(Photo by ESPN.com)
This Cinco de Mayo, ATL UTD 2 (1-2-3) is on the road and looking to make a goal fiesta in Nappert Stadium facing off against FC Cincinnati (4-1-2). After a 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in week 8 of the USL, FC Cincinnati may sound familiar to you if you’re an ATL UTD fan for two reasons: 1. They were able to take the Chicago Fire, in the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, to penalties and win the shootout, knocking them out in the fifth round or 2. ATL UTD’s first team acquired the goalkeeper, Mitch Hilderbrandt, that won FC Cincinnati that very same game by saving all of the penalties. Cincinnati is currently sitting in 2nd place in the Eastern conference standings and have not lost since April 7 when they faced the reigning USL champs and currently 1st place ranked, Louisville City FC.
Shutting Down Early
ATL UTD 2
ATL UTD 2’s defense continues to improve throughout the season and besides letting a 25 minute goal hit the back of the net last week, ATL has looked more solid in the back line. However, having Miles Robinson out for this match due to his accumulation of yellow cards against the Riverhounds, keeping the possessive and defensive style of play we have might look altered. It takes our team some time in each match to get their feet wet and play at the level we know we can play. If ATL UTD 2 starts the match playing defensively sound, our forward players will feel more comfortable playing higher up in order to take advantage of all of the balls that are played up the pitch.
This Cincinnati team has scored 11 goals in their last 7 games so, needless to say, Cincinnati can shoot the ball and they will score if they can help it. One thing to note is, that like ATL’s first team, FC Cincinnati has an awesome home game presence, setting the record in USL attendance last year. However, Cincinnati has not had a win at home so far in this season, which is great for us since it takes away from the edge of home field advantage. Focusing more on the mechanics of this team, Cincinnati has found their stride with a 4-2-3-1 formation that allows them to establish a rhythm at a fast pace so they can do things they like, such as move the ball around high on the pitch or switch the side of the field quickly, which contributes to their big offensive plays that have led to goals.
Much like Louisville FC, Cincinnati is another top ranked USL team in great looking form coming into week 9 of the regular season and if this match is anything like that one, then it’s going to be difficult, for sure. ATL UTD 2 needs to make sure that their passing is quick and effective because Cincinnati will pressure the defense from the start in order to capitalize off ATL’s possible errors and score, like they did in their match against Indy Eleven which they won 3-2 earlier this week due largely to defensive errors. So let’s make our presence known and hang out sombreros in Cincinnati!
My score prediction:
ATL UTD 2: 1
FC Cincinnati: 0
Most Dangerous Player:
MDP: Corben Bone – 2 goals, 2 assists in 7 apps.