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FC Cincinnati will be eager to extend their six-game unbeaten streak when they take the pitch against Nashville SC – a team they faced just before the MLS break arrived. During the six-game unbeaten streak, FC Cincinnati have been held to draws in the MLS by New England Revolution and Charlotte FC in two back-to-back games, but since then, the club has won four successive games, out of which only one win came on penalties and that was in the Leagues Cup group stage match against Sporting Kansas City.
To book a place in the Round of 16, Nashville SC will have to do something that only two teams have managed to do this season – beat FC Cincinnati. Only St. Louis City and DC United have clinched all three points against the league leaders. Nashville SC had two opportunities to replicate that outcome but failed on both occasions. Coach Gary Smith will highlight everything that went wrong in those two games and expect his side to succeed in their third attempt in a different competition.
Tactical tweaks for Nashville SC are imminent. However, it may not be enough to stop FC Cincinnati. The MLS leaders have been scintillating in every competition they have played in this season and will be too hot to handle for Nashville SC.
The FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC fixture boasts a peculiar record. The two sides have only met ten times in the past, and six of those games have ended in draws. Of the remaining four, FC Cincinnati won two, and the other two went in favor of Nashville SC.
Nashville SC were unbeaten against FC Cincinnati before meeting them this season. Both wins for FC Cincinnati in this fixture came earlier this season in the MLS. Meanwhile, Nashville SC’s two wins came in the MLS 2021 season.
In that season, at home, Nashville SC nabbed a comfortable 3-0 win courtesy of a brace from Charles Sapong and a solitary strike from Randall Leal. The reverse fixture was a nine-goal thriller that handed Nashville SC all three points.
Sapong and Leal were back on the scoresheet with two goals each, and Walker Zimmerman and Ake Arnaud Loba scored the other two goals as Nashville SC came from 3-1 down to win 6-3 at the TQL Stadium.
After performing exceptionally well in the domestic league, FC Cincinnati are sitting at the top of the table. They headed into the break with a commanding eight-point lead over second-placed New England Revolution.
Performing well in every tournament they are a part of, FC Cincinnati have lost just one of the last 21 matches in all competitions. Eager to reach the Round of 16 of the Leagues Cup, the club is now focused on this tournament.
After that, the focus will shift to the US Open Cup, where a semi-final encounter with Inter Miami is scheduled to kick off later this month. If things go well, FC Cincinnati could win their maiden MLS title and could also bag a couple more trophies during the season.
The competition may be different, but the mentality of the team is expected to remain the same as they gear up for the Nashville challenge. The biggest advantage for the hosts is that the match venue is the TQL Stadium – a place where FC Cincinnati are yet to lose this season.
FC Cincinnati have won 11 out of the 12 home matches in the MLS this season. The only time they dropped points at home was when the New England Revolution held them to a 2-2 draw. Apart from that, the hosts have been unstoppable on home soil.
Last season, in the MLS, Brandon Vazquez was in fiery form as he netted 18 goals and registered eight assists in 33 appearances. A similar feat was expected this season as well, but a slow start has seen the 24-year-old score just four goals and pocket two assists in 18 games.
However, in the 2023 Leagues Cup, Vazquez matched his MLS goal tally in just two games. The striker scored in regulation time against Sporting Kansas City before carefully dispatching his penalty into the back of the net. In the second game against Chivas Guadalajara, Vazquez secured a hattrick as FC Cincinnati waltzed into the knockouts with a 3-1 win.
In this season’s MLS, Nashville SC have pulled off some brilliant results, which have propelled them into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Despite being 13 points off the league leaders and their next opponents, Nashville SC are still title contenders.
The season started really well for the club, but they have gone into the break with a terrible record. Nashville SC lost five out of their last six MLS games before the break. They ended the losing streak with a win in their opening Leagues Cup fixture but lost again in the very next game.
Nashville SC seek consistency on the pitch and are hoping to get past FC Cincinnati in their third attempt this season. The club has already lost both MLS encounters against the same opponents. Winning this encounter will certainly boost the team’s morale for the remainder of the season.
While Nashville SC have been quite strong at home this season, their performances on the road have been quite concerning. The club has won just three out of 12 away games in the MLS this season.
In addition, Nashville SC have failed to win any of their last five away games. Their last win on enemy territory came at the start of June against FC Dallas. After that, they drew against Toronto FC and lost four successive games. Incidentally, their most recent away loss came at the TQL Stadium against FC Cincinnati.
Hany Mukhtar is expected to finish as Nashville SC’s top goalscorer for a third consecutive season. Last year, the club could not make it to the playoff finals, but the German striker won the MLS Golden Boot.
Nashville SC’s overreliance on Mukhtar has hurt them in games where the 28-year-old has failed to perform well. As a result, the club has signed Sam Surridge from Nottingham Forest. The 25-year-old is expected to take a little weight off of Mukhtar’s shoulder for the rest of the season.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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