Preview: FC Cincinnati Concludes MLS Regular Season with Match Against Atlanta United

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The pursuit of a second trophy by FC Cincinnati is set to overshadow the significance of the Supporters’ Shield.

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Since securing the Shield on September 30, FC Cincinnati and its supporters have basked in the glory of this achievement. The community’s excitement has been tangible, evident in the numerous photo opportunities captured with the prominent disc-shaped prize.

While the fans will continue cherishing the Shield well into the next season and beyond, the focus is expected to shift to the MLS Cup playoffs. As FC Cincinnati prepares to host Atlanta United at TQL Stadium this weekend, this matchup may mark one of the final moments where the Shield is truly celebrated.

Facing a sixth-place Atlanta side in the Eastern Conference standings, FC Cincinnati sees this match as the last tune-up before the playoffs. Atlanta United, eager to improve their standing, will be a formidable opponent.

The game is scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m., coinciding with the start of other Eastern Conference matches as part of the league’s Decision Day, which will finalize all regular-season games and playoff scenarios.

With the Supporters’ Shield secured well in advance and FC Cincinnati falling short of its goals with only two games remaining, the team is focused on fine-tuning its performance for the upcoming playoffs, where it is expected to be a strong contender for the MLS Cup.

Given the absence of high-stakes matches since September 30, FC Cincinnati has ample room for improvement. The team has also had a break since October 7 due to the recently concluded international break.

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Speaking during a Thursday news conference, FCC head coach Pat Noonan emphasized the team’s current focus on the upcoming match against Atlanta. “The break came at a good time,” Noonan stated. “Despite the players lost to international duty, our training sessions were productive. We utilized the break to work on various aspects internally and prepare for what we anticipate from Atlanta. We integrated some young academy players into training, making this international break more beneficial than most. Our focus is solely on Atlanta, and at this stage, it’s crucial to field our strongest team for consistency leading into the playoffs. We are prepared for a tough opponent and will field a formidable lineup.”

Match Details:

Kickoff: 6 p.m., Saturday Venue: TQL Stadium, Cincinnati

Live Stream: Available on Apple TV

Historical Record: Atlanta United holds the advantage in the all-time series against FC Cincinnati with a 5-2-4 record. Prediction: FC Cincinnati 2, Atlanta 1.

FC Cincinnati Record: 20-5-8, 68 points; Secured first place and the Supporters’ Shield

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Goals Scored: 55 (Ranked 5th in the east) Goals Conceded: 37 (Ranked 2nd in the east)

Head Coach: Pat Noonan – in his second season as head coach

Projected Starting XI:

  • Roman Celentano, goalkeeper
  • Alvaro Barreal, left back
  • Nick Hagglund, center back
  • Matt Miazga, center back
  • Ian Murphy, center back
  • Ray Gaddis, right back
  • Junior Moreno, midfielder
  • Obinna Nwobodo, midfielder
  • Luciano Acosta, midfielder
  • Brandon Vazquez, forward
  • Aaron Boupendza, forward

Atlanta United Record: 13-9-11, 50 points; Ranked sixth in the MLS Eastern Conference

Goals Scored: 64 (Ranked 2nd in the east) Goals Conceded: 51 (Ranked 12th in the east)

Head Coach: Gonzalo Pineda

Projected Starting XI:

  • Brad Guzan, goalkeeper
  • Brooks Lennon, right back
  • Miles Robinson, center back
  • Luis Abram, center back
  • Caleb Wiley, left back
  • Tristan Muyumba, midfielder
  • Matheus Rossetto, midfielder
  • Saba Lobzhanidze, midfielder/winger
  • Thiago Almada, midfielder
  • Xande Silva, midfielder/winger
  • Giorgos Giakoumakis, striker

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