A mouthwatering matchup is on the horizon in MLS matchday 25 as FC Cincinnati host Nashville SC on July 15 at TQL Stadium.
The last meeting between the two sides was back in March, when Cincinnati just edged Nashville 1-0 on the road. As the season has grown, the two clubs have remained at the top of the Eastern Conference, with 10 points separating the first-placed Cincinnati (48 points) from the third-placed Nashville (38 points).
As both teams are having excellent seasons, there are driving forces behind that success: Luciano ‘Lucho’ Acosta for Cincy, and Hany Mukhtar for Nashville.
Acosta has impressed in 2023, scoring 11 goals and five assists to help his side stay at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings. Mukhtar is no slouch, either. The 28-year-old has scored 13 goals and dished seven assists this campaign, and is on track to reclaim his MVP award that he captured in 2022.
In the nine meetings between Nashville and Cincy, the teams have drawn five times with each club having two wins.
When is kick-off? 7:30 PM EST
Where is the game being played? TQL Stadium
TV channel/live stream? MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
What time does TV coverage start? 7:15 PM EST
Dominique Badji is out due to a quad injury. New forward DP signing Aaron Boupendza is yet to make his debut for the club, and Arquimides Ordonez and Sergio Santos are options up front to choose from in Badji’s absence.
USMNT duo Brandon Vazquez and Matt Miazga are both unavailable after being on international duty at the Gold Cup. Yuya Kubo is a game-time decision with a hamstring injury, and Obinna Nwobodo and Junior Moreno will be ready to go if he can’t pass a fitness test.
Despite their league position, the Orange and Blue haven’t fared too well in their last five games. After defeating Toronto 3-0, Cincy went on to gain just two points after two draws and one loss, but they got back in the win column after a 2-1 triumph on the road over New York Red Bulls.
Anibal Godoy remains unavailable as he’s still on international duty with Panama in the Gold Cup, gearing up for their final against Mexico on July 16. Dax McCarty and Randall Leall will take on midfield duties for the time being.
Center-back Jack Maher is questionable with a lower body injury, and if he isn’t fit to take part, Nashville have options in defense with the likes of Walker Zimmerman and Lukas MacNaughton.
Shaq Moore and Daniel Lovitz are suspended after being shown red cards in their 2-0 loss to Philadelphia Union and are unavailable.
Nashville have just one win on their last five outings, a 2-0 victory over D.C. United. The Music City club have not been able to keep up Cincinnati due to their poor recent results, and they will look to close the gap to seven points with a win.
Cincinnati have lost just once at home this season and will look to continue that streak, especially if Aaron Boupendza is able to feature at some point. As long as Nashville have Mukhtar, they have a chance in any game, but Cincy will be too much to overcome.
Prediction: Cincinnati 3-1 Nashville