FC Cincinnati-United Preview

National Sports

Hernan Losada has vowed to continue playing with an exciting style of football, despite D.C. United’s MLS Cup Playoff hopes taking a hit with a defeat to Atlanta United last week.

The Black and Red fell to a 3-2 loss at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in an entertaining contest, ending a three-game unbeaten run that had seen them take seven points from a possible nine.

United is one point outside the Eastern Conference playoffs ahead of Saturday’s visit of lowly FC Cincinnati, which has lost five of its last six matches.

Losada has implemented a new tactical setup during his first eight months in charge and sees no reason to go back to the drawing board after another setback.

“I would rather lose playing the way we played today than parking the bus, playing defensive and nasty football,” he said. “We traveled to Atlanta to win. At the end, we got nothing, but this sport always gives you revenge, and there are still a lot of points to earn and games to play.”

Cincinnati has endured a difficult campaign under Jaap Stam, collecting just 20 points from 24 matches. Only Austin FC (19) and Toronto FC (18) have fewer in the whole of MLS this term.

The Orange and Blue were beaten 2-1 by New York City FC last week in a match they led, and Stam is disappointed that his side did not assert its authority.

“We knew we were facing a team that can play good football, but we didn’t need to have too much respect for the opposition. We need to also show ourselves,” he said. “Sometimes I can understand, but we spoke before the game about finding the moment to press the opponent high up the pitch and make it more difficult for them. When you’re not doing that you can see it becomes a difficult game.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

D.C. United – Edinson Flores

Ola Kamara remains United’s most important player, though Losada will be pleased to see others chip in with goals in what is set to be a frantic race for a top-seven finish.

Flores was introduced from the bench against Atlanta and was on the scoresheet late on, the Peruvian midfielder netting for the second time this term to go with his two assists.

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

Acosta has been directly involved in 12 goals this season, but he was unable to make an impact in the defeats to Atlanta United and New York City last week.

Facing off against former side United this weekend, the 27-year-old will be extra motivated to put that right, especially after coming so close to scoring in the most recent meeting.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– D.C. United is unbeaten in its five MLS matches against FC Cincinnati (W2 D3). All three of the draws between the sides, including one on July 31, have ended scoreless. This is the only matchup in MLS to have three scoreless draws since the start of the 2019 season.

– United has won six of its last seven home matches (L1), including the last two in a row. D.C. had won just six of its previous 22 at home (D6 L10) dating back to the end of June 2019.

– Cincinnati is winless in seven straight on the road (D2 L5), conceding 20 goals in those matches. Cincinnati has allowed at least three goals in five of its last six away matches, including the last three in a row.

– Ola Kamara added his fourth assist of the season in United’s loss to Atlanta last week to go along with his league-high 16 goals. The 20 goals Kamara has been involved in this season are tied for second-most in MLS.

– Brenner’s fourth-minute goal against New York City FC last week was the eighth time Cincinnati has scored in the first 15 minutes this season, tied with D.C. United and Houston for most in MLS. One-third of Cincinnati’s 24 goals have been scored in the first quarter-hour, the highest percentage in the league.

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