FC Cincinnati vs. Nashville SC Prediction, Preview, and Odds - 10/27/21
Game: Cincinnati vs Nashville
FC Cincinnati plays host to Nashville SC in a crucial Eastern Conference matchup between one team looking up at everyone in the standings and the other looking down. These two teams have 29 points separating them in the standings currently, with Cincinnati sitting in last place, not just in the Eastern Conference, but in MLS as a whole. For Nashville, they are in a dog fight for second place in the Eastern Conference as the season draws to a close. These two teams have already faced off twice this season, the first times since 2018 that they've squared off. Nashville took the latest meeting at home with ease, while the teams split the April meeting. With still quite a bit to play for in regards to Nashville's outlook on the season, this remains one for fans to tune in or.
FC Cincinnati struggles continue
FC Cincinnati at one point looked like they had turned a corner over years of misfortune since joiningMLS, only to now find themselves in one of the worst forms they've ever had. They enter Wednesday night having lost nine games in a row overall, a near unheard-of figure in soccer. It's no surprise that they find themselves six points back of Toronto to escape the Eastern Conference basement, while they are also eight points back of Austin, the last-place team in the Western Conference. Cincinnati only has twenty points across 31 games, grabbing only four wins and they have a goal differential of minus-31. It's clear that they are yet again the worst team in the league but can they find a way to spoil Nashville's season down the stretch?
While some teams have injuries to claim for their misfortunes, Cincinnati is unable to rely on that excuse. They do have three players listed on this week'savailabilityreport, but none would be considered make-or-break players in the league. Maikel van der Werff (sports hernia) and Beckham Sunderland (concussion), have already been ruled out for this week's contest, while Gustavo Vallecilla (hamstring) is questionable. van der Werff and Sunderland, both keepers, have yet to even appear in games this season. Vallecilla is a more important potential miss, as he's added two goals on the season.
The offense is led by Brenner and Luciano Acosta, a pair of seven-goal scorers, tied for the team lead. Cincinnati does have scoring depth, with 13 players having found the back of the net so far this season, but lack that true presence up top to be a creative force. Acosta, with another seven assists, is clearly the leader, but it has been too easy for opponents to key in on him. Cincinnati is in dire need of help up top and while it's too late for that to be the case this season, maybe next year will see a change. Either way, it'll be tough for them to find quality in Wednesday's starting lineup to go toe-to-toe with Nashville.
Nashville SC looking to move up
At this point in the season, it's likely that Nashville is looking back on their earlier games with Cincinnati and are wondering how they dropped any points against them. The first tie, saw Cincinnati jump out to a two-goal lead in the first 12 minutes, only for Nashville to dominate and storm back, unable to find the game-winning goal. Nashville lost the last time out, after drawing in their previous five games. What once looked like a clear path towards a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference in anticipation of the MLS Cup Playoffs, now has the makings of a battle to the finish. They still look to be safely in the playoffs and are sitting on 40 points across 32 games, with only four losses, tied for the fewest in the league, and a goal differential of plus-nineteen. They find themselves in third place though, tied on points with Philadelphia, and now that they need all three points against the league's worst team on Wednesday to keep pace.
Nashville's injury report might not be as lengthy as Cincinnati's but still has two key names who will be out for Wednesday. Dax McCarty (hamstring) and Daniel Rios (lower leg) have both been ruled out for Wednesday's game in a blow that could hurt them in the run towards the playoffs. McCarty has appeared in 27 games, with no goals, but his two assists and ball willing ability in the midfield as been instrumental to Nashville's success. For Rios, he's appeared in 12 games, adding an assist and a goal, and will hurt their depth.
The good news is that Nashville brings in a healthy trio of attackers, who are sure to give Cincinnati all that they can handle. Hany Mukhtar leads the team with 14 goals and eight assists, and as long as he's in the lineup, Nashville has a good shot at bringing some excitement to the attack. C.J. Sapong has ten goals of his own, with Randall Leal adding another six. As if the offense was frightening enough as one aspect of this team, they boast Walker Zimmerman in the back, a player with key experience in the international game, and outside backs who have a knack for both defending and getting forward.
Even though Nashville hasn't been lighting up the scoreboard in their own right and has had trouble finding all three points in games, they still enter in much better form than Cincinnati, who are eyeing ten straight losses coming their way potentially. Nashville dominated both matchups earlier this season, finding themselves extremely unlucky to not come away with all three points in the first matchup, and now have an understanding of everything on the line as the playoffs approach. Expect Nashville not to waste any time finding the back of the net and to come away with all three points as they start to set their eyes on the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Cincinnati doesn't have the attack to find goals right now and even if Nashville is able to score a few, the home team won't be able to find the net nearly enough to help see the over hit. Nashville has only scored one goal in their last four games themselves, while Cincinnati has only scored multiple goals once in their last five games. In the two matchups this season, four goals or more happened in one of them, but that wouldn't expect to be the norm between these two teams. Expect a low-scoring game with Nashville relying on the defense to finish things off.