The two worst teams in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference go head-to-head on Saturday (8pm ET), as FC Cincinnati plays host to Toronto FC at TQL Stadium. Both teams will be hoping to break lengthy winless runs.
The hosts come into this fixture off the back of three straight defeats, losing to New England Revolution, which can be forgiven. Though losing against an out-of-sorts Columbus Crew is less easy to take, as was their home loss against Inter Miami last time out, especially as it was a close game. Jaap Stam’s men aren’t often easy to beat, they haven’t made a habit of giving lots away, but they are often toothless in the final third. It is this lack of attacking power that continues to cost them.
Much like the hosts, Toronto is going through a tough patch. They have lost each of their last four and are now without a win in seven. Defensively, they haven’t been great, far from it in fact, but again, like the hosts, they have been struggling regularly to impose themselves offensively, scoring only once or failing to score in each of their last four.
Not easy to beat
Without a home win to their name this campaign, the Cincinnati boys naturally have a poor home record. Only one team, and that team is Toronto, has claimed fewer home points than Saturday’s hosts, but that doesn’t mean that TQL Stadium is an easy place to go, as many a side has found out in recent times. Of their last six matches on home soil, Stam’s men have lost just one, and even that was a one-goal defeat.
As touched on in this preview above, a lack of goals is preventing them from winning, but if they continue to be solid and hard to breach on their own patch, then it shouldn’t be long before a few wins arrive. The Orange and Blue have conceded just two goals in their last four in their own backyard, while in terms of chances presented to the opposition, they really have done well, surrendering few opportunities.
Appalling away from home
It really has been a bad campaign for the visitors, who have been in appalling form on their travels. Toronto FC has collected just two wins from 13 away games this season, while they have lost ten of the other 11. A total of 14 goals scored isn’t bad, but it pales into insignificance when put up against a total of 33 goals against. They could have been considerably better offensively, and Javier Perez’s men probably wouldn’t have won many more games than they have, such has been the nature of their defensive resistance. Surrender an average of 2.53 goals per fixture and you’re always going to struggle to put points on the board.
This won’t be the first time that the pair have faced each other this season. A fixture in June yielded a rare win for the hosts, who beat Toronto by two goals to nil in Canada. Stam’s men scored early, restricting their opponents, before capitalizing and ensuring that the three points joined them on the plane south. On that occasion, FC Cincinnati produced 1.3 expected goals, while Toronto only managed 0.5. The hosts for this game also restricted their opposition to just one shot on target in the reverse fixture, the memory of which should leave them feeling confident.
Hosts finally to win at home?
Betting on a team without a win in nine home matches to come out on top is something that won’t be viable for many, but it really does appear to be the best option here. Last week, when they welcomed Inter Miami, the opportunity to break their duck was certainly there, but this week that opportunity is even greater.
Toronto are the worst team in the Eastern Conference when it comes to points collected on the road, goals conceded, expected goals against and goal difference. Without both Ayo Akinola and Jozy Altidore to call upon at present, they are not exactly menacing at the other end either. Moreover, the terrible rear-guard of the visitors really should act as a springboard for the hosts to come alive offensively, or at least do enough to get the job done. After all, we know that Cincinnati is vastly superior in the defensive half of the pitch. No team in the east has conceded fewer expected goals at home than Jaap Stam’s men.
To put it simply, if ever there was going to be a gilt-edged opportunity for the Orange and Blue to get their first home win of the campaign, then this is it. Bettors can profit by supporting them to do just that at odds of +140. So this is the conclusion of this preview’s betting picks and predictions: