many games in one season. That record is shared by Mathieu Deplagne (2019), Álvaro Barreal (2021) and Brenner (2021).

BOOKEND MATCHUPS – Come kickoff Sunday, it will have been 218 days since the last time FC Cincinnati matched up with D.C. United, a March 5 meeting at TQL Stadium. That will be the longest same-season gap between matchups in club history.

Four of the soon-to-be eight all-time meetings between FCC and D.C. have served either as Decision Day (2019 and 2022) or as the home-opener for FC Cincinnati (2020 and 2022).

20 x 3 – Luciano Acosta (27 – 9 goals, 18 assists), Brandon Vázquez (22 – 17 goals, 5 assists) and Brenner (20 – 15 goals, 5 assists) all have contributed to 20 goals this season, making Cincinnati the only team with three players with at least 20 goal contributions this year, per Opta. Prior to this season, no Cincinnati player had contributed to 20 goals in a single season.

Head Coach Pat Noonan on Sunday’s game vs. D.C. United
“We know as a group what we need to do to be a playoff team. So that part's clear. And it's important that when we step on the field, we're playing to win a game, not playing a game to not lose it. That's two totally different approaches. We're going to step on the field with a with a group that's confident to go and play a game to win the game. And certainly, as the game progresses, you have to have an understanding of what you need to be a playoff team in terms of the final score."

2023 FC Cincinnati Season Ticket Memberships are now available. Season Ticket Members are guaranteed the best seats at the best prices for every match at TQL Stadium in 2023, in addition to access to exclusive events, discounts on merchandise and more!

2023 Season Tickets are on sale now at Fans looking for more information can contact a dedicated FC Cincinnati representative at (513) 977-5435 or e-mail

FC Cincinnati are playing their fourth season of MLS competition in 2022, and their second playing at TQL Stadium. For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. Additionally, fans are encouraged to download the team’s official mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for instant access to mobile tickets, team content and match notifications.