FC Cincinnati is improving on the field but isn’t getting the breaks or results right now. That makes Thursday’s match at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC additionally concerning.
NYCFC is undefeated in its last nine matches and FC Cincinnati’s lost eight of its last nine.
Some of the trends in the box score and stat sheets don’t look good from an FC Cincinnati perspective, but a slump-busting victory might not be as far out of reach as you’d think.
Here’s what FC Cincinnati needs to do to leave Yankees Stadium with a win:
• Continue playing your game. FC Cincinnati, for long stretches, was enjoyable to watch on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids. The match ended in a loss but Cincinnati was, by many measures, the better team. They certainly played the better style of soccer, and that’s been a week-over-week trend dating back to the New York Red Bulls match on May 25. There likely wasn’t much room for tactical improvements this week with a short turnaround for the Thursday visit to the Bronx, but if FCC can come close to replicating its performance of Saturday, it’ll be a good match.
•Everyone needs to be ready. Between injuries, personnel movement and international call-ups for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, FC Cincinnati’s ranks have thinned in recent days. On Tuesday, FC Cincinnati had 20 players available during the portion of training media were permitted to watch. One of those players (Fatai Alashe) worked off to the side, so he might still be questionable health wise. FC Cincinnati also had all three of its goalkeepers training, and only two will travel to New York City. On Saturday, Corben Bone and Kekuta Manneh (goal in the 72nd minute) were very solid off the bench. Interim head coach Yoann Damet needs more of that kind of energy off the bench.
• Forget about the field. Everyone talks about the soccer field that NYCFC crowbars into Yankee Stadium. It’s a narrow pitch on an inconsistent surface, but FC Cincinnati’s players, whether they be USL holdovers or MLS veterans, are almost all used to playing on this kind of surface. So, don’t think about it. Just play. You’ve been there before.
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