Preview, prediction: FC Cincinnati faces New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium

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FC Cincinnati's losing streak against New England Revolution dates back to 2019, and whether it continues into 2022 could be decided by whether or not Cincinnati's had enough of being pushed around by New England.

That's sometimes how a lopsided rivalry goes. The team on the wrong side of it finally decides it's fed up with the poor outcomes, and hits back.

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FC Cincinnati's done that a lot in 2022. Bucking the trends and bad ways of its past is how the club managed to climb to 7-7-3 and a playoff spot at the midway point in the season.

But the issue of the Revolution has persisted. Cincinnati lost twice to New England in 10 days this spring, once in the U.S. Open Cup May 11 and once in league play at TQL Stadium May 21.

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FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta (10) passes as New England Revolution midfielder Wilfrid Kaptoum (5) defends in the first half of the MLS match between FC Cincinnati and New England Revolution at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta (10) passes as New England Revolution midfielder Wilfrid Kaptoum (5) defends in the first half of the MLS match between FC Cincinnati and New England Revolution at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

FC Cincinnati will attempt again to figure out New England when the clubs meet Sunday (7:30 p.m.) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

“It's a team that I think has continued to improve, both in the standings and just with their play. They've had a couple of injuries, couple of departures," FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan said during a Friday interview. "We'll see a few new things from our last matchup. We'll look at a few of their more recent games without [(Adam) Buksa, without (Matt) Turner, and evaluate that and analyze those games.

"But, we've seen them fairly recently in our place, and we understand the challenges of the quality that they have with some of their pieces, certainly closer to go with (Carles) Gil. And you've seen (Jozy) Altidore and his hold up play and movement in the box. But also (Gustavo) Bou back in form. (Dylan) Borrero, more minutes now so you see a little bit more of him.

New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil (22) dribbles the ball forward during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the FC Cincinnati, Saturday, May 29, 2021, at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati.
New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil (22) dribbles the ball forward during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the FC Cincinnati, Saturday, May 29, 2021, at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati.

"They have a lot of quality, and then again, their outside backs are very present in their attack and how they move forward. Things that we need to be aware of, but I think we'll see a lot of consistency in how they play. It's just a matter of the execution on the day, and are we able to make plays and in different ways to prevent some of the things that have caused us trouble in previous matchups.”

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Gone are Turner, the star goalkeeper who was picked up by Arsenal FC of the English Premier League, and Buksa, who departed for RC Lens of the France's Ligue 1.

New England's managed to maintain a nine-match unbeaten run even as Turner and Buksa departed midstream.

A key element of Sunday's matchup will be whether the Revolution can withstand possible absences beyond Turner and Buksa.

Tommy McNamara, who score the late winner when the clubs met May 21, is suspended for Sunday's game.

Matt Polster has been ruled out through injury and Brandon Bye, Henry Kessler and Sebastian Lletget are all listed as questionable for the contest.

Lletget, an MLS and U.S. men's national team veteran, also scored in the May 21 meeting, and Bye notched two assists.

FC Cincinnati will be without a key player of its own in Obinna Nwobodo, the first-year, designated player and defensive midfielder who has helped turn FCC's fortunes.

Orlando City midfielder César Araújo (5) and FC Cincinnati midfielder Obinna Nwobodo (5) fight for possession in the first half of the MLS match between between the FC Cincinnati and the Orlando City at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati on Friday, June 24, 2022.
Orlando City midfielder César Araújo (5) and FC Cincinnati midfielder Obinna Nwobodo (5) fight for possession in the first half of the MLS match between between the FC Cincinnati and the Orlando City at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati on Friday, June 24, 2022.

After debuting for the club April 30 at Toronto FC, Nwobodo picked up five yellow cards, which results in a suspension.

"There'll be a rotation, you'll see a new body in there," Noonan said of Nwobodo's absence. "Yeah, obviously, it's a big piece that we lose just with what Obi brings in. We'll try to find ways to put guys centrally in a position where we have good stability in there. A combination of ball winning, but protecting the backline and guys that can also help us get forward when we've won the ball. We'll talk through that in the coming days, see how everybody got through the (last) game, and then what our best options are to fill out the midfield.”

The Game

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday | Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Massachusetts

TV/Radio/Stream: WSTR Star64 / ESPN1530 / fccincinnati.com

Series info: FC Cincinnati trails in the all-time series with New England having lost each of the last five matches (1-5-0).

Cincinnati.com prediction: New England 2, FC Cincinnati 1.

FC Cincinnati

2022 record: 7-7-3, 24 points; sixth place in MLS Eastern Conference

Goals for: 27

Goals against: 30

Coach: Pat Noonan - first season at FC Cincinnati

Projected starting lineup: 

Roman Celentano, goalkeeper

Ray Gaddis, right back

Tyler Blackett, center back

Geoff Cameron, center back

Nick Hagglund, center back

Alvaro Barreal, left back

Yuya Kubo, midfielder

Haris Medunjanin, midfielder

Luciano Acosta, midfielder

Brandon Vazquez, forward

Brenner Souza da Silva, forward

New England Revolution

2022 record: 6-5-6; 24 points, seventh in Eastern Conference 

Goals for: 27

Goals against: 26

Coach: Bruce Arena - fourth season as New England head coach

Projected starting lineup: 

Đorđe Petrović, goalkeeper

DeJuan Jones, left back

Jon Bell, center back

Andrew Farrell, center back

A. J. DeLaGarza, right back

Wilfrid Kaptoum, midfielder

Damian Rivera, midfielder

Dylan Borrero, winger

Carles Gil, midfielder

Arnór Ingvi Traustason, midfielder

Gustavo Bou, midfielder

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Preview, prediction: FC Cincinnati faces New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium