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This should be a fascinating tie with New York City FC heading into the game in poor form and FC Cincinnati on one of their best runs of the season. The two sides have faced each other seven times before, with New York City FC winning six of the ties and drawing once.
They will clearly have the psychological edge heading into this tie despite being in poor form. New York City FC are the defending champions and simply can’t lose three in a row. This is the perfect opponent to help them stop the bleeding. The match will likely be a tight affair because of their scoring form and end in a draw.
The last match between the two sides took place back in June and was a real classic, ending with a scoreline of 4-4 on the day. FC Cincinnati were up by three goals within 30 minutes but New York City FC made an incredible comeback with three goals just before the half-time whistle.
The score was 3-3 before the second half with New York City FC getting the lead seven minutes into the second half, thanks to Gabriel Pereira before Brenner got his third of the night in the 70th minute. It was one of the games of the season and MLS fans will be hoping for more of the same in the next match.
This doesn’t look like a little blip anymore. New York City FC have lost their fifth game in six matches after losing 2-1 to DC United over the weekend. Ola Kamara opened the scoring for DC United in the 24th minute but Heber got one back for the New Yorkers three minutes later.
Steve Birnbaum scored what would end up being the winner in the 57th minute. New York City FC’s playoff place isn’t in doubt for the moment but that the conversation is even being brought up shows just how off the rails they’ve been in recent weeks.
Valentin Castellanos’ move to La Liga side, Girona, was always going to affect the team but no one could’ve seen New York City FC slump like this. Castellanos was last season’s golden boot winner and had scored 13 goals before leaving the side. Those who are currently in the side have struggled to match that level of output with Heber on top of the list with just seven goals. Initially, it seemed like New York City FC had enough depth to manage without Castellanos’ departure but that’s clearly not the case anymore.
In the early parts of the season, it looked like a three-way battle between New York City FC and Los Angeles FC, Philadelphia Union for the MLS Cup and while it remains true for the latter two, that’s no longer the case for New York City FC.
Even before losing Castellanos, Los Angeles FC had strengthened by adding the likes of Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini, which made the Western Conference side the overwhelming favorites. Philadelphia Union’s best form of the season has also coincided with New York City FC’s worst, which has clearly thrust the former as the top contender for the MLS Cup from the east. This just goes to show quickly things can turn in football and the MLS.
Defensive midfielder Keaton Parks has been out since June because of a surgery. There is no expected return date.
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Nick Hagglund and Luciano Acosta were on the scoresheet for FC Cincinnati with goals towards the end of each half last midweek to give the Eastern Conference side a massive three points. The points now take them to eight place on the Western Conference standings, level on points with New England Revolution. The momentum is firmly in their favor and they should be expected to get something out of the game against New York City FC.
With 16 goals and four assists, there’s no doubt regarding FC Cincinnati’s player of the season. Brandon Vazquez’s 16 goals have also come at a fairly sustainable rate with an expected goal value of 12.9. New York City FC could really use someone like him at the moment.
Standing at six feet and two inches tall, the 23-year-old has also assisted the team as a target man. He’s in the 82nd percentile for aerial duels won by a forward in the league, which has helped FC Cincinnati build attacks.
If he can pin a fragile New York City FC back, FC Cincinnati could gain a lot of joy out of this contest.
FC Cincinnati need to get New York City FC on the ropes early and really take the game to them from the onset. This isn’t the same side that they’ve had a poor record against. They’ll have to be a bit physical and use Vazquez’s aerial prowess.
They aren’t the best defensive side anyway, having conceded 48 goals all campaign and letting four in during their last game. If they want to win this game, it’s got to be through the attack. With Valentin Castellanos no longer around, they don’t have to be as concerned about New York City FC’s attacking threat either.
Left-back Ronald Mataritta has been out since March with no expected return date.
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|Teams||New York City FC vs FC Cincinnati|
|Location||Citi Field Stadium|
|Time||Wednesday, September 7 at 8 pm ET onwards|
|How to watch||ESPN+, DAZN, STAR 64|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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