D.C. United takes on league-leading FC Cincinnati at Audi Field tonight at 7:30 pm ET. Cincinnati is captained by Black-and-Red alum Lucho Acosta, who returns to his old stomping ground to take on his former partner on the pitch, Wayne Rooney.
Cincy heads to the District on the heels of a blistering 3-0 mid-week victory over Toronto. As for D.C. United, last week, the team suffered a 1-2 loss at home to Real Salt Lake. Captain Steve Birnbaum was ejected from the match in the first half, and the Black-and-Red played on with ten men.
Despite being down a man, D.C. never gave up the fight, something assistant coach Pete Shuttleworth noted in this week’s press conference. Shuttleworth told the media, “That’s the positive we took out the game is that the spirit of the lads and the way they kept fighting, despite being a man down, was really pleasing to us.”
The Black-and-Red will have a bit of an advantage going into tonight, as they didn’t play mid-week. We hope they’ll take advantage of fresh legs as they try to take away all three points from tonight’s match.
Also, to D.C. United’s advantage – the Orange and Blue’s Matt Miazga and Brandon Vazquez were both called up to the USMNT to play against Jamaica (10 pm ET tonight).
Want to dive deeper into tonight’s matchup? Check out our own Marc Machado as he previews tonight’s match on Cincinnati Soccer Talk with Geoff Tebbetts.
Key Player: Christian Benteke
We’re broken records over here, but Benteke’s consistent solid performances are coming in big for D.C. this season. We’ll look for him to create danger and score against Cincinnati this evening.
Watch Out For: Lucho Acosta
The calls for Acosta to be league MVP aren’t for nothing. Cincinnati’s captain is really a special player and a danger on the field. He’s clinical and determined, something we remember fondly from his D.C. United days. We’ll be watching Lucho on the pitch tonight, and a bit (okay, a lot) sad he’s not in Black-and-Red.
Challenges: Missing Steve Birnbaum was definitely a contributing factor to the Black-and-Red’s last loss against Cincy, and the captain is out of action again, this time due to a red card suspension. Clinical finishing continues to haunt D.C. United, a critical element for a win against a ruthless Cincinnati.
Previously: In their last meeting, Cincinnati won 2-1 at TQL Stadium, snapping D.C. United’s three-game win streak back in early May.
D.C. United Availability:
Out: Martin Rodriguez (knee), Nigel Robertha (ankle), Mohanad Jeahze (leg), Ted Ku-DiPietro (ankle), Steve Birnbaum (red card suspension)
FC Cincinnati Availability:
Out: Brenner (ankle), Matt Miazga (International Duty – USA), Junior Moreno (leg), Brandon Vazquez (International Duty – USA)
Location: Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET
Referee: Sergii Boiko
Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV