Hot Cincinnati seeks return to form vs. Earthquakes

League: MLS

Posted on: 15 Jun, 2024 at 01:45 AM

Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

FC Cincinnati will look to return to winning ways on Saturday night when they travel west to face a San Jose Earthquakes side that is deceptively dangerous in attack.

Cincinnati (10-3-3, 33 points) took a 2-0 home defeat to Nashville SC in its last match on May 29, halting a seven-match winning streak for manager Pat Noonan's group.

And in some ways, Noonan says San Jose (3-11-2, 11 points) is a similar opponent to Nashville, one whose capabilities aren't shown by its current place in the standings.

"The second you think you have any kind of advantage because of what our position is in the standings or what our opponents' position is, you step on the field and understand pretty quickly that that's a poor approach," Noonan said.

Noonan's San Jose counterpart, Luchi Gonzalez, would agree the Earthquakes -- who have gone four matches without a victory (0-3-1) -- aren't earning the results they deserve.

That's largely on the defense, where the Quakes have conceded multiple goals in 12 of 16 matches this season.

With San Jose joining most MLS teams in having last weekend off, Gonzalez said the focus in training was on improving that end of the field while still preserving an attack that has scored a respectable 24 goals.

"We have the ability to be stern defensively. Organized, compact, but also build pressure," Gonzalez said. "I believe we're going to continue to be dangerous and confident attacking. We will create opportunities to score goals, home or away. But (we need to) continue to balance that with what we're capable of defensively to have a complete performance."

Cincinnati will be missing United States center back Miles Robinson and San Jose will be without Ecuadorian defensive midfielder Carlos Gruezo, who are both with their teams preparing for 2024 Copa America.

But most other key players should be available, including reigning MLS MVP Luciano Acosta, who is enjoying another exceptional season with seven goals and 10 assists for FC Cincinnati.

Amahl Pellegrino has five goals and Cristian Espinoza has nine assists for the Quakes.

--Field Level Media