After an emotional and heartbreaking elimination in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday, FC Cincinnati returned to TQL Stadium to continue their chase for the Supporters’ Shield. The Orange and Blue will look to get back to their winning ways, hosting New York City FC.
“You gotta dig deep in moments like this,” FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan said after losing to Columbus Crew and Inter Miami CF in one week. “It’s two losses, but it’s two important losses…how we come out of this is up to us.”
FC Cincinnati have not lost back-to-back matches in MLS play all season and are 1-0-1 following a loss.
With 10 games left in the MLS season, every match matters as The Orange and Blue look to secure the Supporters’ Shield. FCC owns a seven-point lead in Supporters’ Shield standings entering Saturday’s fixture and an eight-point lead in the Eastern Conference.
“We have to keep fighting, we have to take it game by game,” FCC midfielder Álvaro Barreal said of the team’s continued battle for trophies. “We’re in a very good way at the top of the table … but we keep fighting because we know we have more to go for.”
FC Cincinnati will be without at least one key starter for Saturday’s match. Obinna Nwobodo will serve his suspension for yellow card accumulation.
FC CINCINNATI v.s. New York City FC – Saturday, August, 26, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. ET – TQL Stadium
Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
TV Talent (English): Keith Costigan (PxP), Maurice Edu (Analyst)
TV Talent (Spanish): Alejandro Figueredo (PxP), Jaime Macias (Analyst
Radio: Fox Sports 1360
Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (PxP), Jeff Larentowicz (Analyst)
The Orange and Blue are undefeated in their last four matchups with New York City FC, going 2-0-2 against The Pigeons over the previous two seasons. FC Cincinnati have won both meetings between the clubs this season, winning 3-1 in their most recent league match and eliminating NYCFC in the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 win.
Prior to 2022, FC Cincinnati did not earn a point against NYCFC in six matches.
FC CINCINNATI NOTES
Three for Three – A win on Saturday would be the first time FC Cincinnati defeat an opponent in three matches in the same season across all competitions. It would also be the fifth time The Orange and Blue swept an opponent in MLS play.
It will be the 13th time that FCC plays an opponent for a third time in a season.
Struggles in August – The eighth month of the year has not been friendly to FC Cincinnati. In 18 MLS matches all-time, The Orange and Blue own a 1-8-9 record in August, the fewest wins of any month with more than three games played.
The club's lone August win came on August 6, 2022, when FC Cincinnati defeated Philadelphia Union in a 3-1 match at TQL Stadium.
The Fortress – FC Cincinnati’s home ground, TQL Stadium, has been a fortress for The Orange and Blue. In addition to being sold out 11 times this season, FCC have collected 34 of 36 possible points at home by earning an 11-0-1 record in league play at home.
On short rest – Saturday's match will mark the 13th time FC Cincinnati have played with two days rest since the beginning of the 2022 season. Across all competitions, FCC is 8-1-3 when playing on short rest.
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), second in goals+assists (20), and seventh in assists (8).
Acosta also leads MLS in total attacking assists with 58. A stat that tracks how many shots are created directly from passes from a player.
SCOUTING New York City FC (5-9-11, 26 PTS., 13th MLS EASTERN CONFERENCE.)
NYCFC have struggled in MLS play, having not earned a win in four matches. Draws have been the most common outcome for New York City FC, as since FC Cincinnati visited The Bronx on May 31, NYCFC has a record of 1-2-7.
With 25 games played this season, New York City has played the most league matches of any club thus far.
In their return match to MLS last Sunday, The Pigeons fell in a 2-0 loss to Minnesota United FC at Citi Field. It was their first match in 17 days after being eliminated in the round of 32 of the Leagues Cup.
Midfielder Gabriel Pereira leads the NYCFC attack, tallying six goals and three assists in 22 games played this season. Since joining the club in 2022, the Brazilian has tallied a team-high 14 goals over two seasons in MLS play. Dutch side PSV Eindhoven loanee Richard Ledezma leads the team in assists with five, doing so in just 18 games played.
Goalkeeper Luis Barraza has started 23 matches for The Pigeons. With 28 goals against, the American has allowed the ninth fewest goals among keepers with 20 or more starts this season. His 59 saves are also good for 15th most among MLS goalkeepers this season.
English head coach Nick Cushing leads NYCFC; he is the fifth head coach to manage the Bronx side. After taking over in the middle of the 2022 MLS season, Cushing has led the team to a 15-16-18 record since taking over. Before taking over as head coach, Cushing served as an assistant for the club from 2020 to 2022. Before joining NYCFC, he led the Manchester City women's side from 2013 to 2022.