Preview: FC Cincinnati (a).
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
When? Saturday October 16, 4.30 p.m. PT, 7.30 p.m. ET and 00:30 BST (17/10).
Where? West End Stadium, Cincinnati, OH.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast on MLS Live on ESPN+ and DAZN for residents of the United States. The game will also be broadcast on Fox 35 Plus and LionNation TV for residents of the Central Florida region. Radio broadcast will also be available via 104.1 Real Radio, Accion 97.9 FM and 810 AM. The game is not currently scheduled for UK broadcast.
Who doesn't love a game against Cincinnati? The Lions have enjoyed some success against Cincy, who recently relieved Jaap Stam of his managerial duties. It's been another turbulent season for the Ohio based club, a club that currently sit afoot the eastern conference standings. The MLS' basement club have been the whipping boys of the entire league. In fact, only Austin has more defeats overall, with Los Verde chalking up 17 defeats to Cincinatti's 16. In many ways, a trip to Ohio is exactly what Orlando City need right now. Our hosts have yet to register a victory against the Lions. A win for Orlando would go some way to giving them some breathing space in the race for a home play-off berth.
FC Cincinnati's style
There's no way to be kind about this, but Cincinatti have had a terrible season. This is a team that Orlando City should be sweeping aside. That being said, however, this is MLS. Anything can happen.
This is a team that has lost 9 of its last 10 games and has conceded 24 goals during that time. Their XGa rating of 1.8 per game is the worst in MLS, as is their record of 54 goals conceded. They've kept 6 clean sheets from 28 games on the season, with only 1 in their last 10. This is a team that has only chalked up 1 win in their last 19 games. In fact, they've won only once at home all season, chalking up 5 draws and 7 defeats (figure 1).
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In terms of playing style, it's difficult to truly discern what this team is about. Except for getting their proverbial arses kicked every week. Tyrone Marshall has been promoted from the youth set-up on an interim basis, in the wake of Staam's removal. He will be hoping to revive their fortunes. All that being said, they're a team that that likes to attack down the flanks, particularly the left; 45% of their attacks in their most recent defeat came down that side. Castillo attacks quite high, which allows Barreal to cut inside (figure 2).
They also try to play out from the back, favouring a short passing style. This leaves them vulnerable to a high press, which is something the Philadelphia Union profited from last time out.
Figure 1 shows FC Cincinnati's form statistics on the season so far.
Figure 2 shows the average positioning matrix for Cincinnati from their recent loss to Philadelphia. Castillo (2) and Barreal (31) both push high.
According to the MLS injury report, Cincinnati will be without both Maikel van der Werff and Joe Gyau due to injury.
Orlando City meanwhile have been boosted by the return of Sebas Mendez (although he and Gallese are doubts - int duty) in recent weeks, and look set for another injury boost in the form of Alexandre Pato. The Brazilian striker is back in full training and has hinted at an imminent return on Twitter. Uri Rosell is currently listed as questionable, as is Chris Mueller (although Mueller was obviously involved against DC).
EDIT: Pato is available for selection, this has been confirmed by Oscar Pareja.
Possible starting XI
It's difficult to predict exactly how this team is going to line-up, particularly as they've rotated rather heavily of late. However, I believe they'll line-up a little something like this, based on recent squads. I think former Nottingham Forest 5th choice central defender Tyler Blackett takes his place in defence. Brenner and Luciano Acosta will likely feature in attack:
Whilst the Brazilian hasn't exactly torn Major League Soccer to shreds, he's still the Ohio based club's biggest threat. His 7 goals and 1 assist in 28 games highlight his potential. Unfortunately for him, this team has never clicked into gear. His pace and trickery can cause problems for any MLS defence on his day. Orlando will need to keep close eyes on him.
FC Cincinnati have been in dreadful form, losing 9 of their last 10. They are 4-8-16 on the season, and currently prop up the eastern conference.
Orlando City, on the other hand, halted their recent slump with that last-gasp win over DC United. Orlando are currently 11-9-8, and sit 4th in the east.
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