Fresh off of a decisive 3-0 win over Toronto FC, FC Cincinnati prepare for a quick turnaround as they head the nation’s capital for the return match with D.C. United Saturday night.
The game comes just days after FCC’s midweek matchup and marks the second game in four days for the Orange and Blue after a 10-day break between MLS matches.
“The break was necessary but then when you give an extended period of time off, guys come back and it takes him a day or two to get the focus and intensity back where you would like it,” Head Coach Pat Noonan said after training Thursday. “But you saw from [Wednesday’s] performance, I think the guys did a good job in their preparation to be ready to play. Now it’s about assessing where guys are at.”
FC Cincinnati have been forced to be flexible with its roster over its most recent stretch, with an influx of games coming across competitions and the infusion of more midweek league games. But the increase in games has provided a boost of opportunity for players to leave their mark.
“The rotations (in the lineup) haven’t been from poor performances. It’s just been trying to make sure we’re not overdoing some guys with their minutes on short turnarounds,” Noonan said of the recent changes to the starting lineup. “So we’ll see how everybody comes through…and what makes sense as far as getting fresh legs on the field.”
With a win on Saturday night, FC Cincinnati would continue its 10-game streak of earning points in MLS matches (8-0-2) and improve on their Supporters’ Shield-leading record of 13-1-4 with 43 points.
FC CINCINNATI at D.C. UNITED – SATURDAY, JUNE 24, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. ET – AUDI FIELD
Stream (FREE): MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
TV Talent (English): Jenn Hildreth (play-by-play), Lori Lindsey (analyst)
TV Talent (Spanish): Diego Pessolano (play-by-play), Luis Gerardo Bucci (analyst)
Radio: ESPN 1530
Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play), Omar Cummings (analyst)
D.C. United leads the all-time series with Cincinnati 4-2-3, but in recent history, it has been all FCC. After being unable to secure a victory in the first seven matches with United, FC Cincinnati have earned three points in each of the club’s previous two meetings, including a 2-1 victory earlier this season at TQL Stadium and a 5-2 stomping on Decision Day 2022 at Audi Field, securing a playoff spot for the Orange and Blue.
FC CINCINNATI NOTES
Comfort on the road – In eight away matches, FC Cincinnati have earned points in all but one, going 3-1-4 for 13 points on the road marking the second most away points earned in MLS this season; trailing only Orlando City SC, whose 4-2-2 away record has earned them 14 points.
With an FC Cincinnati win and a Orlando loss or draw, FCC could surpass Nashville as MLS’ top away point-getter this weekend.
Captain Cashing In – FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta became the second player in club history to score in four consecutive MLS matches with his 54th-minute goal Wednesday against Toronto FC. His eight goals since the beginning of May are the second most scored in MLS behind Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar (10).
With the goal and assist he earned in Wednesday’s match, Acosta became the eighth active MLS player with 50 goals and 50 assists.
Having the first say – FC Cincinnati has allowed the first goal in a game just once this season (April 15 at St. Louis). Meanwhile, every other team in MLS has conceded first in a league game at least five different times in 2023.
Golden double header – FC Cincinnati defender Matt Miazga and forward Brandon Vazquez will play with the USMNT as they begin their 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup matches Saturday night. The USMNT’s Group A opener kicks off at 9:30 p.m. Saturday night against Jamaica from Soldier Field in Chicago, approximately two hours after FCC’s kickoff in Washington, D.C. The game will be broadcast on FS1 and Univision.
Miazga and Vazquez could miss as many as six games, depending on how far the USMNT advance in the competition.
SCOUTING D.C. UNITED (6-8-5, 23 PTS., 9TH EASTERN CONFERENCE)
D.C. United comes into the weekend match fresh and in desperate need of a positive result. United currently sits tied for ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points, owning the potential playoff tiebreaker on goal differential over Charlotte FC and just three points ahead of Chicago Fire.
In their last league outing, D.C. hosted Real Salt Lake, falling 2-1 to the visitors. United midfielder Steve Birnbaum was assessed a red card in the 26th minute, forcing the home side to play a man down for most of the match. The loss was their second in as many weeks.
32-year-old striker Christian Benteke leads the United offense, securing eight goals for the club and leading the team in shots with 56. The designated player has not scored in either of D.C.’s two most recent games. Polish central midfielder Mateusz Klich leads the club with six assists and has scored twice.
Tyler Miller has been the lone goalkeeper of record for D.C. United in MLS play, starting all 19 of the club’s league matches. With a save success rate of 65.3%, Miller has earned five clean sheets this season, and his 49 saves are tied for 11th most in MLS.
English superstar Wayne Rooney leads D.C. United, joining the club as Head Coach on July 12, 2022. Rooney signed with United as a designated player in 2018 and played 48 matches for the Black-and-Red, scoring 23 goals. Between stints with United as player and manager, Rooney served as manager for Derby County in the English Football Championship.