MLS: FC Cincinnati cruising into clash with Atlanta United

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Red-hot FC Cincinnati will look to continue their winning streak Wednesday when they host struggling Atlanta United.

Cincinnati (7-2-3, 24 points) has won its past four matches, including a noteworthy 2-1 away victory over Ohio rival Columbus Crew on Saturday. That ended the Crew’s 27-match (18-0-9) home unbeaten run in all competitions, and helped erase a bit of the sting of Cincinnati’s loss to Columbus in last season’s Eastern Conference final.

As usual, Luciano Acosta drove the team’s attack. Cincinnati’s four-game winning streak coincides with a four-game scoring streak for Acosta, who had a goal and an assist against Columbus.

“It’s just happening frequently enough, and in big games and in big moments. That’s why I think our team is in the position we are, because (Acosta has) done this so many times,” Cincinnati coach Pat Noonan said.

Cincinnati’s 10 goals allowed are the fewest in the league.

FC Cincinnati started their win streak with a 2-1 road victory over Atlanta United on April 20. Thiago Almada gave Atlanta (3-5-3, 12 points) the lead in the 59th minute, but Luca Orellano equalized just three minutes later, and Acosta quickly followed with another goal in the 64th minute.

That result was one of three instances during Atlanta’s six-match (0-3-3) winless drought that the Five Stripes scored the opening goal. Atlanta United are 3-2-1 when scoring first this season, while FC Cincinnati are 6-1-0.

While things aren’t clicking for Atlanta, defender Brooks Lennon is confident his club’s talent and tactics will soon bring the “rough patch” to an end.

“Nothing is changing. The messaging is staying the same, and we just need to focus on doing our jobs,” Lennon said. “Every individual needs to step up a little bit more and that’ll be able to get us out of it.”

Giorgos Giakoumakis leads Atlanta with five goals this season, though the striker has been held off the scoresheet in his past four matches.

Atlanta United are 0-2-2 on the road this season. FC Cincinnati are 2-1-2 at home.

–Field Level Media

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