Match-Preview_1280x720 (1)

Atlanta United meets FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, April 16. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET and the game will air on Peachtree TV.

The home match arrives at an opportune time in Atlanta United’s schedule. The club is coming off a tough road loss to Charlotte FC 1-0 last weekend. It was the team’s second consecutive road match and Atlanta will be the visiting team two more times this month.

However, the good news for Atlanta United is that Luiz Araújo was back at training this week. The forward hasn’t played since Feb. 27 during the MLS home opener against Sporting Kansas City. He scored the team’s first goal of the season, then had to exit the match in the 20th minute because of a hamstring injury.

On Friday, head coach Gonzalo Pineda said he and his staff aren't sure yet whether Araújo will come off the bench to play against Cincinnati. If he does see action, it could be his first time combining with two of Atlanta’s main playmakers this season. Marcelino Moreno came on as a second-half substitute in the match against Sporting Kansas City and Thiago Almada made his club debut on March 13 against Charlotte FC.

The possibility of those three dynamic playmakers on the pitch at the same time for Atlanta United is an exciting possibility for the gaffer.

"I’m anxious to see that actually,” Pineda said. “They are three fantastic footballers. And if we as coaches were able to make sure that they connect to each other and they have that little connection... where they understand each other without seeing each other, without talking. If we can create that among those three plus the no. 9, plus Josef or some others that join the other part of the attacking half, I think we can have something important.”

Luiz-Training-Cinc

About The Opponent 

FC Cincinnati is an Eastern Conference club based in Ohio. Unlike many of the other clubs Atlanta United has faced so far this season, FC Cincinnati’s history started in the USL. The club played its first competitive match on March 26, 2016 and went on to reach the U.S. Open Cup semifinals the next year.  

In May 2018, the club was awarded an MLS expansion bid and became the 26th club in MLS. In 2019, the club won the USL Supporters’ Shield before moving into MLS. The club played its first MLS match in 2019. 

Now, the club plays its home matches at TQL Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium in Cincinnati. The team’s primary colors are orange and blue. 

FC Cincinnati is currently managed by Pat Noonan, a former professional player in MLS and with the U.S. men’s national team. Before being announced as the manager in Cincinnati, Noonan was a long-time assistant with L.A. Galaxy and Philadelphia Union. So, like Pineda, Noonan knows the league well. 

“One of the things we looked at on the scouting report is how good their three midfielders are,” Pineda said. “They’re very good on the ball. They’re a very dynamic, physical group, so we need to be able to win that war in the middle of the field.” 

Series History 

This will be the eighth all-time meeting between the two sides. Atlanta United owns the series record 5-1-2. Atlanta United has only lost one time to FC Cincinnati back in 2020.  

The last meeting between Atlanta United and FC Cincinnati was at the end of the 2021 regular season. Atlanta United traveled to TQL Stadium and won 2-1 on Decision Day. Goals scored by Miles Robinson and Josef Martínez secured Atlanta United’s spot in the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

Josef-Cinc-2021

2022 So Far... 

Atlanta United and FC Cincinnati are just four points apart in the Eastern Conference table. Atlanta United has three wins on the season against Sporting Kansas City, Charlotte FC and D.C. United. 

FC Cincinnati’s match results so far this season have been on opposite ends of the spectrum. All their games have been either clean sheets or multi-goal matches. Last time out, FC Cincinnati scored three goals but lost to CF Montréal 4-3. 

Atlanta has had nine goals by eight different scorers in 2022. However, Atlanta United has been hit with the injury bug, which has resulted in a variety of starting lineups. Even with some players injured, Pineda is excited about the cohesion of the team. In fact, he credited the team’s culture as his greatest accomplishment here in Atlanta. 

“I can see the team chemistry that we are creating, and I love that,” Pineda said. “Whether we win or not, because sometimes that is not in our control, we can say I love what I see in terms of team ethics and the way they behave. And it’s all credit to them, to the staff, that they are creating that environment where everyone wants to be here.”

Key 2022 Stats and League Ranking
Atlanta United
FC Cincinnati
Pass Percentage
83.5% (5th)
75% (24th)
Shots On Target
30 (T-5th)
29 (6th)
Assists
6
9
Duel Percentage
53.5% (5th)
50.8% (11th)

Milestones Within Reach 

  • If he makes an appearance on Saturday, Moreno will be playing in his 50th match for the club in all competitions. 
  • Atlanta United is unbeaten in 10 straight home matches going back to last season. Including playoffs, it’s the second-longest active home unbeaten run in MLS and the fourth time Atlanta has had a double-digit home unbeaten streak since joining MLS in 2017. 

Players To Watch 

Thiago Almada – The 20-year-old from Argentina has steadily gotten more involved in Atlanta’s attack. In the span of his first four MLS games, he’s gone from a second-half sub to starting and playing a full 90 minutes. In his second appearance, he scored the goal that set in motion Atlanta’s late comeback to draw CF Montréal 3-3. Last week against Charlotte FC, he led the team in chances created (6) and completed passes (49), demonstrating his ability to make creative connections.

Thiago-Training-Cinc

Ronaldo Cisneros – With Martínez out 6-8 weeks, Cisneros has been integrated quickly into Atlanta United’s attacking line. The tall forward from Mexico has shown a willingness to chase during training, and last week against Charlotte FC he saw his first MLS action. If Cisneros sees playing time again on Saturday, his runs in behind could lead to creative moments for playmakers Almada and Moreno. 

Luciano Acosta – The attacking midfielder from Argentina has a penchant for playing well against the 5-Stripes. Acosta has scored six goals in 11 career matches against Atlanta United, the most by any player against Atlanta since the club joined MLS in 2017. Atlanta’s backline will need to stay on their toes when Acosta has the ball; he leads the team in key passes (11) and assists (5).  

Brandon Vasquez – The story for the Orange and Blue this season has been Vasquez. The 6-foot-2 forward is tied for first in the league in goals scored (5) and ranks tied for second in shots on target (11). And for longtime 17s, Vasquez will be a familiar face. The Chula Vista, Calif. native played for the 5-Stripes from 2017-2019 and scored three goals. 

Other Tidbits 

It’s a 6:00 p.m. ET kickoff for Atlanta United and FC Cincinnati on Saturday. Click here to learn all the ways to watch, listen and live stream the match.