After earning a much-needed result Saturday at home, FC Cincinnati hit the road to take on Atlanta United FC in an Eastern Conference showdown with playoff and Supporters’ Shield implications.
With nine games remaining in the MLS schedule for The Orange and Blue, every result is amplified as FC Cincinnati continues its quest for trophies. Entering Wednesday night’s match with Atlanta, FC Cincinnati owns a 10-point lead in the Supporters Shield standings and an 11-point lead in the Eastern Conference. A result on the road over an in-conference opponent would significantly aid in achieving The Orange and Blues goals.
After two defeats, winning on Saturday was vital for FC Cincinnati to return to their winning ways and earn a result that reflected a strong performance.
“We put the pressure on ourselves to go out there and take care of business,” goalkeeper Roman Celentano said of the team’s mindset. “Everyone takes it upon themselves to focus… and go out there and give the best chance we got.”
As FC Cincinnati continues a difficult stretch of games that will see them playing five games in 14 days, maintaining health and energy is the highest priority.
“It’s just about recovery and making sure we have everybody with as fresh legs as possible,” head coach Pat Noonan said.
Atlanta United FC has had positive results in their last two fixtures, which Noonan believes is a byproduct of an improved roster and a stand-out player.
They have one of the best attacking midfielders in the league,” Noonan said of Atlanta United FC’s Thiago Almada. “And with some additions…I think they have done a good job of improving their roster, and I think you can see that certainly in the last two performances.”
FC CINCINNATI at Atlanta United FC – Wednesday, August, 30, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. ET – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
HOW TO WATCH
Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
TV Talent (English): Kevin Egan (PxP), Kyndra de St. Aubin (Analyst)
TV Talent (Spanish): Pablo Ramirez (PxP), Carlos Ruiz (Analyst
Radio: ESPN 1530
Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (PxP), Jeff Larentowicz (Analyst)
Atlanta United FC lead the all-time MLS series over FCC 5-1-4. Last season, both of the meetings between the clubs ended in draws. The Orange and Blue’s lone victory over Atlanta United FC came during the MLS is Back tournament in July 2020 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
FC Cincinnati have never beaten Atlanta United FC at their home grounds.
FC CINCINNATI NOTES
Turf Monster – Atlanta United FC’s Mercedes Benz Stadium is one of five MLS clubs to play on artificial FieldTurf. This season FC Cincinnati is 0-0-3 in matches played on artificial surfaces.
Prior to 2023, FC Cincinnati was 1-6-3 when playing on the road on an artificial playing surface.
The Fortress – TQL Stadium has been a fortress for The Orange and Blue this season, owning a undefeated record across all competitions and a 13-0-1 record in MLS play. With six more points at home this season FCC would tie the record for most points earned at home.
Brick Wall – Roman Celentano earned his 10th clean sheet of the season, improving on an already owned single-season record. Celentano’s 16 career clean sheets are the most in FC Cincinnati’s MLS history.
MVP campaign continues – Captain Luciano Acosta has cemented himself as a candidate for the 2023 Landon Donovan MVP award. The All-Star is tied for second in MLS in goals (12), tied for first in goals+assists (22), and tied for fourth in assists (10).
Acosta is also second in MLS in total attacking assists with 59. A stat that tracks how many shots are created directly from passes from a player.
SCOUTING Atlanta United FC (11-7-8, 41 PTS., 6th MLS EASTERN CONFERENCE.)
After a sluggish middle part of the 2023 season, where they went 1-3-4 over eight weeks, Atlanta United FC has bounced back and looked like one of the more dangerous sides in recent weeks.
In Atlanta United FC’s two league matches following the month-long Leagues Cup break, The Five Stripes have earned two victories and two clean sheets while outscoring opponents 6 goals to none. In their most recent matchup, Atlanta United FC thumped fellow Eastern Conference rival Nashville SC 4-nil at their home grounds of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
At home this season, The Five Stripes are 8-2-3. Most notably, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is one of six MLS stadiums to use an artificial playing surface; more specifically, they are one of five clubs to play on FieldTerf.
Atlanta United FC is led by Argentine superstar Thiago Almada, who became the first active MLS player to win a World Cup last December. The 22-year-old midfielder currently leads MLS in assists with 13 and key passes with 64. Almada is also fourth in MLS in shots on target and 13th in MLS in goals scored.
Giorgos Giakoumakis leads Atlanta United FC this season with 13 goals, including both of their goals in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders.
Three goalkeepers have made starts for The Five Stripes this season, but former Premier League goalkeeper Brad Guzan leads the team with 19 starts. Guzan has made 159 starts with Atlanta United FC, dating back to when he joined the side in their MLS expansion season. This season, Guzan has earned seven clean sheets while conceding 25 goals.
Head coach Gonzalo Pineda is in his third season with the club after coming over from Seattle Sounders, where he was an assistant coach. Pineda played nearly 300 games in Liga MX as a player before joining Seattle Sounders as a player in 2014.
As a manager, Pineda has earned a 30-29-22 record in 81 matches. He is the fourth full-time head coach in club history.