MLS

FC Cincinnati v Nashville SC: Noonan praises hosts' adaptability

By Sports Desk May 28, 2024

Pat Noonan believes being able to win in different ways has been the key to FC Cincinnati's fine run of form, as the Orange and Blue look to make it eight straight victories against Nashville SC on Wednesday.

Cincinnati have won their last seven league games to surge up the Eastern Conference standings, and they currently sit just one point adrift of leaders Inter Miami with a game in hand.

They overcame fellow high-fliers Toronto FC by a 4-3 scoreline in a thriller last time out, and Noonan has praised his players for being adaptable in the face of different challenges. 

"It's hard to win in this league and it's hard to win consecutively like we've done," Noonan said. 

"I think what we're able to do is adapt in games and win in different ways. When we need to have the quality with the ball and score goals, we were able to do that. 

"We've seen the one-goal wins, and finally being able to win a game by two goals last week against St. Louis City. So we can win in different ways, which is important."

Nashville, meanwhile, are still awaiting their first win under interim coach Rumba Munthali, having played out back-to-back draws with Atlanta United (1-1) and CF Montreal (0-0) since they fired Gary Smith.

"It's been good, it's been positive," Munthali said of the team's work on the training ground. 

"The guys have done the work that was asked of them and have been really positive and receptive, especially at a tough time in this transition."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

Acosta assisted Cincinnati's winner last Saturday, his ninth straight regular-season match with a goal contribution, equalling the longest run in MLS since the start of the 2023 season. 

Since 2000, only six players have recorded a double-digit streak of regular-season games with a goal contribution.

Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar 

Mukhtar created five chances for team-mates in Nashville's draw with Montreal last time out, his most in a match this season. 

Nine of the 19 chances Mukhtar has created this year have come in two games against Montreal, with just 10 in his other 10 matches. Will that performance be a turning point? 

MATCH PREDICTION – FC CINCINNATI WIN

Nashville have only won only one of their last 16 MLS away matches (six draws, nine defeats including playoffs), including going winless in their last eight (four draws, four losses). 

Nashville's last road win over an Eastern Conference foe came over a year ago, a 2-1 victory at Charlotte FC on May 20, 2023.

Cincinnati's 4-3 win at Toronto last time out was their 31st victory in their last 50 regular-season matches dating back to October 2022, the most wins in a span of 50 regular-season matches in MLS in the post-shootout era (since 2000).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

FC Cincinnati – 56.5%

Nashville SC – 21.6%

Draw – 21.9%

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