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FC Cincinnati
Major League Soccer
May 19, 2024 at 12.30am UK
Nippert Stadium
St Louis City

3 - 1
St Louis City

Acosta (26' pen.), Kubo (49'), Santos (80')
Murphy (36')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Miazga (54' og.)
Kijima (35'), Adeniran (44'), Ostrak (52')

Preview: FC Cincinnati vs. St Louis City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Major League Soccer clash between FC Cincinnati and St Louis City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aiming to extend an eye-catching run of form and move to the top of the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference standings, FC Cincinnati will welcome St Louis City to TQL Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts currently sit second in their division thanks to five consecutive league wins, while a defeat last time out saw the visitors drop to ninth spot in the Western Conference.

Match preview

FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan before the game on March 3, 2024© Reuters

FC Cincinnati head into the weekend aiming to continue a hot streak in what has been a fine start to the MLS season, having joined the frontrunners in the Eastern Conference with a five-match winning run.

After topping the Conference and falling short in the penultimate round of the Major League Soccer playoffs last time around, the Orange and Blue enjoyed an unbeaten start to the new term, winning three and drawing three of their first six outings, before seeing their momentum halted in back-to-back defeats at the hands of New York Red Bulls and CF Montreal in April.

Pat Noonan's side have bounced back in impressive fashion since, adding 15 more points to their tally in the last five attempts as they firstly returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph over Atlanta United and beat Colorado Rapids by the same scoreline before travelling to Orlando City at the beginning of the month and picking up a narrow 1-0 victory to make it three on the bounce.

A trip to Columbus Crew then followed, and Noonan's men prevailed in another 2-1 win thanks to second-half goals from Kevin Kelsy and Luciano Acosta, before they most recently hosted Atlanta United in a reverse fixture on Thursday and again getting the better of the Five Stripes with Kelsy netting the only goal of the game inside the opening 10 minutes.

Having quickly climbed through the division thanks to their eye-catching hot streak, FC Cincinnati now sit second, behind Inter Miami on goal difference and boasting a 10-point lead over eighth place in the playoff race, and they will bid to go top and further strengthen their standing with a sixth straight three-point haul at the weekend.

St Louis CITY SC head coach Bradley Carnell looks on on March 10, 2024© Reuters

In their way stand a visiting side who will bid to return to winning ways and end the hosts' upturn in form in their own playoff bid in the other division, having dropped out of the top seven in the Western Conference following a midweek defeat.

After winning the Western Conference in their first-ever MLS campaign last year, before making an early exit from the playoffs, St Louis City have endured a tougher start to the new term, having accumulated 16 points from their first 12 outings.

Despite being relatively slow out of the blocks, Bradley Carnell's side have shown their solidity for the most part thus far, with no side across either conference having suffered fewer than their two defeats at this stage, the most recent of which came in a tough contest against Los Angeles FC on Thursday.

Following their sixth and seventh draws of the league season and a 3-1 triumph over Chicago Fire last weekend, thanks to Rasmus Alm's opener and a Joao Klauss brace, the Missouri outfit most recently welcomed the 2022 champions and fell short in a 2-0 home loss, with the visitors only breaking the deadlock on the hour mark through Denis Bouanga before he added a second to put the game out of sight deep into injury time.

That result leaves St Louis City ninth in the Western Conference in the final wildcard round spot after 11 outings, but with just a two-point gap up to the top seven they have the chance to move back into the playoff places if they are able to end FC Cincinnati's run on Saturday and bounce back to winning ways.

FC Cincinnati Major League Soccer form:

St Louis City Major League Soccer form:

Team News

FC Cincinnati defender Miles Robinson (12) celebrates scoring on March 3, 2024© Reuters

Pat Noonan may opt to deploy an unchanged FC Cincinnati starting XI from their 1-0 win over Atlanta United last time out, with defenders DeAndre Yedlin and Alvas Powell and attackers Corey Baird and Aaron Boupendza all set to remain confined to the treatment room.

Ian Murphy, Matt Miazga and Miles Robinson have formed a solid back three in recent weeks and are bound to again line up in front of stopper Roman Celentano after seeing out another clean sheet in midweek.

At the top end of their 3-4-1-2 shape, Gerardo Valenzuela and Kevin Kelsy could again get the nod to partner up in attack, while captain Luciano Acosta is their star man going forward having already notched up six goals and seven assists in 13 MLS appearances from an advanced midfield role this season to take his tallies to 46 goals and 41 assists since joining the club in 2021.

St Louis City will travel to Ohio without defender Anthony Markanich, who will serve a suspension after he was sent off for a second bookable offence in their recent loss to Los Angeles FC, while Eduard Lowen and Joshua Yaro remain sidelined by injuries.

Joao Klauss is bound to again lead the line, despite failing to convert a penalty in that game, having netted five league goals so far this season.

He will likely have support from the trio of Rasmus Alm, Indiana Vassilev and Celio Pompeu, while Tomas Ostrak will continue to join mainstay Chris Durkin at the base of midfield in their 4-2-3-1 setup.

FC Cincinnati possible starting lineup:
Celentano; Robinson, Miazga, Murphy; Kubo, Bucha, Nwobodo, Orellano; Acosta; Valenzuela, Kelsy

St Louis City possible starting lineup:
Burki; Totland, Parker, Nilsson, Dyhr; Durkin, Ostrak; Alm, Vassilev, Pompeu; Klauss

SM words green background

We say: FC Cincinnati 2-0 St Louis City

While St Louis City do have the tools to make things tough for their hosts, FC Cincinnati find themselves in a fine run of form and will head into the weekend with plenty of confidence and momentum on their side.

With home advantage and plenty of quality at both ends of the pitch, we back Pat Noonan's men to make it six wins on the bounce on Saturday.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Eastern Conference

1FC CincinnatiCincinnati23153543291448
2Inter MiamiInter Miami23145451371447
3Columbus Crew21126345192642
4New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2391043728937
5New York City FCNY City2311393327636
6Charlotte FCCharlotte FC2310582724335
7Orlando City238693537-230
9Nashville SCNashville236892633-726
10CF MontrealMontreal236893246-1426
11Atlanta UnitedAtlanta2366113133-224
12DC United2458113248-1623
13Chicago Fire2357112840-1222
14New England RevolutionNew England2171132141-2022
15Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2349103741-421

Western Conference

1Real Salt LakeSalt Lake23127448301843
2Los Angeles FCLos Angeles22134544291543
3Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy24127544321243
4Colorado RapidsColorado2411584538738
5Portland TimbersPortland2410684839936
6Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver2210573830835
7Seattle SoundersSeattle239773226634
8Houston DynamoHouston228773027331
9Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd238693638-230
10Austin FCAustin238692532-730
12Sporting Kansas CityKansas2465133949-1023
13St Louis City2341093143-1222
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes2342173158-2714

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