This isn’t the worst idea in the world, given both teams have essentially scored and conceded the same amount of goals and that Orlando’s prone to a bad loss, but it may still be premature. The underdogs have, after all, done a better job picking up points.
Ride with Orlando, but watch Cincinnati as a team for the future. Fanduel is a great place for making your wagers on this match.
Orlando City currently sits fourth in the East with 25 points and a 7-4-5 record; they’ve got two wins, two draws, and one loss in their last five games, most recently defeating Houston Dynamo FC 2-1. They’re six points above eighth-place FC Cincinnati, the first team outside of playoff position, and two points off the conference-leading New York City FC. Clearly, they’re in a strong position, but they haven’t been unbeatable, making them susceptible to a challenge from lesser-caliber teams.
Orlando’s main man is Ercan Kara, who’s scored six goals in 16 appearances, including a brace in the team’s 2-1 recent win over Houston. Surprisingly enough for a team that’s done so well this season, no other player on the squad has managed more than two league goals, which has contributed to them only tallying 20 on the year. Another surprise, again, for a fourth-place team, is they’ve got a negative goal differential, having conceded 22 times— if they want to seriously establish themselves as a playoff contender, they need to either seal up their leaky defense or become more clinical in front of goal.
As has been the case for a majority of the campaign, Orlando creates enough chances to dominate games, but their inability to finish off attacks has held them back from climbing even higher in the league table. They like to set up in a 4-2-3-1 which gives them balance across every area of the pitch, but they haven’t quite found a way to turn this into perfect harmony and dominate matches from start to finish. Once they do, however, they’ll become a legitimate top-five team in the entire league, as they’ve done a phenomenal job picking up points, regardless of what happens in the match.
FC Cincinnati’s managed to climb out of the basement and reach eighth, as previously mentioned, which is a huge improvement on where they were last season. The team has gone 6-2-7 but only has one win and one draw in its last three matches and is winless in its last three games. Their last result, a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union, was a positive one, given their opponent is third in the league table, although they also specialize in obtaining draws. The key for Cinci will be to rekindle its early-season form and continue to show improvement on the past.
Brandon Vazquez has been the clear bright spot for the squad, scoring eight times in 16 games. Luciano Acosta’s been an admirable co-star, finding the back of the net five times thus far, while the rest of the team hasn’t been anything special in front of the goal. Like Orlando, Cinci has a negative goal differential, having conceded 26 goals to just 22 scored; their mid-table identity will never leave them if they can’t turn this figure into a positive one, although improvement doesn’t happen overnight and they’ve already gotten to a much more desirable spot than they did in 2021.
Cinci likes to structure itself in a 3-4-1-2, leaving themselves slightly barren on the defensive flank but heavily covering the center of defense and giving them the ability to send multiple bodies forward, all while having two target men leading the front line. It’s hard to critique their improvement, but if there’s one area in particular that they could look to get even stronger in, it’d be dominating possession to alleviate pressure from their defense, especially on the wider parts of the pitch.
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