NYCFC vs FC Cincinnati preview: Striving to survive with missing players

  • NYCFC is on the road again as the team will face FC Cincinnati
  • Many players are unavailable for the match
  • Here is a preview of the game

NYCFC / Evan Yu/GettyImages

New York City FC might have won the first game of the 2024 season, but that does not mean supporters are full of hope.  Instead, the Pigeons are going on the road again.  The road is a place shadowed by disappointment, lackluster performances, and many losses.  The team has won just once away from home since 2023, so it is difficult to be positive.

Meanwhile, NYCFC will be without numerous players.  This includes Keaton Parks due to his red card last week in the win over Toronto FC.  Additionally, six players are away on international duty, including the two strikers.  This leaves Nick Cushing with limited options for the match against FC Cincinnati.  He might go with a false nine with Santiago Rodríguez up front.  There is also the possibility of trying one of the young wingers in the striker role, or maybe two.

Alas, it would not matter whether the team is short-handed, for they are playing Cincinnati.  The Orange and Blue is one of the top teams in the league and currently sits in third place in the Eastern Conference.  The Pigeons might have dominated the opposition’s first years in Major League Soccer, but now the tides have turned.

The match will be a difficult one.  Here is a preview of the game between NYCFC and FC Cincinnati.


NYCFC and FC Cincinnati will play one another on Saturday, March 23.


The game is at 7:30 PM ET.


The fixture will be at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

How to watch

Fans can watch the game on Apple TV via the MLS Season Pass.


It will be sunny and chilly in Cincinnati. As the sun goes down, it will get colder. At kickoff, it will be around 42 degrees.

Injury report

Update at 12:25: NYCFC finally announced the injury report. Maxi Moralez (right knee) and Talles Magno (left knee) are both out.

The following players are away on international duty: Monsef Bakrar, Tayvom Gray, Mitja Ilenič, Christian McFarlane, Jovan Mijatović, and Tomás Romero. In addition, Parks is out due to his red card.

Players to watch

NYCFC fans should watch Matt Freese.  There is a strong likelihood the Bronx side will struggle to score.  Hence, the defense needs to be at the top of their game, and that includes Freese.  The goalkeeper needs to have one of those matches where he is keeping everything out.  Will he be able to do it?  That is the question that must be answered on Saturday.

On Cincinnati, Luciano Acosta is the player to watch.  The midfielder has been of the best since joining the Orange and Blue, and already has one goal and two assists this season.  That matches what he did against the Pigeons in 2023.  He will be the biggest threat on the pitch.


NYCFC is without too many players to even dream of a draw. Therefore, the expected outcome is grim. It is predicted that the Pigeons will lose 3-0 to Cincinnati. There will be periods of decent play, but the goal-scoring struggles will haunt the team.