Even with the Supporters’ Shield already clinched, FC Cincinnati have plenty to play for in the final weeks of the regular season.
Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls have little margin for error in their quest to make the playoffs.
With the MLS single-season points record in sight, Cincinnati tries for a third consecutive victory on Wednesday night against the visiting Red Bulls.
Cincinnati (19-4-8, 65 points) secured the franchise’s first Supporters Shield as the league’s top regular-season point producer with Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Toronto FC. Brandon Vazquez recorded his seventh and eighth goals, while MVP candidate Luciano Acosta posted his 13th assist as FCC ran their unbeaten streak to 2-0-2 since losing 1-0 versus Orlando City at home Sept. 2.
Now, Cincinnati can break New England’s MLS points record of 73 from 2021 by winning its final three matches.
“That wasn’t a goal of ours when the season began, but we have three games left, and if that’s motivation for our guys to be at the top in terms of the history of our league, and most points, use that as motivation if you’d like,” FCC coach Pat Noonan said.
Acosta netted one of his 15 goals to equalize in the 80th minute versus New York on July 12. Then Obinna Nwobodo scored in extra time to give FCC a 2-1 road victory.
The Red Bulls (8-13-10, 34 points) are 2-0-1 all-time at Cincinnati. New York, though, is mired in a 1-4-2 stretch, scoring one goal or being shut out in nine of its past 10 matches.
The Red Bulls, three points below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, and with two teams ahead of them, conceded five total shots to Chicago on Saturday. However, they failed to convert any of their 18 attempts during a 1-0 home defeat.
“Obviously we’re frustrated, but we know the goal. The goal is to make the playoffs,” New York defender Kyle Duncan said. “Just win on Wednesday.”
The Red Bulls’ Omir Fernandez scored one of his six goals this season versus Cincinnati. He’s also registered three in his past three road matches.