FC Cincinnati travels to red-hot Toronto FC for EC showdown

Lucho Acosta jumps over a slide-tackling Deybi Flores for Toronto FC in a match held at TQL Stadium on Feb. 25, 2024. Photo by Anders Saling.

FC Cincinnati will look to continue its six-game winning streak when the team travels to red-hot Toronto FC.

Both teams come into the match with a great run of form. FCC has had six wins in a row, which includes wins over the Columbus Crew, the Colorado Rapids and St. Louis CITY SC. FCC is coming off its only win of those games in which the team won by more than one goal, a 3-1 home win over STL.

FCC has really come into its own over this stretch of the season. Kevin Kelsy has shown his quality in the minimal time he’s been on the field and the rest of the team has started to gel as well. Pavel Bucha has truly become a pivotal member of the squad too.

However, what has rocketed FCC to second in the Supporters’ Shield standings, one point behind Inter Miami CF, is Lucho Acosta’s return to form.

Acosta comes into the match with a goal contribution, which is either a goal or assist, in eight straight matches, a club record. When he is on this level, it makes it infinitely easier for every other FCC player.

FCC and Toronto have already faced off once this season, a 0-0 affair in the first MLS match of the season.

According to FBRef, FCC came out ahead in terms of xG with .9 over Toronto’s .5. FCC had the better of the possession with 52 percent. FCC also came out ahead in terms of shots and shots on target, 17-9 and 5-3.

However, this match featured multiple players for FCC missing out or not even being on the team yet and a massive presence that will be missed on Saturday for Toronto. Matt Miazga wasn’t able to feature in this match due to his remaining suspension from the end of the 2023 season, requiring Kipp Keller to serve in his place. Sergio Santos and Corey Baird also started up top for FCC in that match.

The Opposition

Toronto FC is currently fifth on the Eastern Conference table with a record of 7-1-6.

Toronto comes into this match with two demolitions in their last two matches, a 5-1 destruction of CF Montreal over the weekend and an 8-1 annihilation of Saint-Laurent on Tuesday in the Canadian Championship.

Over this recent stretch of matches, Toronto’s own #10, Federico Bernardeschi, has played like the player everyone hoped he would. However, it appears he will miss Saturday’s matchup, as he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season.

This is a massive break for FCC, especially in a home matchup for Toronto that looked to be set up for a possible coming-out party for the Reds.

Toronto will still have Prince Osei Owusu available, who is tied for the team lead with six goals on the season. Aside from him and Bernardeschi, Toronto has nobody with more than two goals. Bernardeschi is also tied for the team lead in assists with three alongside Matty Longstaff.

Toronto has so far scored two more goal on the season than FCC, with 21 goals scored, but has allowed significantly more goals, having let in 20, nine more than FCC’s. Judging by Toronto’s record, draws do not happen often.

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