PREVIEW | In top of the table clash, FC Cincinnati face off with Inter Miami CF to start three-match home stand


In a matchup between the two top clubs in the MLS Supporters’ Shield table, FC Cincinnati will host Inter Miami CF to TQL Stadium Saturday night in a match that will shake up the table regardless of outcome.

With both clubs coming off midweek road victories, FC Cincinnati enter the match with the slight advantage in terms of availability. While recent injuries to the defensive core have left FCC Head Coach Pat Noonan looking for answers, the return of Miles Robinson has revitalized the group and provided new options to lean on in important moments.

“He's a strong player and wants to help our group,” Noonan said of Robinson Friday morning after describing the defender's performance as excellent on Wednesday night. “I think we'll rely on centrally but there's also scenarios where we've seen Kipp (Keller) in there, so it's just trying to find the strongest group and then find consistency…but I do think in this moment, him being central is going to be beneficial for the group as a whole.”

FC Cincinnati have, in the past, never shied away from big moments and important matches. Oftentimes raising their performance and quality to the brighter lights of big matches. Results have always fallen their way, but matches against CF Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions Cup and the noted Hell is Real rivalry match with Columbus Crew have been some of the club’s best performances this season. Saturday night against the top of the table Miami side, who only sits there because of an extra game played, provides the next opportunity.

“This was a game that was always going to be talked about,” Noonan said of the challenge. “Both groups are living up to expectations and knowing the timing of it, knowing we're gonna see him again at the end of August… So based on where both teams are we’ve talked about the implications of it.”

“We want to be at the top of the league. We want to be at the top of the conference when the season ends and be playing in front of our home fans. To do that, you have to win games like this, and I think (our guys) understand that.This is going to be a meaningful game.”

For FC Cincinnati defender DeAndre Yedlin, the reunion with his old club may place him in front of familiar faces, but the task at hand remains clear.

“I'm excited to play against my former teammates. I've never played against those guys before,” Yedlin added Friday morning. “It'll be a good first experience for me. Obviously with the situation with where we're both at in the table and how well we're both doing, I think it adds another element. But at the end of the day it's another opportunity to get three points, and that's what we're looking at.

“That is my club…it's my home now. So I definitely want to come out on top and come out with three points.”

After a series of games on the road in recent weeks, the match Saturday marks the start of three home games at TQL Stadium for The Orange and Blue. Next hosting Charlotte FC and Chicago Fire before traveling to New York to play the Red Bulls before pausing league play for the 2024 edition of Leagues Cup.

FC Cincinnati vs Inter Miami CF – Saturday, July 06, 2024 – 7:30 p.m. ET – TQL Stadium

Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

TV Talent (English, Apple): Jake Zivien (PxP), Taylor Twellman (Analyst)
TV Talent (Spanish, Apple): Rodolfo Landeros (PXP), Marcelo Balboa (Analysis)

Radio: ESPN 1530

Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (PXP), Kevin McCloskey (Analyst)

Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the game.

All-time vs Inter Miami CF

This will be the 10th all-time meeting between FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami CF. FC Cincinnati is 3-4-2 against The Herons and defeated them in their last meeting 1-0 at Inter Miami’s home grounds last October.

The last meeting between the two at TQL Stadium though left the home fans with heartbreak as FC Cincinnati fell in penalty kicks in the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals.


Lucho Looking for 50 – MLS MVP and FC Cincinnati captain Luciano Acosta enters Saturday’s match with 49 goals and is looking to become the first player in club history to bag 50 goals. Acosta earlier this season entered the top 10 all-time in assists with 93 and would become just the eighth player all-time to reach the century mark when he earns seven more.

Flip the Page – Following another MLS midweek matchday, Saturday marks FCC’s third match in eight days. Under Head Coach Pat Noonan, the Orange and Blue have been strong when playing despite short rest. Since 2022, FC Cincinnati are 15-3-5 when playing a game just three days following another, across all competitions. Two of those three losses (6/24/23 at DC; 6/22/24 vs NE) came on Saturdays following midweek matchday’s when FCC had a Wednesday game but their opponent did not.

Top Two – Saturday’s heavyweight matchup between FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami CF comes with major Supporters’ Shield implications. Per Elias Sports, over the last 10 seasons, there have only been two matchups that featured the top-two teams in the Supporters’ Shield standings at least 21 games into the season. In September 2018, the New York Red Bulls (59 pts. entering the match) defeated Atlanta United (63 pts. entering the match) 2-0 in a battle of 1 vs 2. Saturday at TQL Stadium will be the second such matchup in the last 10 seasons.

Intergalactic – For the second-straight season, FC Cincinnati will have three All-Stars representing the club at the 2024 MLS All-Star Game. Luciano ‘Lucho’ Acosta earned his third-consecutive honor, while Miles Robinson and Luca Orellano earned the nod in their first seasons with FCC.

Talking Turf – While FC Cincinnati had been on the road, the turf team at TQL Stadium installed a new playing surface to see out the season. The Bermuda grass installed gives FC Cincinnati a fully new field surface for the first time in over three years.

Scouting Inter Miami CF (14-3-5, 47 points, 1st in Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield tables, W-W-W-W-T)

Despite being without notable stars in Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, Inter Miami CF have not missed a step and have found ways to win. Winners of their last four, The Herons have earned points in each of their last five and have only been defeated outright once since March 23 at the New York Red Bulls in Red Bull Arena.

Inter Miami will continue to be without its stars and will be even more hampered by suspension as two starters, Spanish winger Jordi Alba and Paraguayan midfielder Diego Gómez, will serve their yellow card accumulation suspensions in this match.

But the absence of stars does not make Inter Miami a team to overlook. With former Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year winner Tata Martino at the helm, Miami have found ways to win late and overcome long odds regularly.

“They have a very strong team,” Noonan said. “I know we all know what won't be on the field. That's certainly impactful…but then you look at the group what they have, and even though there's uncertainty with some of the positions and who they'll have out in the field, it's a very strong lineup that they're going to be able to put on the field. So by no means, does this make our group think that things get any easier. It's gonna be a very challenging game for different reasons, but I think the guys are looking forward to it.”

Of those available, Sergio Busquets is the lone star available from the additions that came in during last season's summer transfer window. Leo Campana, the clubs leading goal scorer of those currently available, has started as the center forward and continues to be consistent, scoring five times in 19 games this year. Homegrown player Benjamin Cremenschi has also stood out, scoring three times including the game winner on Wednesday in the 86 minute over Charlotte.

In their recent match, Inter Miami CF utilized a 4-4-3 formation with Sergii Kryvtsov and U22 initiative player Tomás Avilés in the middle of the defensive line. Drake Callender, an American goalkeeper who has regularly been called into USMNT camps, has been the steadfast starter for Miami since 2022. Callender has made 21 starts this season and conceded just 27 goals on 91 shots against him, but has not yet this year earned a clean sheet.

Miami’s offense this season has been prolific, scoring a league high 50 goals and +19 goal differential but are 15th in the league in goals conceded with 31. In 22 matches this season, have scored three times or more eight times and have been held scoreless just twice. Each of Miami’s last four games (all wins) however have finished with a 2-1 scoreline.

“They have a swagger about them. I think that's Miami in general,” former IMCF member and current FCC man DeAndre Yedlin said of his former club. “They have, obviously, the pink jerseys and now obviously, he’s not playing tomorrow, but one of the best to ever play the game. So they carry a swagger about them, and they're a really confident team. You can't count them out or let them get into the game because once they do that, and they build even more confidence, that's when they become really dangerous.”