FC Cincinnati will search for a rare win on Saturday (7.30pm ET; TV: Live on ESPN+) as they entertain New York City FC at TQL Stadium. The visitors will be hoping to bounce back after a string of games without a win, though winning away from home is far from their speciality.
This preview analyzes this MLS matchup, gives its predictions and concludes with betting picks suggestions.
Jaap Stam’s men finally broke their long winless streak last weekend, beating Toronto FC by two goals to nil at this venue. Unfortunately, such a win didn’t lead to better things as it was back to square one during the week, as they lost by no fewer than four goals to nil on the road at Atlanta United. Such a result may have reversed the confidence generated by last Saturday’s win, though now that they’re back on home soil, the hosts will be hoping to build on the positives from their win against the Canadians.
For the visitors, it has not been smooth sailing of late. They returned to winning ways at the end of August, beating conference leaders New England Revolution, which was an excellent result, though that victory didn’t act as a springboard for further success. The visitors arrive here without a win in three, two of which they have lost. They did share the spoils with Dallas last time out, and the fact that they scored three goals was pleasing, though the fact that they conceded three in the process was anything but. Defensively, NYCFC need to improve, at least if they have any hopes of holding their relatively comfortable position inside the play-off spots.
Tough to beat at home
In previous match previews concerning Cincinnati, their sturdiness at home has been spoken about, and it’s well worth touching on again. For all, they’ve struggled hugely to get their noses in front, Stam’s men are not at all easy to overcome in their own backyard. They’ve lost just one of their last seven at home, conceding just five goals in the process. They’ve also kept three clean sheets during that time, so they’re not easy to get at.
We all know about their offense struggles, which are underlined by a total of just three goals in their last five at TQL Stadium, though they scored twice en route to a solid victory against Toronto, so they can’t be written off in that sense.
Troubles on the road
New York City is in a strong position inside the top four, and it appears that featuring in the post-season is very much achievable. However, one thing that may hold them back is their rather disastrous form away from the comforts of Yankee Stadium. Only three teams in the Eastern Conference have picked up fewer travelling points than Saturday’s visitors, who’ve collected just nine points from 12 away games.
It is not that NYCFC regularly get beaten with ease when on the road, but they’ve struggled to get their noses in front, which can probably be put down to a lack of goals scored. Ronny Deila’s men have scored 12 times in 11 away matches, which if we go by the general league standard, isn’t great. Seven teams in the east have scored more travelling goals than New York City. From a creativity point of view, they’ve done OK, averaging 1.32 expected goals for per 90, which is far from amazing. It is also far from the worst in the division, so it really is a lack of end-product that has prevented the visitors from doing better away from home.
Ironically, a lack of end-product was far from evident when these teams met earlier in the season, at least from an NYCFC point of view. The boys from New York won by five goals to nil when the pair faced each other at Yankee Stadium back in late April, and as the likes of Jesus Medina and Valentin Castellanos ran riot, there was a sizable gap in quality between the two teams. On that showing, this really is NYCFC’s fixture to lose, but the strength that FC Cincinnati regularly shows at home, coupled with the travelling troubles of Saturday’s visitors, means it is not that simple.
Cincinnati vs NYCFC best betting option, predictions & pick
So, in the betting, where do we go? Given the standings and how the reverse fixture panned out, it’s not surprising to see that NYCFC come into this game as red-hot favorites on the moneyline. That said, it’s quite easy to feel that they are on the short side at -130.
Cincinnati is a tough nut to crack at home and TQL Stadium is becoming an increasingly tough place to go to. The hosts have conceded just two goals in their last five home games, conceding an average of just 0.68 expected goals. Though they’re not the most creative of teams, they have bettered their opponents in terms of xG in four of those five, averaging 1.06. These numbers aren’t exciting, but they show a team that probably deserves more respect than it is getting from the market right now.
At the current odds, ‘Cincinnati Tie No Bet’ makes lots of appeal. Yes, the reverse fixture ended in a resounding win for NYCFC, but things have changed since then. The hosts have tightened up and they’re in good shape on home soil, while the visitors are out of form and have been struggling to score the goals required at home. Put this all together and a home win, with the insurance the ‘draw no bet’ provides, makes plenty of sense at appealing odds. So, for our MLS game predictions, it’s just the one pick:
- Cincinnati Tie No Bet @ +230 with Bovada.