Match Preview: Cincinnati FC vs NYCFC

Posted By Peter Nolan on August 15, 2019

Who: Cincinnati vs NYCFC
When: Saturday, August 17th @ 7:30 pm ET
LineCincinatti -245 | Draw +280 | NYCFC -105

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Badly, if not quite desperately, in need of a win, a humbled NYCFC travels to to face the league’s worst team, Cincinnati FC, Saturday night at Nippert Stadium.

The Bronx boys dropped a 2-1 decision to Atlanta United last Sunday. No disgrace there. However, how NYC capitulated was enough to get a rise out of Dome Torrent.

The New York City FC coach felt that his team was afraid to play the short pass. Instead, they opted for the “safety” of the long ball, upsetting to Torrent because that contradicts the style that he preaches and the way of playing that has led to NYCFC’s best moments in 2019.

“What is the reason why you play different against Atlanta?” Torrent asked in his post-game comments. “If you make a mistake, you make a mistake. You have to be brave in Atlanta. If you want to play here, you have to be brave. If you are scared here, forget about it. Stay in New York. You have to play. If you play all the time quickly, quickly and lose the ball every three seconds it’s impossible to win here.”

New Cincinnati coach Ron Jans employs the high press. His new charges did so to good effect in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw versus Columbus Crew in the “Hell is Real” Derby. Still, NYCFC should have better success against the expansion side or some of Torrent’s players might be wishing they had been allowed to “stay in New York.”

Cincinatti vs NYCFC Preview

Cincinnati has had a difficult transition to the big leagues after conquering all comers to win the 2018 USL title. The club is already on its second coach with Jans recently taking over from USL holdover Alan Koch.

Cincinnati has recently added a Derrick Etiene from the New York Red Bulls. Etiene is a tricky winger/forward with talent that could never make his breakthrough in New York. Joe Gyau, haunted by injury for years, has come on board from second division German side MSV Duisburg.

Still just 26 years old, Cincy is banking on Gyau maintaining some of the speed and skills that made him a top American abroad long before Christian Pulisic. In fact, Pulisic’s old club Borussia Dortmund is one of five German clubs to have had Gyau on the books during his injury-ravaged career. Gyau spent the last two seasons in the German second division, first with SG Sonnenhof Großaspach and then with MSV Duisburg.

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter clearly believes in Gyau. The current boss gave Gyau the most recent of his three full caps in June, calling the winger in as a substitute versus Jamaica.

Cincinnati has also added fullback Andrew Gutman, on loan from Glasgow Celtic. Gutman impressed, drawing praise from Jans. “I was really satisfied with his performance and also with his stamina, his fitness,” Jans told the club website after the 2-2 stalemate with Columbus. “He was taking initiative. In attacking, he can help us. I think he did a good, proper job also defensively, so a good debut.”

If it all seems a bit slapdash, I suppose that is to be expected with a team that has so far compiled a record of 5 wins, 17 losses, and 3 draws. And the MLS newcomers don’t discriminate. Cincinnati is bad on both sides of the ball. Their 25 goals are the least in the league. Defensively no team comes close to matching Cincy’s 57 goals surrendered.

The same can be said for the team’s play at home and on the road. Only Montreal can match Cincinnati’s 2 home wins for the league-worst. That is in part why NYCFC finds themselves as odds-on favorites on the road.

NYCFC’s +2 goal differential is far superior to Cincinatti’s almost incomprehensible -32. Still with 2-3 games in hand to their Eastern conference peers, NYCFC’s playoff spot seems secure. A win Saturday is a must though to stay in contention for the top spot in the conference.

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Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan has been on the soccer beat for many years now, covering the United States Men's and Women's teams, from the SnowClasico to Azteca and back again. Along with the US national teams, Peter will provide insight into the MLS and NWSL, with a focus on the NY Red Bulls and NYCFC.

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