Despite watching his side beat Atlanta United in midweek, FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan still wants more from his side when they host St. Louis City this weekend.

Kevin Kelsy's seventh-minute strike was enough to earn Cincinnati a 1-0 win over Atlanta to make it five straight MLS victories.

Cincinnati currently sit second in the Eastern Conference, but Noonan is still demanding more from his side than Wednesday's performance.

"I wouldn't say 'negatives' but [there are] things we could have done better, and here we are with the guys keeping a clean sheet and winning the game," Noonan told reporters.

"They deserve credit and to be proud of the fact that they're still walking off the field with a win tonight."

St. Louis saw a five-game unbeaten streak end as they lost 2-0 to Los Angeles FC in midweek.

The defeat leaves St. Louis ninth in the Western Conference, though they are just three points off sixth-placed Austin FC.

Bradley Carnell is looking to get players back fit and raring to go for the visit to Cincinnati at the weekend, saying: "It's about how we manage over the next couple of days to get a solid, fit line-up for Cincinnati.

"We don't have much time to sit and dwell, and we have to be brave and positive to head to Cincinnati."


FC Cincinnati – Kevin Kelsy

In his first MLS start, Kelsy scored Cincinnati's lone goal on Wednesday. The 19-year-old has scored in consecutive games, making him the first teenager to score multiple MLS goals for Cincinnati, and if he gets the nod from the off again here, he will once more hope to mark it with a goal.

St. Louis City – Joao Klauss

Having netted four in his previous four games, Klauss drew a blank against LAFC as St. Louis slumped to defeat. He is clearly a key man in St. Louis' attack, and he will hope to get back among the goals this weekend, and with a win too.


St. Louis beat Cincinnati 5-1 in the lone previous meeting between the sides last April. The four-goal margin is Cincinnati’s largest defeat since the start of last season and equals St. Louis' largest ever margin of victory.

But St. Louis are winless in eight straight away matches in all competitions (four draws, four defeats). St. Louis have won three of their last 23 on the road after winning the first three away matches in club history.

Cincinnati have won five straight regular season matches with all five wins coming by one-goal margins, the first team to do so since the Red Bulls in 2012, and though it may be a tight game again this weekend, the hosts will fancy their chances of coming out on the right side of the result and collecting another three points.


Cincinnati: 44.3%

St. Louis: 28.2%

Draw: 27.5%

Pat Noonan will not let his FC Cincinnati team get too high following Saturday's memorable win over their rivals Columbus Crew, warning Atlanta United will offer them a stern test on Wednesday.

Cincinnati recorded a huge 2-1 road win over the MLS Cup holders last time out, with Kevin Kelsy and Luciano Acosta on target.

That victory – their fourth in a row – kept them three points behind Inter Miami at the Eastern Conference summit, but Noonan says any drop-off in midweek will be punished.

"The sign of a good team is when you have a poor performance or result, how do you respond to it and come back and have a better performance, or have a better result?" Noonan said.

"On the other side, when you have a good performance, how do you respond to that? Obviously, we have a short turnaround against a difficult opponent who we've just seen.

"If we don't turn it around the right way and if we're not prepared for Atlanta, we'll get humbled very quickly. Just like we can't get too low with bad performances, we can't get too high."

Atlanta, meanwhile, are 12 points behind Cincinnati in 10 th place, having been beaten 3-2 by D.C. United on Saturday.

They also lost 2-1 to Cincinnati when the sides last met in April, with two goals in two second-half minutes handing the Orange and Blue a comeback victory.

Asked what he would look to change ahead of Wednesday's rematch, boss Gonzalo Pineda said: "Simplify the message. It's about putting the players in a position to succeed, giving them tools, and the message that sometimes less is more."


FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

Acosta has scored in four consecutive games, tied for the longest goalscoring streak in MLS play in Cincinnati's history.

He also had a four-game streak last June while Brandon Vazquez did so between July and August in 2022. Will he break new ground on Wednesday?

Atlanta United – Thiago Almada

Almada scored from the penalty spot against D.C. last time out, with one of his five shots in the game.

He has recorded five MLS games this year with at least five attempts at goal, with only Denis Bouanga (eight) and Lionel Messi (six) having more. He also netted his team's only goal when they last faced Cincinnati on April 20.


Atlanta are unbeaten in five all-time trips to Cincinnati in MLS, recording two wins and three draws there. Cincinnati are the only team the Five Stripes have visited more than twice without ever losing in MLS play.

However, Atlanta have only won two of their last 23 away games in all competitions (10 draws, 11 defeats) in a run dating back to late March 2023. No MLS team has fewer away wins in all competitions in that time.

Cincinnati have won their last four games and could set a new team record for successive victories here. With home advantage on their side, they are favourites to do so.


FC Cincinnati: 45.4%
Atlanta United: 26.9%
Draw: 27.7%

Luciano Acosta has hailed FC Cincinnati for coming through a testing period as they look to make it three straight wins in MLS play at Orlando City on Saturday.

After going unbeaten through their first six games of the season, Cincinnati suffered back-to-back 2-1 defeats against the New York Red Bulls and CF Montreal.

However, they have since bounced back with two wins over difficult opponents, seeing off Atlanta United and the Colorado Rapids by the same scoreline.

Acosta scored his 44th goal for Cincinnati – the most of any player in franchise history – in that latter game, and he believes their resilience has been key. 

"I think it's just about our mentality," Acosta said. "We lost those two games and it was a bit of a punch that woke us up. But now it's about the mentality and getting back to it."

Head coach Pat Noonan said of Acosta: "I think what makes it more impressive is teams are going to try to prevent him from having an impact. 

"When you're a key player and you're able to do what he's doing with the focus on stopping you in a lot of ways, that's what is unique."

Orlando, meanwhile, were beaten 2-1 by Toronto FC last week, halting their four-game unbeaten streak and dropping them to 13th in the Eastern Conference. 

Forward Duncan McGuire felt the Lions should have taken maximum points from that game and is desperate to atone at Inter&Co Stadium.

"I definitely think we should've won," he said.

"I think how difficult this felt and how this feels for us right now is going to push us and motivate us to train hard all week, to get a win for the fans at home and get the job done."


Orlando City – Duncan McGuire

Maguire scored his fourth goal of the MLS season against Toronto last week – no other Orlando player has netted more than once in 2024.

Those goals have come from an expected goals (xG) figure of 2.7, with the United States international also attempting a team-high 27 shots this campaign.

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta 

Acosta has contributed to at least one goal in four straight MLS matches (one goal, three assists). 

It is Acosta's fifth streak of four or more straight regular-season games with a goal contribution for Cincinnati, with Brandon Vazquez the only other player to achieve that feat for the team.


Orlando earned a win and a draw against Supporters' Shield winners Cincinnati last season, making them one of two teams (also the New England Revolution) to play Cincinnati twice in the 2023 regular season and not lose either match.

The Lions may just fancy their chances of another positive result against Noonan's men, who have only won one of their last three away games (one draw, one defeat).

Orlando have only lost two of their last 17 regular-season home matches dating back to last April, winning nine and drawing six, so viewers should expect a response to their loss last time out.


Orlando City – 49.3%

FC Cincinnati – 23.6% 

Draw – 27.1%

Chris Armas says his Colorado Rapids players deserve to enjoy their meteoric rise up the MLS standings, and he is confident they will not get carried away ahead of their trip to FC Cincinnati.

Colorado sit fourth in the Western Conference with 15 points from nine games, winning three of their last four after an inconsistent start to the year.

They benefitted from two own goals as they beat FC Dallas 2-1 last time out, and Armas has no issue with his players enjoying their place in the standings, particularly given they finished rock bottom of the West in 2023.

"I see the boys looking at the TV where we have the standings posted, and they see that we're climbing, so it's all good stuff," Armas said.

"From day one the message that I preached is that everything we do will be based on hard work and that we will never get too low on ourselves.

"We don't get too high, the boys are realistic. That part's not that hard and our group is hungry and looking to improve every day."

Supporters' Shield holders Cincinnati have had an up-and-down start, going unbeaten through their first five games of the year before suffering back-to-back defeats against the New York Red Bulls and CF Montreal (both 1-2).

However, Pat Noonan's men bounced back with a statement 2-1 victory over Atlanta United last week, and defender Matt Miazga hopes that result will be a turning point.

"I look at everybody and I'm like, 'Alright, I see in his face, I see in his face. We want it,'" Miazga said. 

"We all realised we are a top team, with big personalities, big characters, and it's time to show up in big moments."


FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

Acosta assisted Cincinnati's equaliser against Atlanta last Saturday before scoring the winner two minutes later. 

That was Acosta's 13th regular-season match with a goal and an assist since the start of the 2022 season, three more than any other player in MLS has managed during that time.

Colorado Rapids – Djordje Mihailovic

Mihailovic has created at least twice as many chances as any other Colorado player in MLS this term (16), with Keegan Rosenberry and Sam Vines creating eight apiece.

He also has two goals and one assist to his name, while only Rafael Navarro (16) has bettered his 10 successful dribbles among his team-mates.


Cincinnati earned their first win over the Rapids last May, triumphing 1-0 on the road. The Rapids had won the first two meetings between the sides, including a 2-0 victory on their only previous trip to Cincinnati.

The Rapids also enter Saturday's game having won successive regular-season matches for the first time since September 2022, eyeing their first three-game winning streak since August 2021.

However, Cincinnati ended their poor run by beating Atlanta last time out and have, despite some underwhelming performances, only lost two of their nine league games this term (four wins, three draws). On home soil, the Supporters' Shield holders are favourites.


FC Cincinnati – 49.3%

Colorado Rapids – 23.3%

Draw – 27.4%

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