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Pick: Seattle Sounders FC to win (+230)
In their opening game of the new MLS season, FC Cincinnati scored in both halves to secure a 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo FC. In the second game, Orlando City's goalkeeper produced multiple good saves as his side held FC Cincinnati to a goalless draw.
Seattle Sounders FC have gotten off to a perfect start this season. They won the opening game of the season 4-0 against Colorado Rapids and then won the second game 2-0 against Real Salt Lake.
With two wins and two clean sheets in the first two games of the season, Seattle Sounders FC are sitting at the top of the Western Conference table and are firm favorites to win the encounter against FC Cincinnati.
There is not a lot of history between these two sides as they have only met on two occasions in the past. This will be the first time FC Cincinnati host Seattle Sounders FC at the TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The previous two games have been played at Lumen Field in 2019 and 2022. In 2019, Seattle Sounders FC breezed past FC Cincinnati with a 4-1 scoreline. Jordan Morris bagged a brace that evening, with Kelvin Leerdam and Raul Ruidiaz joining him on the scoresheet.
When the two sides met last year, Fredy Montero’s 58th-minute equalizer canceled out Brenner da Silva’s 24th-minute opener as both sides settled for a point at the end. Kelyn Rowe set up the equalizer for Seattle Sounders FC and was sent off a little over ten minutes later.
Two games into the new season, FC Cincinnati are unbeaten in the Eastern division. The club is playing only their fifth season in the MLS. Last season’s finish was their best-ever in these four years and they will eye a similar feat this season too.
FC Cincinnati finished outside the top ten between the 2019 and 2021 seasons. Last year, they notched a fifth-place finish and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in their short history in the MLS.
The side have gotten off to a good start this year and another positive result will give them a much-needed boost and help them in their ambitious journey towards the top of the table. But getting that positive result against Seattle Sounders FC will be no piece of cake.
FC Cincinnati have scored two goals in two games so far. However, both goals came in the opening game of the season as they fired a blank in the second match. Former Philadelphia Union striker, Sergio Santos, was on the scoresheet alongside Obinna Nwobodo.
Santos scored just one goal after joining the club midway last season. He has already matched that tally this season. Meanwhile, Nwobodo scored his first goal in the MLS. While this is quite pleasing for FC Cincinnati, they are still waiting for goals from familiar faces.
Last season, Brandon Vazquez finished as the club’s leading goalscorer with 19 goals in his kitty. Brenner da Silva was right behind him with a tally of 18 goals. Both strikers are yet to get off the mark this season and will be itching to get the opener against Seattle Sounders FC.
Despite finishing fifth on the table and qualifying for the playoffs, FC Cincinnati were quite weak defensively in the last season. The club only managed to keep six clean sheets in 34 games and conceded 1.6 goals per match.
Nick Hagglund is playing his fourth season with the club and alongside him in a three-man defense are Matt Miazga and Yerson Mosquera. Miazga finally secured a permanent transfer away from Chelsea last year, while Mosquera joined on loan from Wolves.
The responsibility of reducing the goal concession rate and increasing the number of clean sheets will be on the shoulders of these three defenders this season. On paper, it looks formidable, but a clearer picture will be in place as the season progresses.
After finishing in second place for five consecutive MLS seasons in the Western division, Seattle Sounders FC could only manage an 11th-place finish last season. For the first time in their short history, they failed to qualify for the playoffs.
However, the club is out to make things right and they are eager to reinstate themselves near the top three on the table. The intention is clear after the first two games as Seattle Sounders FC have nabbed two wins without conceding in either game.
Two wins and two clean sheets have put them at the summit and they will be looking to consolidate that place with a third win on the bounce. However, it will be a tricky encounter as Seattle Sounders FC play FC Cincinnati in their own backyard for the first time in MLS.
While Seattle Sounders FC have scored six goals in two games, they will be pleased to see a couple of them coming from their new signing Heber. The former New York City FC striker has scored in both games so far.
After scoring the third goal in the opening fixture, Heber scored his side's second goal against Real Salt Lake. Only Jordan Morris has scored more goals than Heber this season, as the attacker has nabbed three goals in two games.
With players like Morris and Cristian Roldan operating in the attacking line behind him, Heber will surely enjoy his spell at his new club. Last season, the striker scored eight goals, and this season, he’ll be looking to surpass that number.
The back-four of Seattle Sounders FC has been staunch and creative this season. On the right flank, Alex Roldan has already created several chances and registered two assists in the game last week.
The center-back duo of Yeimar Gomez and Jackson Ragen looks staunch. Gomez won seven out of ten duels he was a part of and made seven clearances and three recoveries. Ragen won seven out of eight duels and made six clearances in the last game, showing how formidable the defense is.
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● Teams: FC Cincinnati vs Seattle Sounders FC
● Location: TQL Stadium
● Time: Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 pm ET
● How to watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes
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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