FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan says he is delighted with the defensive resilience his side have shown during a four-game winning run, as they look to extend their fine form against the New England Revolution.
Cincinnati overcame Chicago Fire 2-1 last time out, and sit sixth in the Eastern Conference standings after 12 games after extending their club-record winning streak.
While Noonan is aware his team can still improve their attacking returns, he highlighted the importance of their defensive organization during their strong run.
“We’re still not sharp enough with the ball, that’s what’s having us grind out these results in ways where we can’t really create enough late in games to be able to play higher up the field,” he said. “But our defensive mentality is excellent.
“That just speaks to the guys, it’s a mentality. They’re figuring out how to do this as a group with a lot of different players contributing to us being able to win some games.
“In this stretch, it’s been necessary for us to understand how to defend longer stretches when our quality with the ball isn’t there. But that’s the character of the group right now, understanding how to win when things aren’t going our way.”
Bruce Arena’s Revs drew with Atlanta United last time out to extend their unbeaten streak to three MLS games, and he believes the team can build upon that foundation in the coming games.
“I think we’re prepared to have a good last two-thirds of the season, we’re through around a third of the season now.
“I think we’re well positioned to move forward and hopefully win a lot more games.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta
Luciano Acosta, who scored the winning goal on Saturday against Chicago, has been involved in a goal in each of his last five MLS games. No player in club history had gone more than three straight games with a goal contribution before Acosta’s run.
New England Revolution – Adam Buska
Adam Buksa, who scored both goals for New England on Sunday, has scored in five straight MLS matches, the longest streak by any player this season. Only two players in Revs history have scored in more than five straight regular season games: Wolde Harris (seven) in 2000 and Taylor Twellman (six) in 2002.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Cincinnati defeated New England, 2-0, in the first meeting between the sides in March 2019, but New England has won the three league matches since by a combined score of 7-1. Buksa scored three of the seven goals, including two in a 4-1 victory in the last meeting last August.
– Cincinnati extended a club-record winning streak to four games with a 2-1 victory at Chicago on Saturday.
– With 19 points through 12 games, Cincinnati are one point away from equaling its points total from the entire 2021 season.
– The Revolution’s 2-2 draw at Atlanta on Sunday was the sixth straight MLS game in which New England have scored twice.
– The six straight games with multiple goals equals a club record, though the Revs have managed just two wins in those six games (D2 L2).