Atlanta United FC vs. Cincinnati FC Match Day Guide
Where: Nippert Stadium Cincinnati, Ohio
When: 7:30 P.M.
Where to watch or listen: ESPN+, Fox Sports South, 92.9 FM
Cincinnati FC Preview: Cincinnati are the newest team to join MLS and haven’t had the crazy successful start Atlanta United had, but have proven that they can still win some games with their tactical approach and fierce competitiveness. They have one win in their past 5 games, winning in Montreal. They are bottom of the table and have let in a staggering 72 goals this year, most in the MLS, including in 15 goals in their past 5 games. They have however scored in all those games which is a good sign for them. They are playing at home which has proven to be an advantage with a fan base that still heavily supports their team. They have 30 goals and 20 of those have been assisted showing they are about team goals and less about individual efforts. They lead scorer is Emmanuel Ledesma, a talented Argentine attacker with 6 goals and 4 assists in only 22 games. This team is very good at sitting back and absorbing pressure if they can get out on the front foot and score first. They did this against their last opponent, and it led to a win. Formation wise they play a 4-2-3-1 with a flat back four and 2 central midfielders controlling the center of the pitch. This is somewhat similar to United as it’s the same formation they played last week against the Crew. There will also be a very familiar face on this team to many Atlanta fans and that is Greg Garza. Our old defender has made his way to this team through the MLS supplemental draft. Overall, I expect this team to come out hungry to try and get a second win in a row and to really put the press on United to play quickly hoping to force and early mistake.
Atlanta United Preview: We have clinched a spot in the playoffs but not in the way most fans would have wanted to see. Thanks to Cincinnati winning against Montreal we are in. It was an oddly poor performance from the defense last time out, including Miles Robinson who had a horrendous own goal. Now this team needs to get back on track and figure out how to get the energy back into the team. They still have a +12 goal differential which is one of the best in the league but their mental lapses are getting more noticeable. This team needs to always stay on the front foot. The last game was very similar in the way they lost to Philadelphia by scoring first then coming out flat in the 2nd half. One major key to this game will be to come out and play a fast 2nd half and really attack even if we are winning. Earlier in the year we tied this team 1-1 at home which was again a bad game from everyone. This result will not stand this time and we have 1 game in hand so if we are to try and top the conference for a bye week, we need this win badly. One player to spotlight will be Darlington Nagbe, and although his stats are not great on paper, it’s what he does that doesn’t show up on a stat sheet that makes him a valuable part in United’s plans. His calmness on the ball and effortless passing makes him indispensable. He will be key in getting the team to get their heads straight and put the loss behind them. Overall this team needs to let go and just play the fast-free flowing style they love to play and finish the chances the first time they have them.
Prediction: Atlanta 4 Cincinnati 1 – Atlanta goes out and keeps their foot on the gas and proves that they are still a force to watch out for come the playoffs