New York Red Bulls vs. FC Cincinnati Prediction, Preview, and Odds - 8/4/21

The New York Red Bulls play host to FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night from Red Bull Arena, in Harrison, New Jersey, in a crucial Eastern Conference tilt. These two teams have yet to face off against each this season but have a lengthy history over the last few years against each other. Cincinnati has won two in a row in the series between the two times, with New York taking the three games prior to that. Since the start of the 2019 season, New York holds a 3-2 lead overall in the series between the two, though anything can happen on Wednesday night. Both teams have had a rough year, with New York sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings, and Cincinnati in 11th place, just four points back of their opponent for Wednesday though. Expect both teams to try to start fast, especially considering what’s at stake for New York to try to sneak into the playoffs and for Cincinnati to try to put together a miraculous comeback to end the season.

NYRB Looks To End Skid

It’s been a little over a month since New York last grabbed a win and while the season is slowly coming to an end, they know that they need to change their form to get going down the right path. They’ve lost back-to-back games overall, including a home defeat to the New England Revolution the last time out, and have two draws since their last win on July 3rd against Orlando. Even despite the recent slow run, New York still sits within striking distance of a playoff spot. Sitting on 18 points in 15 games with an even goal differential, they are only four points behind Montreal for the last playoff spot. Coming in having lost twice in a row to Cincinnati as well at the tail end of last year, revenge will surely be on New York’s mind when they take the field on Wednesday night. It’ll also be an advantage having just played at home over the weekend and the lack of travel should play into their hands as a major key.

The New York Red Bulls could definitely be in better shape when it comes to who is available, but still are in better shape than a lot of teams, especially coming off so many players being out on international duty. According to the league’s availability report, the major loss continues to be Aaron Long, who just a few years ago was one of the hottest commodities in the league from a potential transfer standpoint. Add that to Danny Royer (thigh), Youba Diarra (hamstring), and Andres Reyes (hamstring), all already ruled out, has New York tapping into their depth slightly. Sean Nealis (thigh) is questionable as well, but with that, the defense will look to take the biggest hit. With Nealis, Reyes, and Long, all potentially missing time on Wednesday, that’ll mean three defenders out.

The good news for New York is that while the defense continues to lose guys, the offense is well intact for a big night. Caden Clark, who is expected to make a move to Europe after the season ends, has had a big season and is even with Cristian Casseres Jr. for the team-lead in goals, with four each. Only Reyes being out represents any player that won’t be available who has scored this year. Fabio is the creative genius to keep an eye on. He leads the team with five assists and has added three goals as well, while Patryk Klimala is right behind him with four assists and three goals himself. The lack of defensive depth might not matter if the offense can put up a big night and they definitely have the stars available to make that happen on Wednesday.

Cincinnati Looks To Sustain Success

FC Cincinnati has had their fair share of struggles since joining the league but back-to-back wins over New York to finish out the fall last season has the team feeling plenty of confidence about their chances at making it three wins in a row. While the Red Bulls are on their own winless streak, Cincinnati can better that, having not grabbed a win since June 26th against Toronto. In the six games since, they’ve tied four times and lost two, having just struggled to get over the hump to that next level. They probably sit a little too far out of things to be a playoff contender for now though, as they still only have 14 points through 15 games, with a minus-twelve goal differential. It would nearly take getting points in every game to work themselves into playoff positioning and even then it may not be enough. Another win against New York would do loads for their confidence though, which is exactly what FC Cincinnati needs as they continue to develop and create an identity in the league.

One area that has helped Cincinnati at least pick up draws over the last month has been their ability to stay healthy. Heading into Wednesday night’s game on the road, they are only expected to be without three players. Calvin Harris (meniscus), Maikel van der Werff (sports hernia), and Zico Bailey (hip), all remain out yet again, though the three have combined to play in only five games this year. Bailey, already a journeyman by some standards, has only appeared in one game, while Harris has played in four games, registering neither a goal nor assist. This is great news for Cincinnati, as heading on the road on a short week can already be daunting enough, but now with their mainstay roster intact, there’s no reason to not give New York a great performance.

Luciano Acosta enters as the team’s leading scorer, with four goals and three assists, and will be a major focal point of anything Cincinnati wants to accomplish offensively. Ronald Matarrita coming back from injury is a massive blessing as well. With three assists on the year in only nine games, his ability to get forward from the back is unreplicated within the squad and a major advantage that they hold over most teams. Add in a defense anchored by longtime European player, Geoff Cameron, and the potential behind Alvaro Barreal and Brenner every time they take the field, and Cincinnati has the defense to try to slow down New York, as well as some of the offensive firepower to try to match them.

Pick: New York Red Bulls (-200)

Fc Cincinnati might have won two games in a row in the series between the two teams, but having not won a match in over five weeks, along with heading on the road as well, makes for a difficult matchup. New York has far more firepower on offense, with Clark quickly showing why he’s on the way to Europe next season. The biggest thing for New York is that their offense is predicated on attackers who can score and be creative in the attack, as opposed to target forwards, which will be difficult for Cincinnati to navigate. While Matarrita is a crucial piece of the attack, his ability to get lost on the attack as well, can cause major problems for Cincinnati’s defense as they try to recover in a game where New York will dominate possession. With the game being in New York as well, all signs are pointing to a Red Bulls victory.

Total: Over 2.5 Goals

New York is missing two of their best defenders and while Cincinnati has Cameron to anchor things in the back, the lack of cohesion and ability to control possession, will ultimately lead to struggles for FC Cincinnati’s defense as well. The games between the two teams have historically been low-scoring, but neither team has come in before with the offensive firepower that they have now. Cincinnati’s last two road games have netted three goals and nine goals, respectively. For New York, their last home game over the weekend had five goals. Both teams have almost their entire offensive complements available as well, and chances will be plenty for both sides.

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Eric Ploch

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years. After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. James is now an integral part of our team here at StatSalt and has also been a very successful sports bettor over the years. Be sure and follow him daily.