Out to maintain their stingy defensive ways, FC Cincinnati look for a fourth straight regular-season shutout Tuesday when they face the Chicago Fire.
FC Cincinnati (2-1-3) started off the season in rough fashion with three losses in which they shipped nine goals, capped by a 4-0 defeat to Columbus to open group play in the MLS Is Back Tournament. But something clicked for first-year coach Jaap Stam and his club, and the results have been impressive for the second-year club.
The Orange-and-Blue have gone 2-0-3 in their last five contests when counting their loss to Portland on penalties in Orlando, and that 1-1 draw also represents the lone goal allowed in those 450 minutes. FC Cincinnati may have struggled offensively in its return to action, but Stam's team did notch a point with a scoreless draw Saturday vs. D.C. United.
"We controlled the game for big parts in the second half," Stam told the club's official website. "It was very good for us. That is what we try to do.
"So, yeah, only one point. Can you say that is deserved? I am looking at the first half as well. First half, I think they dominated it a little bit more. We found it hard to play. In the second half we did a lot better. We controlled the game for big parts, and they found it very difficult. So, yeah, at the end, it is nice to have a point, but at the end of the day, of course, you want to have more."
FC Cincinnati carries a club-record 300-minute shutout streak into this contest and is already halfway to its shutout total of six in last year's inaugural season. Przemyslaw Tyton has all three shutouts, and the confidence in the back third is noticeable.
"I think it's important for us to feel we can defend in a really good way," center back Tom Pettersson said. "That gives us a feeling we only need to score one goal instead of conceding and knowing we're going to need three or four goals to win this game."
As FC Cincinnati is finding its way forward with defense, Chicago (1-4-1) is still looking to get forward offensively. The Fire, who are making their return to Soldier Field in Chicago after playing in Bridgeview, Ill., enter this contest looking for their first goal in 276 minutes since Mauricio Pineda's 84th-minute winner in their 2-1 victory over Seattle on July 14.
Chicago's return to action did not go all that well Friday night with a 3-0 defeat at Columbus. The Fire were chasing the match after conceding a goal on 20 minutes, though the scoreline is slightly deceiving as they gave up two additional goals in the final nine minutes.
"The lesson is, and again, it's the same what we spoke about in Orlando," first-year coach Raphael Wicky said. "The last thing is that we need to be better in finishing our chances because we create chances, every single game we create chances. We need to be better in finishing them and then it's too easy, the 1-0 is clearly too easy. It's one long ball and there is a goal. That cannot happen. It's too easy."
To bolster the defense, the Fire signed 19-year-old Colombian Carlos Teran from Envigado FC. Teran, who was on Colombia's Under-20 World Cup squad, will occupy an international slot on the roster after the team placed midfielder Luka Stojanovic on the season-ending injury list. Keeper Kenneth Kronholm also was placed on that injured list, leaving a roster spot yet to be filled.
FC Cincinnati took four points from their first two MLS meetings last year, including a 2-1 win in Chicago thanks to Fanendo Adi's goal on 83 minutes. FCC also knocked the Fire out of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup on penalties as a USL squad and are 1-0-2 against them overall.
Updated August 24, 2020