Match Preview

PREVIEW | FC Cincinnati go up against Philadelphia Union in Eastern Conference Semifinals

PHI 1 1920x1080

Fifth-seeded FC Cincinnati face off with top-seeded Philadelphia Union Thursday night, Oct. 20 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. from Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.

The game will broadcast nationally on FS1 and FOX Deportes (Spanish audio), and over the radio locally on ESPN 1530.

The Orange and Blue defeated the New York Red Bulls this past Saturday in Round One of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, 2-1, to advance to face the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Union earned a bye into the conference semifinals by virtue of their top seed.

FC Cincinnati seek to become the third expansion team in MLS history to advance in their first two postseason rounds (1998 Chicago Fire, 2020 Nashville SC).

For more information on the Orange and Blue’s first appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, visit FC Cincinnati Playoff Central presented by Mercy Health.


National TV: FS1 and FOX Deportes
Stream: FOX Sports 
Local Radio: ESPN 1530
Broadcast Talent: JP Dellacamera (play-by-play), Cobi Jones (analyst) 
Radio 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.

For fans making the trip to Subaru Park, a limited number of standing room only tickets are available to purchase through the Philadelphia Union.

FC Cincinnati supporters will be located in Section 133 of Subaru Park. Fans can also purchase tickets on the secondary market through SeatGeek.                                                   

The Watch Party at TQL Stadium is sold out! All ticket proceeds sold for the Watch Party went to the FC Cincinnati Foundation. For more information on the programs and initiatives of the FC Cincinnati Foundation, and how you can donate to the great cause, visit the Foundation’s page.

Fans without tickets to Subaru Park or the watch party are encouraged to cheer on the Orange and Blue at one of the club’s 14 Official Pub Partners, which will broadcast Thursday’s Eastern Conference Semifinals.


FC Cincinnati’s Pub Partner program, presented by Coors Light, offers locations to watch the game and enter to win FC Cincinnati prizes. Pub Partner locations can be found online at and include:

Cincinnati/Hamilton County:

• Rhinehaus, 119 E. 12th St.

• Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University

• Taglio locations: 56 E 12th, 9321 Montgomery and 3531 Columbia Pkwy 

• Bucketheads – 6507 Harrison Ave.

• La Ofrenda, 30 Findlay St. 45202

• Taft’s Ale House, 1429 Race St. 

• World Glass Bar, 930 Hatch St. 

• Bean & Barley, 2005 ½ Madison Rd. 

• The Pub at Kolping, 10303 W Mill Rd.

• The Varsity Sports Bar and Grill, 8112 Beechmont Ave.

Northern Kentucky:

• Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way

• Molly Malone’s, 112 E 4th St., Covington

The Union lead the all-time MLS series over FC Cincinnati, 5-1-2 (3-0-1 at home)

The Philadelphia Union present plenty of challenges for the Orange and Blue. To start, the Union are unbeaten at Subaru Park this year (12-0-5). They scored 49 home goals this season, tying the MLS record for most home goals in a single season. Their 72 overall goals were the most scored by a single club since LAFC in 2019 (85) and their goal difference of 46 is the best since that 2019 LAFC squad’s 48.

The Union produced the second-best defensive season in MLS history at 0.76 goals conceded per game. They conceded just 26 goals this year, a new record for the fewest goals allowed in a 34-game season.

The impressive statistics are simply a few reasons why Head Coach Jim Curtin’s squad earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and a bye into the Eastern Conference Semifinals.  

Their three-headed attack rivals FCC’s, and is led by Daniel Gazdag, whose 22 goals was one shy of the league-lead held by Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar. Julián Carranza (14) and Mikael Uhre (13) also reached double-digit goal tallies, and just two of their 27 combined goals came as a PK. 

Then of course there is the Philadelphia defense. Two of the three league-wide MLS finalists for Defender of the Year come from the Union in Jakob Glesnes and Kai Wagner, and goalkeeper Andre Blake is a finalist for his third Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Award and for Landon Donovan MLS MVP. His 15 clean sheets led MLS and his league-low 26 goals against set a new record for fewest goals in a 34-game season. His 19 wins are the most in a season for a goalkeeper since 2018 (Luis Robles, RBNY: 21).

Curtin’s squad have earned the most points in MLS over the past five seasons. Visit here for more information on the Union ahead of Thursday’s matchup.

After just one come-from-behind win in over three years of MLS play (5/22/21 at CF Montréal), FC Cincinnati have now earned three comeback wins since mid-September, first at Real Salt Lake on Sept. 17 and then just days later against Chivas in the Leagues Cup Showcase. In the club’s first appearance in MLS Cup Playoffs, Luciano Acosta’s 74th minute PK followed by Brandon Vazquez’s winner 12 minutes later erased a 1-0 deficit and saw the Orange and Blue advance in their first postseason game. 

Vazquez’s 86th minute game-winner against the Red Bulls is tied for the second-latest game-winner in club history, the other coming in the only comeback win prior to this season against CF Montréal on May 22, 2021 (Gustavo Vallecilla, 86’). Vazquez also owns the latest winner in club history, on May 7 of this year at Minnesota United, a 93rd minute goal in the 1-0 win.

RE(UNION) – It’s impossible to look at matchup between the Orange and Blue and the Union and not see the deep ties between the two organizations. It begins with Head Coach Pat Noonan facing off against the Union, where he had served as an assistant since January 2018 prior to being named FCC’s gaffer on December 14, 2021 by the former Philadelphia Technical Director and current FCC General Manager Chris Albright, who had been with the Union since retirement from playing after the 2013 season.

A key member of the Orange and Blue’s turnaround has been Ray Gaddis, who came out of retirement and signed with FCC in January. He logged over 19,000 MLS minutes in 221 appearances, all with the Philadelphia Union, and is their all-time appearances leader. Sergio Santos (75 GP/47 GS - 19G, 7A – 2019-22) and Alvas Powell (5 GS/4 GP – 2021) also spent time with the Union prior to their acquisitions to come to Cincinnati.

TURNING THE TIDE AGAINST PHILLY – In Cincinnati’s club-best 2022 season, the Orange and Blue have defeated eight opposing MLS clubs (ORL, MIA, MIN, PHI, CLT, SJ, RSL, DC) for the first time in franchise history. Prior to this year, when FCC took four of six points from the Union, Cincinnati was 0-5-1 against Philly, having been outscored 11-1 in those games.

FC Cincinnati are the only Eastern Conference squad the Union haven’t defeated this season, and the Orange and Blue’s four points are the most earned against PHI by anyone this year.

LOOKING TO BE THREE – FC Cincinnati, by defeating the Red Bulls in Round One, became the seventh expansion team to advance in its first playoff round in MLS history. But only two previous clubs have advanced in their first two postseason rounds, the previous being the 1998 Chicago Fire FC squad and the 2020 Nashville SC team.

The ’98 Fire squad won MLS Cup in their inaugural season, becoming the first expansion franchise in any of the major North American sports leagues to win the league championship. The 2020 Nashville side beat Inter Miami CF in the play-in round in the Covid-altered 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, then knocked off Toronto FC in the Round One proper.

SPEAKING OF THREE – FC Cincinnati’s attacking trio of Luciano Acosta, Brenner and Brandon Vazquez combined for 46 goals and 33 assists in the 2022 regular season. Brenner and Vazquez became the first pair of teammates in MLS history to each score 18 goals, while Acosta led the league with 19 assists. 

Including last Saturday’s game against the Red Bulls, FC Cincinnati have scored 20 MLS goals since the calendar turned to September. Acosta, Brenner or Vazquez have either scored and/or assisted all 20 of those goals (last goal not scored/assisted by trio: Matt Miazga’s unassisted goal vs. Columbus Crew – August 27).

6/7 DAYS OF THE WEEK – By playing on Thursday, FC Cincinnati will have played an MLS contest on every day of the week this season except for Monday. It will mark the fourth all-time Thursday game for the Orange and Blue (1-2-0), whose last one came in the MLS is Back Tournament vs. Atlanta United FC (July 16, 2020: W, 1-0).

Head Coach Pat Noonan on what FCC’s 1-1 draw with Philadelphia in June did for the team moving forward
"I think it helped with our confidence. Coming out of the break, going there and even though it was a draw, it's a draw on the road against a strong opponent. So I thought we were able to build on that performance in a way where we went on a good stretch of results. I wouldn't say all the performances were as strong as maybe that one, but it did help I think coming out of the break with some confidence against some tough opponents starting with that Philly game. And then the game at home, I think a few months later, where now it's finding a way to win the game. Certainly that helps from the mental perspective. So hopefully we can use that, I don't want to say to our advantage, but to go into it with the right mindset of, we understand what it can look like in this game and how we can find success. But again, it's a whole different animal in the playoffs, and we're going to need to do all the things we did well, even better."

For more information on the Orange and Blue in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, please visit FC Cincinnati Playoff Central presented by Mercy Health.

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.