FC Cincinnati will look for 2017 revenge when the side travels to New Jersey for a Round of 16 Open Cup matchup with the New York Red Bulls.
None of the FCC squad from that semifinal match remains but the fans certainly remember and will always look to exact revenge. The Red Bulls, however, will be trying to bounce back from its loss at the hands of FCC in the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs.
FCC is currently on a seven-match unbeaten streak, with six wins in that span, and certainly seems to be rounding into one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
The side’s biggest early weakness, its offensive output, was a massive thorn in its side in trying to win matches. The fact that the team won as many matches as it did when it wasn’t able to score in an adept fashion just goes to show how handily its defense improved.
In the last few matches, that offense has started to cook, with six goals in the last two matches alone. Lucho Acosta has begun to again look like one of the best players in the league. His distribution and ideas have been unmatched on the squad and allow FCC to do things it wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
However, something I wouldn’t have predicted is the emergence of Dominique Badji as one of the best performers on the team. The fourth-string striker has really helped FCC get over this period when neither Brenner nor Sergio Santos have been available.
Badji’s play has done really well in distribution, opening up play for Brandon Vazquez, but has been even more important in his back-pressing. Multiple times in the last couple of matches, I have seen the attack lose the ball, and instead of letting it transition the other way, Badji did outstandingly to pressure and win the ball back.
New York Red Bulls have a record of 3-7-4, 16 points and is 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls have scored only 10 goals on the season and allowed 12, compared to FCC’s 21 and 14 respectively.
The vast majority of the Red Bulls’ matchups have been of the low-scoring variety, with only three of their matches on the season having had more than two total goals scored. Every other matchup has been a 0-0, 1-0 or 1-1 result.
These statistics show that if FCC wants to win, it will absolutely need to be on its game offensively. The side might not get a lot of chances, and the ones it does get will need to be capitalized on. Think about how good our defense has been, and think how the opposition has allowed two fewer. That’s a great mark for the Red Bulls.
However, on the other side of the ball, New York has been horrendous. The side has scored only 10 on the season, the lowest in the entire Eastern Conference.
Three players on the team are tied for the lead with two goals apiece, Omir Fernandez, Andrés Reyes and Cory Burke. It does not seem like the players it is expecting to perform on that side have been doing so. John Tolkin, however, has done alright on the assist front, as he has four so far on the season.
WhoScored.com said the New York Red Bulls’ strengths include defending set pieces and defending a lead. The site also said the team’s weaknesses include finishing scoring chances and keeping possession of the ball. The Red Bulls’ style of play includes long balls and taking a lot of shots.