FC Cincinnati-Union Preview
Jim Curtin is hoping that Philadelphia Union can "take care of business" by sealing a home tie in the MLS Cup Playoffs with victory over FC Cincinnati.
The Union have struggled for consistency of late, drawing two, winning one and losing one of their last four matches, yet they still remain third in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia are not yet assured of a postseason spot, though it would require an incredible set of results for them to miss out over the remaining week of the season.
Curtin's side will be more focused on holding on for a top-four seed, which they can all but achieve with three points against the MLS' bottom-ranked side.
"We know what we have to do at home," Curtin said. "We've worked very hard to get to this point and still want to fight for the second spot.
"We know how important home field advantage is. We're still at 50 points with two games left and controlling our own destiny.
"We have to take care of business and have a professional performance."
Cincinnati have lost their last 10 matches, conceding a combined 11 goals in their most recent two defeats to Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC.
The Orange and Blue have endured another tough MLS campaign and can finish no higher than their current standing of 27th in the overall table.
"The Nashville loss is a tough one but it's hard to motivate the guys because we're not in the playoffs and we're struggling," interim head coach Tyrone Marshall said.
"It's a tough one, but again we are trying to inject as much energy and life into the field with making some subs and seeing if something can happen.
"Unfortunately, it didn't in the last game. So we move on and see what happens the next time."
Philadelphia Union - Jakob Glesnes
Curtin cannot afford to rotate his side too heavily with work still to do, even if the Union enter this game as overwhelming favorites to pick up the three points. That should mean another start in defense for Glesnes, who has played all 2,880 minutes for Philadelphia this season, tied with five others for the most in MLS in 2021.
FC Cincinnati - Brandon Vazquez
Cincinnati may have been heavily beaten by Nashville in the week, but they scored three goals of their own, one of those courtesy of Vazquez. The 23-year-old has scored in three straight games for the Orange and Blue, making him the first player in the club's history to do so.
- The Union have won four of their five meetings with FC Cincinnati (D1), keeping clean sheets in the first four before a 2-1 victory on October 9. Philadelphia have won their two home games against Cincinnati by an aggregate score of 5-0.
- Philadelphia have won their last four home matches, keeping a clean sheet in each of the last three. This is the second time this season Philadelphia have won three straight home matches without allowing a goal (May-June) though they have never kept a clean sheet in four straight home matches.
- Cincinnati lost 6-3 to Nashville on Wednesday, the third time this season the team have lost while scoring three goals. Cincinnati are the first team in MLS' post-shootout era (since 2000) to lose while scoring three or more goals on three different occasions in a single regular season.
- It took Alejandro Bedoya only 37 seconds to score the opening goal for the Union at Toronto on Wednesday. It was only the third first-minute goal in the club's MLS history and the second-fastest ever after C.J. Sapong scored 20 seconds into a match against D.C. United in July 2015.
- Vazquez scored for the third consecutive game for Cincinnati, the first player in team history to score in three straight games. Prior to his current run of form, Vazquez had scored three goals total in his first 45 games with Cincinnati.
Updated October 30, 2021