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Game Day Hub: NYCFC vs FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium

The third meeting this year between these teams is a grudge rematch in the Queen City.

Good-looking arena. | Courtesy Populous

Welcome to Matchday 26, which has New York City FC facing league-leading FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium: Here is your NYCFC vs Cincinnati game preview.

Game Day Essentials
  • Matchday 26: NYCFC vs FC Cincinnati
  • Date and Time: Saturday, August 26, 7:30 pm ET
  • Kickoff Time: 7:39 pm ET
  • Venue: TQL Stadium
  • Bruce Arena Forecast: Hot, humid, 84˚F/29˚C
  • Watch: Apple TV
  • Apple TV Broadcast Team: Keith Costigan and Maurice Edu
  • Listen: English and Spanish broadcasts on NYCFC Radio
  • Officiating Crew: Chris Penso (referee), Kali Smith and Jeffrey Swartzel (assistant referees), Elvis Osmanovic (fourth official), Kevin Stott (VAR), Joshua Patlak (assistant VAR)

NYCFC vs Cincinnati preview

This is a game between two wounded animals. NYCFC desperately need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive after a wasteful loss at home to Minnesota United. Cincinnati are coming off three aggravating losses in a row: First to Nashville SC on penalty kicks in the Leagues Cup, then to Columbus Crew in the Hell is Real derby, and finally to Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami in the US Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday.

Add to that the most recent matchup between the two teams, when Cincinnati beat NYCFC at Yankee Stadium thanks to atrocious officiating, spectacular flopping (to jar your memory, one incident earned a reprimand and fine after the fact from the MLS Disciplinary Committee), and brutally efficient finishing. Tonight’s game has the makings of a grudge match.

NYCFC vs Cincinnati H2H















The historic head-to-head between these teams is misleading: NYCFC might hold the advantage, but Cincinnati are undefeated in the last four matchups. Cincy won both games the two sides played this year with a combined score of 4-1, and drew both games last year. In other words, NYCFC last beat Cincinnati way back on September 18, 2021, when a Taty Castellanos penalty sealed the win.

Oppo Research: 5 Things about FC Cincinnati


  • Player Availability: Santiago Rodríguez and James Sands are out with lower-body issues.
  • Both Mitja Ilenič and Keaton Parks are one yellow card away from sitting out a game due to yellow card accumulation.
  • Will Andrés Perera get the start in place of Sands? Head coach Nick Cushing thinks highly of the loanee.
  • The only new summer addition still waiting to make his NYCFC debut is Costa Rican winger Alonso Martínez. Will he see his first MLS minutes at TQL Stadium?
  • Fallout from the last meeting between these two teams included Tayvon Gray receiving a suspension for allegedly using language toward Cincinnati defender Junior Moreno that violated league policy. Worth monitoring if there are any lingering resentments between players and teams given how testy things got at Yankee Stadium back on May 31st.
  • The official Hudson River Blue NYCFC Playoff Tracker remains stuck at 26 points. Will the team be able to inch this big blue thermometer closer to the required 44-point mark?
Birk Risa: How the defender is transforming NYCFC’s attack

FC Cincinnati

  • Player Availability: Midfielder Obinna Nwobodo is out due to yellow card accumulation, while Stiven Jimenez and Arquimedes Ordoñez are out with leg injuries. Yerson Mosquera and Dom Badji are both listed as questionable with leg injuries.
  • Recent pair of Leagues Cup shootout losses aside, Cincinnati have been nearly unbeatable at TQL Stadium this season. In MLS play they’ve earned 34 of a possible 36 points from home games so far this season.
  • Pat Noonan subbed off his three top attacking players—Luciano Acosta, Brandon Vazquez, and Aaron Boupendza—before the 90-minute mark of the team’s shootout loss to Messi and his Inter Miami friends. Expect that trio to feature prominently vs. NYCFC despite the heavy minutes the team logged midweek.
  • You can read more about Cincinnati in Oppo Research: 5 Things about FC Cincinnati.

Predicted FC Cincinnati Starting XI:

FC Cincinnati predicted lineup 8/26/23 | Copyright Hudson River Blue
FC Cincinnati projected lineup | Copyright Hudson River Blue
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