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FC Cincinnati Aim for Eighth Straight Win in Match with Nashville SC

May 28, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
FC Cincinnati News Release

FC Cincinnati are looking to continue a nearly unprecedented run in the history of MLS when they take on Nashville SC. They are trying to extend their already club-record seven-game win streak and become the second team ever to win eight consecutive games.

To reach that plateau, The Orange and Blue must win on a short week, quickly turning around from their hectic Saturday night in Toronto (where they won 4-3 on a 93-minute Sergio Santos goal) to a Wednesday fixture back at TQL Stadium three-days later. Fortunately for FC Cincinnati, a long, hard earned rest awaits them after this match as the first bye week of the season comes on Saturday for FCC with the international break immediately following that.

So with a 16-day break looming, FC Cincinnati can head into that break riding the high of an eight match win streak or reeling after a loss. So focus headed into the match is of even greater import.

"(Nashville) is still a very experienced team, when healthy. You see Walker (Zimmerman) back in the mix and that's still an experienced group that still knows how to defend in a strong way, but you can see the conversations they're having (about) scoring more goals," FC Cincinnati Head Coach Pat Noonan said of Nashville SC on Monday.

Nashville SC was the first team this season to make a coaching change, letting go of Gary Smith and bringing in an interim. Now, with two games under the new manager, FCC is preparing to face a challenge with less data than you can typically have.

"In terms of the structure there have been some subtle changes in how they attack and how they defend," Noonan said. "It looks a little bit different. We can look at the numbers, but sometimes a small sample size won't show drastic changes to what the eye test tells you...for us, it's more taking a look at those small sample sizes to see what the subtitles differences are."

To find those subtle details, FCC will be on a short week. Fortunately for FC Cincinnati supporters, Pat Noonan has shown that he and his staff do some of their best work with quick turnarounds and in the midweek. Since 2022, FCC has been a league-best 11-2-5 when playing on Wednesdays across all competitions, adding to the already impressive 151 points gathered in that span overall, which is also a league-high.

FC Cincinnati vs Nashville SC - Wednesday, May 29, 2024 - 7:30 p.m. ET - TQL Stadium


Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

TV Talent (English, Apple): Steve Cangialosi (PxP), Danny Higginbotham (Analyst)

TV Talent (Spanish, Apple): Alejandro Figueredo (PXP), Eduardo Biscayart (Analysis)

Radio: ESPN 1530

Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (PXP), Kevin McCloskey (Analyst)

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

All-time vs Nashville SC

FC Cincinnati swept the regular season series with Nashville SC in 2023, winning at Geodis Park and TQL Stadium to earn their first two-ever wins against the Tennessee club.

In a third matchup of 2023, Nashville SC prevailed in penalty kicks during the knockout stage of the League Cup en route to a Finals appearance, bringing the all-time series between the two to a 2-2-3 record.


Player of the Matchday - FC Cincinnati's Luca Orellano was voted the Major League Soccer Player of the Matchday for Matchday 16, the league announced Monday. Orellano netted his first-career brace in Saturday's 4-3 win at Toronto FC, the 15th regular season brace in club history. Orellano earned the sixth MLS Player of the Week/Matchday honor in FC Cincinnati history and became the third different player to earn the award (Luciano Acosta, Brenner).

Scoring Streak - Luciano 'Lucho' Acosta has recorded a goal contribution (goal or assist) in nine-straight games. His current run is the longest in MLS this season and continues the longest streak in club history (The previous club record was 7, set by Lucho in 2022). He will look to start just the 12th all-time goal contribution streak of 10+ games in MLS history. In 2023, the longest goal contribution streak was 9 (Cucho, CLB: 4/29-6/17). The MLS record of 15 was set by Atlanta United's Josef Martínez in 2019 (5/24-9/18).

Close Calls - Since the start of the 2023 MLS Regular Season, FC Cincinnati are 23-4 (.852) in games decided by one goal. Since 2000 (and the end of the shootout era), the MLS record for wins over two-straight seasons in one-goal games is 25 (New England Revolution - 2021/22). The most one-goal wins in a single season is 18 by the 2021 New England Revolution. FCC's 14 wins last season in one-goal games was the third-most ever.

Stout Defense - Through 15 games of the 2024 MLS season, FC Cincinnati's defense:

- Has allowed 14 goals, the second-fewest in MLS (CLB, 13).

- Has allowed 9 goals from open play, the fewest in MLS.

- Has allowed 4 first-half goals, tied for the fewest in MLS (HOU).

Roman Celentano leads the league in Goals Against Average (0.73) and is the only goalkeeper (who has played more than 5 games) to allow fewer than 10 goals.

Scouting Nashville SC (3-4-7, 16 points,11th in Western Conference, T-T-W-L-W)

Nashville SC is one of a handful of teams to open the season with frustrating results around the league, but it was the first organization to make a leadership change in hopes of salvaging the season.

After an underwhelming start to the year, on May 16, the club announced that longtime manager Gary Smith had departed the club after over seven years at the helm dating back to its time in the USL. Assistant Coach Steve Guppy was also let go, and Player Development Coach Rumba Munthali was named interim Head Coach while the club was conducting a large-scale coaching search.

Since Munthali took over, Nashville has earned draws in both matches, going to a nil-nil score with Atlanta United FC and a 1-1 finish with CF Montréal.

Despite a talented offensive group led by 2022 MLS MVP Hany Mukhtar, Nashville has struggled to score goals and maintain leads in important moments. Nashville has scored 17 times in 14 games this season, ranking in the bottom third of the league and is one of six clubs in the Eastern Conference with a negative goal differential.

"They have the players to score goals and cause problems, and we certainly need to respect that," FC Cincinnati Head Coach Pat Noonan said of NSC."

English striker Sam Surridge, who came to the club as a DP last season from Nottingham Forest, leads the way with five goals scored. Mukhtar has added three goals and four assists. Teal Bunbury, who has been the most used sub for NSC this season, is tied for second on the team in goals with Mukhtar at three.

After missing portions of the season's opening weeks due to injury, defender and captain Walker Zimmerman leads the defensive back four, including two center backs and two fullbacks. Jack Maher typically stands in as the second center defender (typically on the left of the two), with Daniel Lovetz as the left fullback and Shaq Moore as the right fullback. Moore, 27, was one of just three MLS players to be called into the upcoming USMNT pre-Copa America Camp. He, along with FC Cincinnati's Miles Robinson, will depart for the camp sometime after Wednesday's match.

As the formation progresses upfield, the four-man backline anchors a 4-2-2-2 formation that has been used since the interim manager took over. Prior to Smith's departure, the longtime coach had been tinkering with formations to get out of the frustrating string of performances, using things like a 3-2-3-2 or a 3-2-1-2-2.

MLS veteran Joe Willis is in net for Nashville, who has appeared in 11 games. Willis has made over 245 appearances since debuting in 2011 and joined NSC in 2020. Entering the Wednesday match, Willis ranks eighth in MLS with a 75.8 save percentage. Roman Celentano still leads in that department with an 86.1 percent save percentage.

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