FC Cincinnati travels to San Jose after 17-day break

Pavel Bucha dribbles against New York City FC. Photo courtesy Brian Mack.
Pavel Bucha dribbles against New York City FC. Photo courtesy Brian Mack.

It’s been over two weeks since The Orange and Blue had a match, and they will return to action this Saturday when they travel west to the capital of Silicon Valley to face off against the last-place San Jose Earthquakes (3-2-11).

FC Cincinnati (10-3-3) is coming off a 2-0 loss to Nashville at TQL Stadium. However, FCC sits just two points behind Inter Miami in first place in the Eastern Conference and in the Supporters Shield race with two games in hand.


This weekend will mark only the third-ever meeting between FCC and San Jose. The last team these two sides met was in 2022, where Cincinnati routed San Jose 6-0 at home. The first-ever match took place in 2019, when the Earthquakes defeated FCC 1-0.


San Jose is not just in the basement in the Western Conference. They are currently the bottom dwellers of all MLS, with just 11 points on the season.

The Earthquakes have been abysmal defensively this year, having given up 39 goals this season, the most in the MLS. They have also only won two matches at PayPal Park, and have only captured seven points of a possible 21 at home this season.

On a positive note, Argentinan winger Cristian Espinoza is having a good season once again. While he has only scored two goals so far in 2024, he leads the team with nine assists on the year, which is fifth in the entire MLS, and is fourth in the league in key passes with 46.

Realistically, other than Espinoza, there isn’t much worth noting in a positive aspect. It’s been another frustrating season so far for the Earthquakes.

Head coach Luchi Gonzalez is in his second season with the team, and with three other MLS head coaches losing their jobs in the past weeks, a win against one of the league’s best could be a job saver.


Coming off a disappointing performance at home against Nashville, many will look at it as a bump in the road. This is how fans should see it, that is until the team goes through a bad stretch that tells you otherwise.

While the layoff between that Nashville match and the game on Saturday has been long, FCC will want to bounce back and get its seventh road win of the season. But more so, a win and an Inter Miami loss would put the Orange and Blue in first in the Eastern Conference.

FCC has been road warriors this season, with an impressive 6-1-1 record away from TQL Stadium, and will be heavily favored against the Earthquakes this weekend.

FC Cincinnati’s ability to grind out results this season has been extremely impressive, especially on the road. The formula should be the same for head coach Pat Noonan’s side this weekend. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’


Amahl Pellegrino – #9, San Jose Earthquakes

Pellegrino leads the Earthquakes in goals on the year with five and in expected goals with 4.62. The dynamic left winger has been one of the precious few dangerous threats in the attacking third for San Jose this season. The Norwegian needs to have a good performance to help take the load off of Espinoza.

Cristian Espinoza – #7, San Jose Earthquakes

He can be a winger who stretches the field, he can come inside and he can also create. Espinoza is the most dangerous attacker on this San Jose squad. When he’s the best player on the pitch, they have a good chance of getting a positive result.

Luciano Acosta – #10, FC Cincinnati

Number one in the MLS in key passes with 59, second in the league in assists with 10, along with seven goals on the season. Acosta is the clear heartbeat of this FCC offense, even more so this season than in his 2023 MVP campaign year.

DeAndre Yedlin – #91, FC Cincinnati

Yedlin’s athleticism and ability to get up and down the right side will be key for FCC. The majority of San Jose attacks are down the flanks, so Yedlin’s positioning will be important in helping prevent counterattacks. Here’s to hoping he’s back to full fitness.


You can watch the match this weekend on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. Kick-off is slated for 10:30 p.m. EST.

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