Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (1-0-1, 4 points) and FC Cincinnati (0-2-0, 0 points) at Exploria Stadium. It’s the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season and the only match-up in Orlando. The Lions will head to Cincinnati for the return leg on June 24.
Here’s what you need to know.
Orlando City leads the all-time series, 3-0-2, with a 2-0-0 mark at home. The Lions have won those two home matches by a combined score of 8-1.
The two most recent meetings came at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati. The last was on Oct. 16, 2021, when Orlando City got its first road victory in the series with a 1-0 win on Junior Urso’s goal in the 13th minute. Tesho Akindele should have scored a second off the crossbar late in the game but the play was never reviewed despite appearing that the ball was completely across the line. On Aug. 7, 2021, the match in Cincinnati ended up in a 1-1 draw. Nani’s strike rescued a point after Brenner had opened the scoring for the hosts just before halftime, taking advantage of an obviously injured Uri Rosell, who subbed off moments later.
The first of the three meetings in 2021 came on May 21 in Orlando, with the Lions posting a 3-0 win. Akindele scored in the first minute and Nani and Urso each added a goal. As is the case this season, that home game against FCC came in Orlando’s third match of the year.
In Orlando’s first trip to the banks of the Ohio River, the match ended in a 1-1 draw at Nippert Stadium 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 1-0-0 at home on the young season, while FC Cincinnati is 0-1-0 on the road. The Lions have yet to concede in 2022 and FC Cincinnati has yet to score, but tonight’s visitors did manage to draw Orlando 2-2 in the preseason. Make of all of that what you will, but it always makes me nervous when one team hasn’t done something and is playing a team that hasn’t allowed that thing to happen. Since neither of these teams scored last week (well, one of them did, but it was stupidly pulled back), it wouldn’t surprise me to see a high-scoring game.
Cincinnati, which will be facing Orlando for the first time since hiring Pat Noonan as head coach, has gifted offensive players who are especially dangerous in transition. Luciano Acosta, Brenner, Dominique Badji, and Brandon Vazquez are the danger men in the Cincinnati attack and Orlando will need to be aware of them at all times because they can make something out of nothing. Acosta is particularly troublesome because he’s good at winning duels and jump-starting the counter attack.
“I think is a rival that is looking for their form,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said of FC Cincinnati. “It has a new coach and is a team that has not had good results, but especially in the last game they did play well. We have a lot of respect for Cincinnati and the best way to do it is to perform the best we can. The preparation during the week has been first class for the players. We came from Chicago very optimistic. At the same time, the adversity that we had there with the call that the referee made — and it was a very bad call — but we overcame (it) already and we’re prepared for the next game.”
Orlando City winger Silvester van der Water (MLS health and safety protocols) is questionable for the match. Cincinnati will be missing John Nelson (back) and Beckham Sunderland (concussion protocol), while Ronald Matarrita (leg) and Gustavo Vallecilla (leg) are questionable.
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.
- Our Dave Rohe listed his three keys to an Orlando City win in this match.
- Our newest writer, Josh Munsey, gives his scouting report on FC Cincinnati.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Junior Urso, Cesar Araujo.
Attacking Midfielders: Alexandre Pato, Mauricio Pereyra, Facundo Torres.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Kyle Smith, Rodrigo Schlegel, Thomas Williams, Joey DeZart, Sebas Mendez, Benji Michel, Tesho Akindele, Jack Lynn.
FC Cincinnati (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: Alec Kann.
Defenders: Tyler Blackett, Geoff Cameron, Nick Hagglund.
Midfielders: Ian Murphy, Junior Moreno, Yuya Kubo, Alvas Powell.
Forwards: Dominique Badji. Luciano Acosta, Brandon Vazquez.
Bench: Kenneth Vermeer, Zico Bailey, Calvin Harris, Haris Medunjanin, Isaac Atanga, Nicholas Markanich, Alvaro Barreal, Arquimides Ordonez, Harrison Robledo.
Ref: Chris Penso.
AR1: CJ Morgante.
AR2: Cameron Blanchard.
4th: Nima Saghafi.
VAR: Alejandro Mariscal.
AVAR: Nick Uranga.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only), ESPN+ (out of market only).
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (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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