Match previews

Match preview: FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Who: Philadelphia Union (2nd place, 7-2-3, 24 points) vs FC Cincinnati (10th place, 3-6-3, 12 points)

What: 2020 MLS Regular Season

Where: Nipper Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

When: Wednesday, September 23rd 7:30 p.m.

Watch: PHL 17, ESPN+

Whistle: Guido Gonzales Jr., Cory Richardson, Peter Balciunas, Natalie Simon

Dos-a-cero is the only scoreline in the mere year-long history between the Philadelphia Union and FC Cincinnati, with the Union winning both home and away last season.

Scouting Report: Cincinnati 

A dramatic victory over the New York Red Bulls courtesy of a late Olimpico from Haris Medunjanin on Saturday ended a six game winless streak for Cincinnati. Struggling to get any real traction since the MLS Is Back Tournament, FC Cincinnati has had a bit of a rollercoaster season. With both a scoreless tie and a decisive loss to the Columbus Crew, and then a loss to NYCFC, the newer club doesn’t have much consistency.

The biggest reason is that they have no definitive goal scorer. Striker Yuya Kubo leads the club with two goals, while Brandon Vasquez, Allan Cruz, Frankie Amaya, Juergen Locadia, and Medunjanin all have only one goal apiece. However, Locadia is a striker to watch for as he currently leads his team in shots on goal at seven, followed closely by Kubo. No defender has a goal for Cincinnati, only forwards and mids, mainly because Cincinnati likes to score off of rebounds. Other than that, they rely on the playmaking and passing skills of former Union player Medunjanin to generate attacks.

Another point to watch is the team’s record not accurately reflecting the strength of their defense, who have only allowed four goals in the last five matches. FC Cincinnati likes to sit five in their back line, especially with top goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton out with an undisclosed injury, so sneaking past their defense isn’t exactly easy. Led by veteran center back Kendall Watson, who has started every match, FC Cincinnati has an older back line, experienced enough at shutting down attacks. Breaking through that back line is doable though, considering Cincinnati has conceded a total of 15 goals from crosses and corners, after open play, which are the top three ways the Union scores.

Injury Report

Out: Jimmy McLaughlin, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Przemyslaw Tyton

Scouting report: Union

It was quite the victory for the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night against Montreal in Red Bull Arena after a very rocky start. But four goals is four goals, especially when half of them came from star striker Kacper Przybylko. It’s likely that we’ll see Przybylko starting this match paired with Andrew Wooten again, as Sergio Santos continues to build up fitness after a hamstring injury.¬† It’s also likely that we’ll see Przybylko’s seventh goal of the season tonight, as Philly’s attacking style picks at all of their Cincinnati’s weaknesses.

Expect the midfield to be the same as usual, Brenden Aaronson up top with Jamiro Monteiro and Alejandro Bedoya flanking him, and Jose Martinez at the bottom of the diamond as he returns from suspension. But don’t expect the same aggression from Monteiro and Bedoya, as both player are in danger of missing a match if they pick up another yellow card as well. They’ll have to be smart this match to avoid a suspension. Also, don’t expect new super-sub Anthony Fontana to be in this starting lineup. He will probably make an appearance, but Jim Curtin said “down the stretch he is certainly going to get an opportunity to start playing 90 minutes with the amount of games that are coming up” in his press conference the other day.

Then finally for the Union’s back line, it’s a bit limited with Kai Wagner and Jack Elliott injured. Curtin loves to rotate his defenders this season, but center back pair will probably be Mark McKenzie who’s had a fantastic year, and Jakub Glesnes again, with Olivier Mbaizo and Ray Gaddis on the outside, unless Aurelien Collin gets his first start of the season now that he’s cleared from injury.

Injury Report:

Questionable: Kai Wagner
Out: Jack Elliott

Key Matchup: Midfields

It’ll be fun to watch the Union generate attacks through their usual midfield formation against a Cincinnati side who is weak on stopping crosses, Philly’s bread and butter. But throw in midfielder and playmaker, Haris Medunjanin now playing for Cincinnati against his old club, and it gets really fun.

Player to Watch: Jose Martinez

El Brujo’s first game back from suspension will be great to watch. He embodies the Philly grit style and passion, and while he racks up cards, he’s definitely needed this match as both Bedoya and Monteiro will be limited as they look to avoid suspension.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 2-0 Cincinnati

Keeping with history, the Union will get two goals, one from Przybylko and one from a homegrown, and control the match with ease.


  1. The key is for the Union to get on top early. That will prevent Cincinnati from bunkering and could open the floodgates for the Union against a team that has had a lot of trouble scoring goals.

  2. Chris Gibbons says:

    Shame Jimmy Mac won’t be involved.

  3. just a reminder that Haris scored from a corner kick, unassisted, in what should easily be goal of the week.
    we need to defend the net better than Pink Cows

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