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FC Cincinnati v New England Revolution: Noonan focusing on defensive improvements

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Jun 2024

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Pat Noonan insists FC Cincinnati must improve defensively ahead of welcoming the New England Revolution to the TQL Stadium on Sunday.

Cincinnati edged a seven-goal thriller in their latest MLS fixture against the Philadelphia Union, with Luciano Acosta scoring in the 10th minute of injury time to secure a 4-3 win.

Noonan’s side have now won nine of their last 10 league games and sit second in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Inter Miami.

But there were some concerns at the back, with Cincinnati having now conceded eight goals in their last four games, something Noonan is keen on addressing.

“Certainly, how we have gotten results has shifted to scoring goals and struggling defensively from an early stretch when defensively we were much stronger and didn’t need four goals to win a game,” Noonan said.

“We gave another set-piece goal which has been a little bit of a theme. Against Philadelphia, it was defending crosses.

“We will continue to look at the best combination of guys to help us from the frontline to the backline to be better defensively because I think right now, with how we are creating chances, that hasn’t been a concern. But we need to get better defensively.”

Meanwhile, New England continued their impressive recent form with a 3-2 win over Vancouver Whitecaps last Sunday and have now won three in a row.

The Revolution have closed the gap at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and are now two points behind Orlando City and the Chicago Fire.

Head coach Caleb Porter was pleased with his side’s reaction to conceding late in their latest fixture and believes the mentality within his squad has significantly shifted.

“We have still got to score more though,” Porter said. “But I loved that we scored three goals and I loved that we responded after conceding to take the game to 1-1.

“That shows mentality is changing. I also loved that the guys were a little ticked off at the end of the game. We have won three in a row, and they were kind of mad that they didn’t score more and they conceded.

“That’s a great mentality to have. We’re not relieved to win; we’re expecting to win now. If we play like we did against Vancouver, we can beat anybody in this league.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

The Argentine took his assist tally to 13 in MLS this season during Cincinnati’s win over Philadelphia, more than any other player in the division this season.

Acosta has now assisted 92 goals since arriving at Cincinnati in 2021, moving up to ninth in the all-time assist charts in MLS.

New England – Giacomo Vrioni

The Albanian scored his second goal in three games during New England’s victory over Vancouver, taking his tally to 16 for the club since arriving in 2022.

Of his 10 goals scored in the MLS, Vrioni has scored against just seven sides, with Cincinnati being one of those.

MATCH PREDICTION: CINCINNATI WIN

The Revs should enter this game in high spirits, having won three straight matches after only collecting seven points from their first 13 games in MLS this year.

Their last four-game winning streak came in August 2021, and the fourth win in that run came against Cincinnati.

A repeat is not expected here, though, with Cincinnati winning nine of their last 10 matches (one defeat). No team in the post-shootout era has ever won 10 games in a span of 11 regular-season outings before.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Cincinnati – 64.6%

Draw – 18.9%

New England – 16.4%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

You can follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/soccernews.com or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.

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