On New Year’s Eve, an interesting stat made its rounds throughout social media praising FC Cincinnati and New York Red Bulls alike.
In 2018, the two teams had the best points-per-match averages in the USL and MLS. FCC averaged 2.3; NYRB averaged 2.1.
2.3 - FC Cincinnati averaged 2.3 points per game in league play in 2018, the most of any #MLS or #USL club.@fccincinnati - 2.3@NewYorkRedBulls - 2.1@ATLUTD - 2.0@orangecountysc and @loucityfc - 1.9— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) December 31, 2018
Rising. #Opta2018 pic.twitter.com/8qiEkS6i91
Things have changed, obviously.
For the Orange and Blue, they have for the better. Now, they’re an MLS club a quarter of the way through their first season in the league. Eight matches into 2019, they’re three points of out a playoff spot.
While they’re not winning as much as in USL, they’re playing at a higher level of soccer and showing they belong.
As for the Red Bulls, things changed negatively.
Entering Saturday night’s fixture between the club’s New York are second-worst in the MLS Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, FC Cincinnati haven’t won in four matches and have produced a single goal point from the spell.
“We have had opportunities at goal,” midfielder Allan Cruz said. “We’re creating. We’ve had possession of the ball. We’ve always played towards goal. There, we need to be calmer in finishing, but I feel that we are going on the right path. ”
So, in short: Saturday is a massive opportunity for both clubs.
“Red Bull are having a little bit of a challenging start to the season, so we want to go in and make the most of the opportunity,” Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch said. “Three points are on the table in every game you play. They’ll be three points available here, too.”
FC Cincinnati at New York Red Bulls
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Red Bull Arena
Weather Forecast: Mostly cloudy, 60 degrees
TV: WSTR Star64
Local Video Steam: FloFC
Out of Market Video Steam: ESPN+
Local Radio: WDJO (99.5. FM | 107.9 FM | 1480 AM)
Audio Stream: TuneIn App, fccincinnati.com
Player to Watch and his Health Carousel Player Resume:
Opponent’s Player to Watch: forward Bradley Wright-Phillips
Anyone at the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup match between the clubs at Nippert Stadium will remember BWP. The English forward scored two goals against FCC in the cup semifinal, which Cincinnati lost 3-2 in extra time. Wright-Phillips scored the game-winning goal in the 101st minute.
BWP has one goal this season. Overall, he’s scored 107 goals and provided 25 assists and 177 MLS games.
- Hassan Ndam played for New York Red Bulls II in 2017 and 2018. FC Cincinnati drafted him from New York Red Bulls with the No. 5 pick in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft.
- Eric Alexander played for the Red Bulls in 2013 and 2014.
- Alan Koch scouted and helped Vancouver Whitecaps FC draft Tim Parker in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. In 2015 and 2016, Parker was in the organization with Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks, Spencer Richey and Kendall Waston. In 2017, he was with Richey and Waston.
- Alvas Powell played with Aaron Long in 2014 with the Portland Timbers.
- Caleb Stanko played at SC Freiburg in 2012 with Amro Tarek.
- Powell and Mattocks have played with Kemar Lawrence on the Jamaica National Team.
- Technical Director Luke Sassano helped sign Connor Lade on loan to the New York Cosmos in 2014. Sassano was the club’s Assistant Technical Director.