Hosts FC Cincinnati go in search of a second straight win after beating NYRB on the road last time out. However, beating an in-form Philadelphia Union outfit will be anything but straightforward at Nippert Stadium on Wednesday evening (7:30pm ET).
Read on for our Cincinnati vs Philadelphia predictions and picks with full MLS game preview.
Hosts on the up?
After an unsuccessful spell, Cincinnati managed to regain the winning thread last time out, beating New York Red Bulls by a goal to nil. Such a win should mean that Gerard Nijkamp’s men come into this fixture feeling upbeat. That was their first win since beating Red Bulls at the MLS Is Back Tournament in July, though if we combine that recent win with their recent home form, then it looks as though the boys in Orange and Blue may just be on the up.
Hanging in there at home
If you’re looking for a team to go come out all guns blazing, then Cincinnati aren’t the team for you, though if you want to see a team grind out results at home in dogged fashion, then Nijkamp’s men are well worth a watch at Nippert Stadium. Scoring goals is something that they’ve not done, notching zero (yes, zero) in their three home matches since the regular season resumed, but they’ve been very tough to get at, conceding none as well. Three straight scoreless draws don’t exactly paint a picture of progression, though it does show that Cincinnati are toughing up.
A lack of goals is worrying, that’s for sure, though what is perhaps more worrying is the fact that Cincinnati haven’t really been creating much on home soil. In their three home matches since the return of the regular season, they’ve posted expected goals for figures of 1.0, 0.6 and 0.8. Now, such numbers do tell us that they ought to have notched probably two goals during that time, but they also show that they’ve struggled to create scoring opportunities. Just seven shots on target in 270+ minutes of home football is somewhat disappointing too.
Goals galore for visitors
While Cincinnati have floundered in the final third at home, Philadelphia have been notching with regularity on their travels. A 0-3 win away at Red Bulls was followed by a 1-4 thumping of Montreal last time out. With seven goals in two away matches, the Philly frontmen have been firing on all cylinders.
Don’t get carried away
Philly have looked good of late, but we shouldn’t get carried away. After all, they took advantage of facing ten men for almost the entirety of their contest against Montreal. If we break it down and check the underlying numbers, it’s easy to feel that they’ve not been as impressive away from home as recent results may suggest.
Last time out, The Union posted an encouraging 2.8 expected goals for, but as mentioned in this preview above, they did have the luxury of playing against ten men from the 6th minute onwards. If we exclude that effort, Philadelphia are averaging 0.96 expected goals for per 90 away from home. It’s not terrible, but it’s far from impressive. Again, it’s better than the 0.80 average by Cincinnati at home, but not so much better that an away win is impossible to look beyond.
Visitors on the short side?
Given that they are a side in winning form, Philadelphia come into this match as favorites. Though if we consider that their victories come with certain caveats, coupled with the fact that Cincinnati have been anything but easy to beat at home, then it’s not at all difficult to feel that they’re stingily priced at +120 with the sportsbooks. Similarly, Cincinnati look on the large side at +221.
Hosts represent value
The hosts have found it tough to get their noses in front, but their sturdy defence makes them easy to side with on this occasion. An average of 0.53 expected goals against per 90 at home is better than Philadelphia’s average of 0.87 against on the road, while they have also done a better job of keeping clean sheets. Moreover, they combined dogged defending with more quality in the final third to win last time out, so a home win is far from out of the question. If they can continue to hold strong at the back, then it would be no surprise if FC Cincinnati finally regained their scoring touch at home against a visiting side that has only kept a clean sheet in one of their last five.
So now we come to the Cincinnati vs Philadelphia predictions and picks verdict. Betting on a side with limited offensive ability certainly won’t be for everyone, but value hunters looking for a slice of the action on Wednesday evening could do worse than taking +221 on a home victory at Nippert Stadium.
- Bet on FC Cincinnati to win on the bookies’ moneyline @ best odds of +221 with BetOnline.