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NYCFC vs FC Cincinnati: Preview and 5 Questions

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May 10, 2023; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York City FC defender Maxime Chanot (4) passes as FC Cincinnati forward Sergio Santos (17) defends in the second half of the US Open Cup match at TQL Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

The New York City Football Club will face FC Cincinnati for the second time in under three weeks to close out what has been a tough month of June. After facing the Ohio club back on May 10 in a first round loss in the US Open Tournament, the team gets a chance to take them on again with not only a playoff spot on the line but a much needed win to end a 6 game winless streak. As always, I have a few questions I want to address, with stats to go along with it. Let’s go!


1) Can this infernal winless streak end? Yeah let’s start with the elephant in the room: The team hasn’t won in over a month and currently has a single point in the last 6 matches. This as a result has put them in 11th place in the East and in the process face the literal best in MLS in Cincinnati. The odds are stacked against them, especially with Thiago Martins out and a decent 9 points in 6 road matches but anything is possible. I feel to shake off at least some of the baggage that May has brought them will require more than just a tie against the best in the league, but a win. To that point:

2) Is Yankee Stadium the Answer? Opposing teams hate Yankee Stadium for several reasons, all of which are understandable. However it needs to be stated that the team has been stellar in the Bronx since 2022, going 10-1-2 in it’s last 13 matches there (and 2-0-1 this season). Additionally they’ve never in fact lost to Cincinnati in MLS at Yankee Stadium, going 4-0-1 historically against the club, although that’s a club that’s massively improved since last season so I’m tossing those stats out for the optimist in me, but understand the reality at the same time. As an added mention, the very first match I ever covered for the team was the home opener back in 2021 against Cincy, a 5-0 win.

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3) What Can We Expect From Cincinnati? So far Cincy is the runaway favorite for the Supporter’s Shield trophy this year with 33 points & 10 wins in 14 matches. This is a squad that spreads the goals around with currently 9 different plays having hit the back of the net this season. That makes them dangerous, having played most of their matches this season in a 3-4-1-2 or the occasional 5-3-2 setup. One could assume they will roll with that on match day against a team that’s struggled to score goals this year but given that Cincinnati plays on a pitch only slighter larger they should be able to adapt fairly quickly (both pitches are 110 yards long with Yankee Stadium being 70 yards wide vs 75 for Cincy)

4) How Much Time Will Tony Alfaro Get? The played the full 90 against Cincinnati in the US Open match and saw his first MLS action this season as a sub on Saturday, getting a shot in both matches. With Thiago Martins confirmed out for this match we could easily expect to see the 29 year old get his first start of the season. Having played the full match against the Orange this month can only help his presence in this match and could be the start of solid veteran leadership on the squad as well. This I’m especially curious about.

5) How much is Nick Cushing’s Job In Danger? Many have been wondering how safe Nick Cushing‘s job is during this stretch and that’s understandable. However with this being the second youngest team in the league there’s some wiggle room here. However if they team loses to both Cincinnati and New England in similar fashion as they did to Philly and go 0-3 on this home stretch he could be out. We’ll see.

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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