FC Cincinnati look to stay hot against DC United

Surging DC United and Wayne Rooney head to Nippert Stadium to take on an improved FC Cincinnati side.

FC Cincinnati is on a roll. The Orange and Blue have briefly woken up from their hellish dream that was the last few months. The teams play has vastly changed since a few regulars returned from international duty. FCC won two straight matches and look to add D.C. United to their list of victims. A victory over D.C. United could even get FC Cincy out of the basement and above the Columbus Crew in the standings.

FCC have done a complete 180 since suffering that 7-1 beatdown at the hands of Minnesota United. They knocked off the Houston Dynamo and then went to Chicago and picked up their 2nd road win of the season. Momentum seems to have been on their side and they will be looking to build it on Thursday. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. at Nippert Stadium and the match will be nationally televised on ESPN.

The win over the Fire was big for one player in particular. Fanendo Adi, who has been the subject of a mountain of criticism, scored his first MLS goal with the club. Adi is still coming back from injury but that didn’t stop him from landing the match winner as a second-half sub. With the proverbial monkey off his back, it will be interesting to see if Adi can now turn it up and contribute in a big way heading into the double match weekend.

FCC are in a much better mental position than where they were just a few weeks ago. Getting a few big players back and scoring a few goals has built confidence. Fans can see a path forward where one didn’t exist a month ago. The arrival of Allan Cruz and Kendall Waston has seen the play of the midfield take a complete 180 and the defensive play seemingly become shored up. The defense will have their work cut out for them this week as Wayne Rooney and D.C. United come into Nippert.

D.C. United currently sit 2nd in the Eastern Conference standings, four points behind conference leaders, the Philadelphia Union. This is the first meeting between the two clubs and the second time an international superstar will face the Orange and Blue at Nippert. Rooney leads the team in goals with 10 and has scored more goals than the top 5 goalscorers on FCC. Rooney brings a wealth of experience and major international pedigree. Throughout his career, Rooney scored goals on every international stage. Coming to Major League Soccer was big for the league and he has certainly failed to disappoint.

This is a matchup between two clubs who are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Even though they are currently on a two-match winning streak, FC Cincinnati has been a sieve this season, giving up a stunning 45 goals so far. Conceding so many is never good, especially while only tallying 20 goals. FCC has been shut out eight times so far this season, while D.C. United have suffered the same fate, seven times. The defense has been the difference between both clubs.

Both clubs have scored one goal or less, 14 times each this season. The matchup on paper looks to contradict that. Rooney will put a lot of pressure on Waston and company, so the Cincy defense will need to stay in sync. FC Cincinnati might certainly catch a break if Luciano Acosta is unavailable. FCC is looking more comfortable and needs to stop plays from developing earlier. Shutting down Rooney will be the most important thing they can do in this match because that will cause the pressure to fall on others and if Acosta cannot play, it will be an uphill battle.

Like with most clubs, D.C. United are better at home than on the road. Here is a prime chance, in front of a nationally televised audience, for FCC to rise up and snag a win. A victory for both teams would be huge in the standings, but a victory for FCC will give them three straight victories for the first time in their MLS history.

@iamchrisasbrock for @CincySoccerTalk

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