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After 16-Day Break from Action, FC Cincinnati Head to Golden State for Match with the San Jose Earthquakes

June 14, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
FC Cincinnati News Release


After an extended break in the middle of the season thanks to a scheduled bye week and a serendipitously timed FIFA International Window, FC Cincinnati is back in action in Sunny Northern California for their 17th match of the 2024 MLS season against San Jose Earthquakes.

As far away from home as they will be this season, FCC departed an extra day early to San Jose to beat the three-hour time difference and trained in "The Capital of Silicon Valley" on Friday. The return to action now comes on the heels of a grueling six-week stretch that will see The Orange and Blue play three double-match weeks leading into League Cup.

"It was a good break. I think it was a good chance for everybody to unwind a little bit and step away. I was pleased with the way we came back. I thought that the first week with small numbers, the intensity was good," Head Coach Pat Noonan said of the break between matches. "Didn't overdo it early on after a long break, but got to bigger numbers to begin this week, and I have been really pleased with just the quality of the play after a long break and really with no game last weekend. Sometimes you're worried about the motivation or the focus of the group, but the guys did a good job."

The trip out west poses unique challenges for the group that will be looking to rebound from a loss two weeks ago to NashvilleSC, which now feels like a distant memory. While off to a slow start, the San Jose Earthquakes have one of the stronger offensive units with a revamped group of attackers that joined the club after the opening of the 2024 season. Once those attackers joined the organization, there has been a significant swing in performances from San Jose, who is looking to break out from their current last-place position in the league table.

"Like most games that we prepare for (San Jose) is a dangerous opponent," Noonan said Thursday from Mercy Health Training Center. "I don't want our group to focus at all about where they are in the standings, because I think it's not really indicative of the quality that (San Jose) have and the challenges that we'll face. So that part's important, because the second you think that you have any type of advantage because of what our position is in the standings, or what our opponent's position is, you step on the field and understand pretty quickly that that is a poor approach."

FCC enter the match in second place in the Supporters' Shield table, two points down from first place, with two games in hand over leaders Inter Miami CF. With Miami playing Philadelphia earlier in the day, FCC could take a lead in the table with that two game's in hand margin still intact, with a win and a loss for Miami.

With 2.06 points per game thus far this season, FCC is on pace to earn 70 points, potentially eclipsing its trophy-winning points total from 2023 (69).

FC Cincinnati at San Jose Earthquakes - Saturday, June 15, 2024 - 10:30 p.m. ET - PayPal Park

HOW TO WATCH

Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

TV Talent (English, Apple): Mark Followill (PxP), Mariano Trujillo (Analyst)

TV Talent (Spanish, Apple): Jose Bauz (PXP), Max Cordaro (Analysis)

Radio: ESPN 1530

Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (PXP), Corben Bone (Analyst)

Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the game.

All-time vs San Jose

FC Cincinnati have only played The Quakes twice in the young history of the club. Still, in their last meeting, FCC made club history with a monumental 6-0 victory, the largest victory in club history by both margin and number of goals.

In that match, Brenner earned a hat trick, Luciano Acosta scored and earned two assists, Yuya Kubo scored and Roman Celentano earned the clean sheet with five saves.

In the only other previous meeting, FCC lost 1-0 at San Jose in the club's inaugural MLS season at Avaya Stadium on May 4, 2019.

FC CINCINNATI NOTES

California Dreamin' - If FC Cincinnati win at PayPal Park, it will be the club's first win in the Pacific Time Zone (0-3-2). Last year, a 1-1 draw at Vancouver Whitecaps marked FCC's only true west coast trip. FCC currently are unbeaten in their last two visits to the west coast.

I Feel The Earth Move - FC Cincinnati have a league-high six road wins this season (6-1-1). The club has won four-straight on the road, which is the longest streak in club history and the longest active streak in MLS. A fifth-straight win Saturday would be the longest streak since 2022, when CF Montréal won seven-straight, which is tied for the club record with the 1997/98 LA Galaxy and 1999 D.C. United clubs.

California, Here We Come - FC Cincinnati defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 6-0 the last time the clubs met in September 2022 at TQL Stadium. That win marked FCC's largest margin of victory in an MLS match and the six goals scored were FCC's most in a single MLS match.

All Shook Up - When FC Cincinnati take the field Saturday night, it will have been 17 days sincethe Orange and Blue faced Nashville SC on May 29. Excluding the four-month break due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the current break is tied for the fifth-longest in-season gap between games in FCC history.

Making Waves - FCC Defender Miles Robinson was officially named to the US Men's National Team roster for the 2024 Copa América Friday. Robinson, 27, will join the squad as they take on Bolivia, Panama and Uruguay in the group stage of the tournament. Should the American's make it to the final, the FCC defender would miss as many as six matches with the club before returning to action.

Scouting San Jose Earthquakes (3-11-2, 11 points, 14th in Western Conference, L-T-L-L-W)

San Jose had a horrific start to the season, losing eight of its first nine matches and coming into the halfway point of the season in last place league-wide with just 11 points. But despite the poor outcomes, The Quakes have found some answers along the way and have looked improved in recent weeks.

DP attacking midfielder Hernán López, a catalyst for that improved performance, joined the team after a short stint with Argentine club Godoy Cruz but was brought up in the River Plate academy. Lopez, 23, who the club signed for a reported record deal, has added a much-needed offensive spark with his creative freedom and skills on the ball. Since his arrival, starting in five matches and appearing in six, the Argentine has contributed two goals and an assist while already ranking third in the club with 12 "total attacking assists."

Christian Espinoza, another Argentine with the club since 2019, has become a true league star in his tenure with San Jose. In 169 appearances with the club, the winger has contributed 96 goals and is leading the club this year with 9 assists and two goals.

San Jose's offense has had no trouble producing since the arrival and integration of their new DP in López. The Quakes have 24 goals in 16 matches, one more than FCC does at 23 in 16 games, but the defense has faltered to the tune of a league-high 39 goals conceded. Four more than the next closest MLS club (Montreal).

"With San Jose, I look at their front four, they've had a lot of consistency in their lineup, specifically in those positions," Noonan said of his weekend opponent. "I think [Cristian] Espinoza is one of the best attackers in our league, but he also works very hard against the ball (on defense). I think he's a top player, his 1v1 qualities, how he can create with both feet, excellent crosser of the ball. You get [Jeremy] Ebobisse running hard in front of goal, works off the back line well to allow space to attack behind and get the midfield into play. You know [Amahl] Pellegrino on the left side, how he works out wide, inside and almost as a second forward at times, things that we've looked at there, and then [Hernan] Lopez is a new face for our guys, for us as a staff too. I think with a two week period for them as well, you have a lot of things to work on, and so he continues to improve for that group.

Brazilian goalkeeper and 2023 starter Daniel struggled in early 2024 but then went down with a season-ending injury. Replacement starter and MLS veteran William Yarbrough, who joined the club this season after five years with Colorado, has continued the struggles and ranks third last in the league in xG-GA this season.

Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez is now in his second year with the club, returning to the club that drafted him 6th overall in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft. The Florida native was previously Head Coach and Academy Director at FC Dallas, and an assistant coach on the US Men's National Team from 2021 to 2022. Gonzalez, who became known in Dallas for his signature "Luchi Ball" tactics, focuses on possession and counter-pressing when possession is lost. Most often, he deploys a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Jeremy Ebobisse and Amahl Pellegrino joining the two Argentine DPs in forward positions.


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