Welcome to your match thread for a Friday night match-up between Orlando City (7-5-4, 25 points) and FC Cincinnati (6-7-2, 20 points) at TQL Stadium. It’s the second of the two scheduled meetings between the teams this season and the only match-up in Ohio.
Here’s what you need to know.
Orlando City leads the all-time series, 3-1-2, with a 1-0-2 mark on the road. The Lions haven’t scored much in Cincinnati, hitting the net just once per match there, but out-scoring their hosts 3-2 over the course of those three matches.
The last meeting took place on March 12 in Orlando, with FC Cincinnati notching its first win in the all-time series, 2-1 at Exploria Stadium. The Lions were more in control but were wasteful despite dominating the stat sheet. The visitors got a brace from Brandon Vazquez to offset Junior Urso’s goal in the 42nd minute. Those two goals by Vazquez were the first two Orlando conceded this season and the first two Cincinnati scored.
The two previous most recent meetings came at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati. The last was on Oct. 16, 2021, when Orlando City got its first road victory in the series with a 1-0 win on Urso’s goal in the 13th minute. Tesho Akindele should have scored a second off the crossbar late in the game but the play was never reviewed despite appearing that the ball was completely across the line. On Aug. 7, 2021, the match in Cincinnati ended up in a 1-1 draw. Nani’s strike rescued a point after Brenner had opened the scoring for the hosts just before halftime, taking advantage of an obviously injured Uri Rosell, who subbed off moments later.
The first of the three meetings in 2021 came on May 21 in Orlando, with the Lions posting a 3-0 win. Akindele scored in the first minute and Nani and Urso each added a goal. As is the case this season, that home game against FCC came in Orlando’s third match of the year.
In Orlando’s first trip to the banks of the Ohio River, the match ended in a 1-1 draw at Nippert Stadium on Sept. 29, 2019. Benji Michel’s goal in stoppage time avoided what would have been an embarrassing road loss to a dreadful FCC side after Allan Cruz had given the hosts a lead. The draw officially eliminated Orlando City from playoff contention that year, but realistically the Lions had been out of it for a while.
The first ever meeting between the two sides took place on May 19, 2019, when the Lions pummeled the expansion side, 5-1. Both Nani and Akindele bagged braces in the match and Dom Dwyer added a goal as well.
The Lions are 3-1-4 away from home on the season, while FC Cincinnati is oddly just 2-4-0 at home, while holding a winning mark of 4-3-2 on the road. Orlando is unbeaten in its last two matches overall (1-0-1) and its last three road games (1-0-2), with draws in the last two.
Urso and Akindele will be eager to see the other team tonight as they each have three goals in the series.
FC Cincinnati is winless in its last three matches (0-2-1), with two of those matches on the road and a home loss to New England. It was a difficult three-game stretch since the team’s last win because those games were against the Revolution, at Montreal, and at Philadelphia. That most recent game was a 1-1 draw at the Union.
Cincinnati has gifted offensive players who are especially dangerous in transition. Luciano Acosta, Brenner, and Vazquez are the danger men in the Cincinnati attack and Orlando will need to be aware of them at all times because they can make something out of nothing. Vazquez has been clinical this season, scoring a team-high eight goals to go along with three assists. Acosta is particularly troublesome because he’s good at winning duels and jump-starting the counter attack, and he’s posted five goals and a team-high six assists on the year.
“After the good victory against Houston, we are getting ready to go off to Cincinnati,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said in his pre-match press conference. “A team that we have already played here at home and it was a good performance, but not a good result. This gives us the opportunity to get those points that we left in our home stadium. We recognize that Cincinnati has been improving a lot in the last two years. It will be a good match for sure, a conference match. It’s important to keep getting points and important to keep being consistent with winning. That is our responsibility and we are very aware of that.”
The Lions will be without Mason Stajduhar (jaw), Silvester van der Water (lower leg), Robin Jansson (suspension for yellow card accumulation), and Michael Halliday (international duty), while defender Antonio Carlos (thigh) has been upgraded to questionable and could be on the bench for this match. FC Cincinnati is missing fullback Ronald Matarrita (ankle surgery) and forward Dominique Badji (leg), while Junior Moreno (leg) is questionable.
Mandatory Match Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more info about FC Cincinnati from Geoff Tebbetts of Cincinnati Soccer Talk.
- This week’s PawedCast features our key match-ups and score predictions for tonight’s match.
- Our Dave Rohe listed his three keys to an Orlando City victory in this match.
- Our Josh Munsey gives his scouting report on FC Cincinnati.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Thomas Williams, Kyle Smith, Rodrigo Schlegel, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Junior Urso, Cesar Araujo.
Attacking Midfielders: Jake Mulraney, Andres Perea, Facundo Torres.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Alex Freeman, Thomas Williams, Antonio Carlos, Sebas Mendez, Joey DeZart, Benji Michel, Tesho Akindele, Alexandre Pato.
FC Cincinnati (3-4-1-2)
Goalkeeper: Roman Celentano.
Defenders: Tyler Blackett, Geoff Cameron, Nick Hagglund.
Midfielders: John Nelson, Haris Medunjanin, Obinna Nwobodo, Raymon Gaddis.
Attacking Midfielder: Alvaro Barreal.
Forwards: Brenner, Brandon Vazquez.
Bench: Kenneth Vermeer, Ian Murphy, Zico Bailey, Harrison Robledo, Allan Cruz, Luciano Acosta, Nicholas Markanich, Yuya Kubo, Isaac Atanga.
Ref: Guido Gonzales Jr.
AR1: Adam Garner.
AR2: Lyes Arfa.
4th: Armando Villarreal.
VAR: Daniel Radford.
AVAR: Mike Kampmeinert.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: TQL Stadium — Cincinnati, OH.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Accion 97.9 FM & 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market) and on the LionNation app (in market).
Enjoy the match. Go City!
The Mane Land has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though The Mane Land and SB Nation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our guiding principles.