After two disappointing results, FC Cincinnati returns to MLS play to face off against an NYCFC side looking to make a late-season push for the playoffs.
While sitting 13th in the East, NYCFC is only sitting six points outside of the playoff line and is hoping a flurry of summer signings can help fix some of the ails that have plagued them all year.
For one, NYCFC has struggled to convert chances into goals and went out and signed Algerian striker Mounsef Bakrar. While not coming from a club with a well-known pedigree, he fills perhaps the biggest need the team has had all year, that being an actual striker. When the season started the club tried to fill the vacancy left by striker Taty Castellanos by moving their young Brazilian star Talles Magno into the role, he struggled to create the right runs and finish the chances that did fall to him.
But it’s not just a new striker creating the chances, as the Pigeons also brought back midfield maestro Maxi Moralez and signed left-footed center-back Birk Risa to fill out the holes in the roster. Their entrance to the team created a noticeable return to style as Moralez pulled the strings across the field and Risa was able to hit long diagonals to spring an on-rushing winger when the midfield collapsed on the middle.
While one game doesn’t make a trend, NYCFC fans may be encouraged as the team created an xG of 2.2 with their new striker opening lanes for the midfield, but they are still waiting to see these chances converted as the team was unable to score any goals. Their leading goal scorer this year, Gabi Pereira, was transferred to Qatari team Al-Rayyan SC this summer, and while he wasn’t a prolific scorer, it leaves another offensive hole to be filled.
Ultimately, NYCFC enters this game against FCC with plenty of questions to be answered but may be a squad that can take care of chances if there is a lull from the effort the squad put out on Wednesday.
Game Time: August 26, 7:30 PM
Location: TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Broadcast: MLS Season Pass on AppleTV