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FC Cincinnati v Philadelphia Union: Noonan not ready to write off former side despite recent league

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Jun 2024

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FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan expects a tough test against the Philadelphia Union despite their recent form, as he faces his former side this Thursday.

The Orange and Blue come into the contest as the overwhelming favourites having won eight of their last nine matches, the latest coming in a 4-2 win over San Jose Earthquakes last time out.

Noonan’s side are just two points behind the Eastern Conference league leaders, Inter Miami, but have played two games less than the side directly above them.

However, Noonan was quick to look past the two sides’ differing recent form, insisting the game will be a tougher encounter than many will expect.

“They’ve been stable for a long time, and when you’re stable and at the top of the league for so long, anytime there’s a stretch where you’re not winning games, you’re not getting results, there’s going to be criticism,” Noonan said.

“That’s a part of what we’re all dealing with. So I think the compliment there is it’s been so long since we’ve seen them have struggles. But I can tell you, with Jim (Curtin) and with some of those leaders, they’re going to be fine.”

“That’s my view of it, and it doesn’t make me any more comfortable about Wednesday. If there’s anything that you know, anytime their backs are against the wall, these guys step up. Jim knows how to lead that group, so we have to be very cautious about an opponent that, while they might be struggling with results, has been in these situations before and come out on top.”

The Union come into the encounter at the TQL Stadium having won one of their last 11 league matches, leaving them in eighth place in the East table following their 2-1 defeat to Inter Miami last Saturday.

Their recent meetings with their opponents have also ended on the wrong end of the scoreline, losing their last three meetings.

Prior to this run, the Union were unbeaten in their first seven meetings with Cincinnati (W5 D2) and they will be hopeful of gaining a much-needed triumph to gain some belief back into their squad.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

Acosta’s creative spark shone in Cincinatti’s win victory over San Jose, recording three assists for the second time in his MLS career, last coming in September 2018 with DC United.

The Argentine became the 13th player in MLS history to have two such games, something no player has done three times, hoping to add to 19 goal contributions from 17 league games this season.

Philadelphia Union – Mikael Uhre

Uhre netted his sixth goal of the season on Saturday, becoming the third different Union player with six or more goals (Daniel Gazdag – 10, Julian Carranza – six).

The only other team with three players with six or more goals this season are Portland (Felipe Mora, Evander, Jonathan Rodriguez).

MATCH PREDICTION: FC CINCINNATI WIN

FC Cincinnati have won three of their last five matches against the Union (D1 L1), including eliminating Philadelphia from last season’s playoffs.

FC Cincinnati have won eight of their last nine matches (L1), and are looking to become just the fourth team in the post-shootout era (since 2000) to win nine times in a span of 10 league matches.

Meanwhile, The Union have won one of their last 11 league matches (D5 L5) following their loss to Inter Miami on Saturday. The eight points Philadelphia have collected over that span are their fewest in any 11-game stretch of league play since 2015.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Cincinnati – 50.8%

Draw – 25%

Philadelphia – 24.3%

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.

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