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FC Cincinnati sent a sold-out crowd of 32,250 home happy with a dominating win in its first MLS game at Nippert Stadium two weeks ago. The fans could be in for another treat Saturday night with the expansion club riding an unbeaten streak.
Cincinnati looks to earn a point for the fourth straight game when it hosts a Philadelphia Union team that's coming off its first win of the season.
After winning a regular-season title in the USL in 2018, Cincinnati made its MLS debut March 2 in Seattle and was routed 4-1 by a Sounders team that finished second in the Western Conference last season.
It looked like it was going to be difficult for Cincinnati to get on track with its next two matches coming against defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta and runner-up Portland, but the club pulled out a 1-1 draw in Atlanta on March 10 before posting a resounding 3-0 win over the visiting Timbers the following week in its home debut.
Cincinnati then made it two wins in a row last week with a 2-0 road victory over New England behind the play of Kenny Saief and Kekuta Manneh. Saief assisted on Manneh's goal in the 44th minute before redirecting Manneh's pass into the net in the 65th as Cincinnati moved to 2-1-1 in its inaugural campaign.
"If you'd have said to me we'll start the season off with four games and having these particular four games that we have and we'll have, what, seven points? I'd had said you're crazy," coach Alan Koch told FC Cincinnati's official website.
Next up is the Union, who after being outscored 6-2 while opening the season 0-2-1 got two goals and an assist from David Accam last week in a 3-0 win over the visiting Crew. Accam was named MLS Player of the Week for his performance, which came days after his father died from cancer in his native Ghana.
Accam could be key for Philadelphia (1-2-1) to get back to the playoffs after losing in the knockout round to New York City FC last season. Accam scored just once in 23 games in 2018 after he had a career-best 14 goals with the Fire the previous season.
"Confidence is good, but also the feeling that I'm 100 percent healthy," Accam, who totaled 33 goals in his first three MLS season with Chicago, told the Union's official website. "I feel like I can dribble and do my thing like I used to do. I feel like my body is much better so I can do more now."
Including last season's knockout-round loss, Philadelphia has been held to three goals while going 0-3-2 in its last five road matches.
"We go to a very difficult and new place to go in Cincinnati, one where they're playing some very good soccer," Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin said. "... It seems like the crowd they have there is something special, so we'll have to be on our game."
Updated March 28, 2019