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NYCFC vs Cincinnati – US Open Round 1 – Preview and 4 Questions

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Sep 7, 2022; New York, NY, New York, NY, USA; FC Cincinnati defender Ian Murphy (32) jumps to head the ball while New York City FC defender Tayvon Gray (24) and New York City FC forward Talles Magno (43) look on during the second half at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The New York City Football club makes it’s debut in the annual Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 for 2023 with a trip to Ohio to take on FC Cincinnati on May 10. The knockout tournament, which has been around for now over 100 years with Orlando being the current reigning champion taking down Sacramento Republic FC 3-0 in last year’s final. Last year the Gents in Blue advanced to the quarterfinals, first defeating Rochester 3-1 followed by a 1-0 late goal win over New England, before falling to the Red Bulls 3-0 at Red Bull Arena. This time around taking on an FC Cincinnati team that’s currently tied for the single best record in MLS could prove challenges for the team from the Bronx. As always, my questions that pop to mind:

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1) How Far Can NYCFC Go? This is the first and obvious question. The team has never gotten past the quarterfinals in 6 trips to the US Open, with a second quarterfinals trip back in 2019 (prior to the tournament being canceled for 2 years due to Covid). With the team’s recent challenges a new, fresh tournament can be exactly what’s needed to shake off the previous two losses. From Santiago Rodriguez, “It’s a different competition, and above all, it’s another tournament that we need to face with the same seriousness and commitment that it deserves.” For many on the roster like Gabe Segal and Richy Ledezma this will be their first US Open tournament so it’ll be interesting to see how they react to the pressure of an MLS single elimination tournament. Expect leaders like Maxime Chanot & Rodriguez (who both scored in last year’s tournament) to be the heavily involved again this year.

2) Can They Takes Down The Orange and Blue at Home? Facing off against a squad that is currently 6-0 at home in the MLS season will be an uphill climb, but all 6 matches have been low scoring affairs, with three wins coming 1-0 and the other three a 2-1 result. To take it to the Orange and Blue they’ll need to get out in front early; Cincy’s only loss this season came against St. Louis when they fell behind 3 minutes in on route to a 5-1 loss. NYCFC needs to strike early to take the 5th highest attendance out of it right off the bat.

Santiago Rodriguez aims to continue his success of late after 3 goals in the last 3 matches.

May 6, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New York City FC attacker Santiago Rodriguez (10) celebrates his goal in the second half against Charlotte FC at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

3) Who Of The Injured Group Will Be Ready? The club has been banged up of late and questions have arisen. On the positive right up front, James Sands will be available after taking a ball dead in the face on a free kick last week, however both Matias Pellegrini and Talles Magno (as of this writing) were questionable and were going to be a decision made Tuesday. As for Tayvon Gray who had to come off early for in Saturday’s match against Charlotte he’s questionable although unlikely but is possible to return against the Red Bulls. Speaking of:

4) How will this match affect Saturday? This one plays key with several fans right now, as Saturday night is the first round of the Hudson River Derby against the New York Red Bulls, this time in Harrison. RNBY will have a slight advantage playing their US Open match a day earlier on May 9 which would provide an added days rest. I’ll delve into this a bit more with that preview coming Thursday but it’s still worth noting.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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