Preview: FC Cincinnati v Nashville SC

Nashville SC followed up their win against the Seattle Sounders with a 1-2 loss against LAFC. Tonight, they travel up to Ohio to take on an FC Cincinnati that is much improved.

Can the ‘Yotes keep their undefeated streak against Cincinnati alive? Will Cincinnati be able to get their first win against Nashville?

FC Cincinnati

Current standing: 7th (East) | 7-6-8 | -5 GD
Required Reading: Zoomed N on FC Cincinnati with Patrick Brennan
Injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Sergio Santos (leg)
OUT: Ronald Matarrita (ankle surgery), Dom Badji (leg)
SUSPENDED: Luciano Acosta (red card)

Since coming into the league, FC Cincinnati has been the worst-performing team on a historical level. Setting records for the number of goals conceded, goals scored, and the number of wins. Along side those record-setting numbers, their recruitment policy and transfer decisions have been suspect at best.

However, things changed this offseason.

They brought in Chris Albright, former Philadelphia Union Technical director, as their general manager, and Pat Noonan, former Union assistant coach, to replace Jaap Stam. Together, Albright and Noonan have worked to construct a roster and a team philosophy that has them performing at a much higher level.

Predicted Nashville SC XI

As both coach and general manager are both from the Philadelphia Union system, there are bound to be some similarities in how these two teams play. Like the Union, Cincinnati will press their opponents and look to win the ball back in favorable positions. They then look to transition quickly and cut the opponents defense open.

On the player side, there have been only a handful of acquisitions to augment some of the key pieces that were already in place. Lucho Acosta, while suspended tonight, has played much more as a part of the team and works in concert with the rest of the attack. Of course it also helps when your main forward, Brandon Vasquez, is having a monster season. With 10 goals so far, he will be a huge threat that Nashville will have to deal with.

As well as FC Cincinnati has performed in the attack, there are still defensive issues. They have struggled to defend a lead this season and will now have to cope with Hany Mukhtar.

Nashville SC

Current standing: 5th (West) | 8-6-7 | -5 GD
Injuries

OUT: Robert Castellanos (ankle), Aníbal Godoy (thigh)

After their three matches in seven days, the Coyotes come into tonight’s match with a much-needed full week of rest. Against LAFC, there was a clear drop off in intensity after such a grueling stretch.

They will need that extra bit of energy as they go up against a high-pressure system.

Predicted Nashville XI

Along with the much-needed rest, Nashville got an additional boost in the signing of US International, Shaq Moore. Nashville has chased this signing for the better part of nine months and the instant upgrade at right-back will raise the ceiling of this team considerably.

Unfortunately, I do not expect to see Moore get the start against Cincinnati. As of Thursday, the club was still awaiting his International Transfer Certificate to make him eligible for selection. If they receive the certificate in time for the match, expect to see him off the bench.

In the past two matches, Gary Smith has returned to a four-man backline and has indicated that looks to be the preferred formation moving forward.

At the back, Jack Maher has started ahead of veteran Dave Romney for the past two matches but struggled against LAFC. Romney will more than likely slot back in alongside Walker Zimmerman.

As long as Nashville eliminates their defensive mistakes, they should be able to get a result against Cincinnati.

Pod picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Cincinnati 1 – 2 Nashville
Scores: CJ Sapong, Randall Leal
MOTM: Randall Leal
Bold Prediction: Leal scores the winner in the final 10 minutes.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Cincinnati 2 – 3 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Walker Zimmerman, Randall Leal
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville comes back from a goal down, twice

Chris Ivey

Score: Cincinnati 1 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville concedes the equalizer late.

Ben Wright

Score: Cincinnati 2 – 3 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar (x2), Aké Loba
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville go down early and score twice in the second half to win.

Fan Forecast

Kit matchup

Match Info

Teams: FC Cincinnati vs Nashville SC
Odds: Cincinnati (+155), Draw (+225), Nashville (+160) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, July 23
Time: 6:30 PM Central, TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: MyTV30
Radio: iHeartRadio Online (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 94°/76°. Sunny 1% chance of rain. 79% humidity

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