Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (8-4-5, 29 points) and FC Cincinnati (3-7-6, 15 points) at TQL Stadium. It’s the first meeting between the teams in this venue and only the second ever clash in Cincinnati. It’s also the second of three scheduled match-ups this season. The two sides will meet again in TQL Stadium on Oct. 16.
Both teams played in the midweek, with Orlando City playing to a 1-1 draw with Inter Miami and FC Cincinnati playing a scoreless away draw against the New York Red Bulls.
Orlando City leads the all-time series, 2-0-1. The most recent meeting came at Exploria Stadium in Orlando on May 21, with the Lions posting a 3-0 win. Tesho Akindele scored in the first minute and Nani and Junior Urso each added a goal.
The last meeting in Cincinnati was a 1-1 draw at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati on Sept. 29, 2019. Benji Michel’s goal in stoppage time avoided what would have been an embarrassing road loss to a dreadful FCC side after Allan Cruz had given the hosts a lead. The draw officially eliminated Orlando City from playoff contention that year, but realistically the Lions had been out of it for a while.
The first ever meeting between the two sides took place on May 19, 2019, when the Lions pummeled the expansion side, 5-1. Both Nani and Akindele bagged braces in the match and Dom Dwyer added a goal as well.
The Lions are 3-3-2 in away games in 2021 but 2-3-2 in away games that aren’t held in Exploria Stadium. Cincinnati is 0-3-3 in its new home and has played 10 of its 16 games on the road in 2021. Orlando is unbeaten in its last two games overall (1-0-1) but is winless in its last three away matches (0-2-1). Cincinnati has drawn its last three home matches after losing its first three, but FCC has not scored in three matches despite managing a pair of 0-0 draws in that span against the Red Bulls and D.C. United. Jaap Stam’s team seems to be playing solid defensively with the addition of Geoff Cameron.
Orlando City will have to be patient offensively — likely with a heavily rotated squad. It’s possible that Daryl Dike will return to the lineup and both Tesho Akindele and Silvester van der Water could start after coming off the bench on Wednesday. This seems like the kind of game that Oscar Pareja might give Mauricio Pereyra and Nani the night off or have them on the bench.
Luciano Acosta and Brenner are the most dangerous players in the Cincinnati attack and Orlando will need to be aware of them at all times because both players can make something out of nothing. Acosta leads FCC in both goals (4) and assists (3), while fullback Ronald Matarrita also has three assists and will look to get forward and send in dangerous balls from the left. That could leave room for Ruan to roam forward into the wide spaces on the counter.
“It’ll be an important one for us to pick up three points (and) kind of get that upward trend and trajectory going again,” Orlando City goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar said about the match. “So we’ll go out with everything and go for three points as normal.”
Orlando’s availability report lists Antonio Carlos as questionable in concussion protocol, while Pedro Gallese and Alexandre Pato are questionable with lower body injuries. Sebas Mendez is out, also with a lower body injury. Joao Moutinho is not on the availability report despite not being in the game day lineup for the past two matches.
FC Cincinnati lists Edgar Castillo (ankle) as questionable, while Zico Bailey (hip), Calvin Harris (knee), and Maikel van der Werff (sports hernia) are all listed as out.
Mandatory Match Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more info about FC Cincinnati from Bryan Weigel of Cincinnati Soccer Talk.
- This week’s PawedCast features our key match-ups and score predictions for tonight’s match.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.
Defenders: Emmanuel Mas, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Kyle Smith.
Defensive Midfielders: Uri Rosell, Junior Urso.
Attacking Midfielders: Benji Michel, Mauricio Pereyra, Chris Mueller.
Forward: Tesho Akindele.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Ruan, Joao Moutinho, Joey DeZart, Andres Perea, David Loera, Alexander Alvarado, Nani, Silvester van der Water.
FC Cincinnati (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Kenneth Vermeer.
Defenders: Ronald Matarrita, Gustavo Vallecilla, Geoff Cameron, Nick Hagglund.
Defensive Midfielders: Joe Gyau, Allan Cruz.
Attacking Midfielders: Luciano Acost, Yuya Kubo, Alvaro Barreal.
Bench: Przemyslaw Tyton, Edgar Castillo, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Caleb Stanko, Haris Medunjanin, Floria Valot, Isaac Atanga, Brandon Vazquez, Arquimides Ordonez.
Ref: Fotis Bazakos.
AR1: Peter Balciunas.
AR2: Peter Manikowski.
4th: Matthew Franz.
VAR: David Gantar.
AVAR: Jeffrey Swartzel.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: TQL Stadium — Cincinnati, OH.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Accion 97.9 FM & 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market) and on the LionNation app.
Enjoy the match. Go City!
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