Congratulations on the morale-boosting win, FC Cincinnati. A week removed from the hard-earned point in Atlanta, you deconstructed Portland 3-0 with a solid, full-team effort. Taking four points from last year’s MLS Cup matchup is an impressive feat. Doing it in front of a sold-out Nippert Stadium with the entire nation watching is even sweeter.
Oh, you were expecting a reward? Now you get to hit the road for the third time in four games during a roster-carving international break. Kendall Waston and Allan Cruz head to the Costa Rican team, Darren Mattocks and Alvas Powell join the Reggae Boyz in Jamaica, and Frankie Amaya heads to the USMNT U-20 team camp. You also don’t have your top starting striker, as Fanendo Adi is doubtful with a leg injury.
You also have to make your first trip into New England, playing against a demoralized Revolution team seeking their own first win this season. Coach Brad Friedel’s team hit a road block in Canada, losing 3-2 to Toronto last week, despite a solid offensive showing. While the weather appears to be clean and crisp, what was once perceived to be a winnable road game doesn’t feel like a certain thing.
Welcome to the league, Rookie.
- Although New England possesses some players who have USMNT exposure (forwards Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo), Cincinnati will be losing much more of their lineup to the international break. The departure of Waston, Powell, Cruz, and Mattocks means that FCC loses 26% of their minutes played (786). Compare that to New England, who loses only 1.5% (45 minutes lost).
- One of these teams will have to possess the ball for the majority of the match. FC Cincinnati (42.5%) and New England (42.2%) are at the bottom of the league in possession. However, both teams were able to salvage draws in games with their lowest possession numbers.
- Despite having a team built for defense, FC Cincinnati has been disciplined in their fouling. FCC commits only 10.7 fouls per game (5th lowest in the MLS), while New England leads the league (17.3). The difference is also reflected in the number of yellow cards (FCC with 3, New England with 7). New England’s Wilfried Zahibo is only one of two players who have received a yellow card in each of the first three games of the season.
- New England’s newest designated player Carles Gil has been the team’s workhorse so far. The Revolution’s #10 has scored 3 goals off of 9 shots, which accounts for 100% of their goals and 33% of their shots taken. Considering that 27 of their 49 goals came from the forward position last year, the Revs will be anxious to return to that form.
- With half of the starting back line missing, FCC will have to perform with untested talent. Nick Hagglund will have a bigger role to play, and so far, he’s recovered from a shaky start. His 5 blocked shots are third in the league. Waston’s void could likely be filled by Forrest Lasso if he makes his first start of the season. The big man from Wofford led the USL in clearances last year (239).
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for coverage of FC Cincinnati’s first visit to New England.