FC Cincinnati eye historic 7th straight win on visit to Toronto

FC Cincinnati can set a team record for consecutive MLS wins Saturday night when they visit high-scoring Toronto FC in an Eastern Conference match.

Cincinnati (9-2-3, 30 points) has won six straight MLS matches and trails first-place Inter Miami, which has played one more match, by one point in the East. Pat Noonan’s squad, which is a league-best 5-1-1 on the road, comes in off a 3-1 victory over St. Louis City last Saturday as reigning MLS Most Valuable Player Luciano Acosta scored a goal and dished two assists.

Acosta, who leads the MLS with five game-winning goals, scored on a penalty kick in the 26th minute to give Cincinnati a 1-0 lead and then set up goals by Yuya Kubo, who will miss Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury, and Sergio Santos.

The 29-year-old Argentine attacking midfielder has scored in five of his last six MLS regular-season matches and has seven goals and nine assists in 14 matches this season.

“He consistently impacts the score line in a positive way for us,” Noonan said. “But I’m watching him work (against St. Louis) and it just felt like he wanted to send a different type of message with how he worked on the defensive side of the ball. Was it every single play? No, but it was when it mattered.”

Defense figures to be a priority for Cincinnati on Saturday against fifth-place Toronto FC (7-6-1, 22 points), who have scored 13 goals in their past two matches.

The Reds followed up a 5-1 victory over visiting CF Montreal on Saturday with a record-setting 8-1 win over League1 Quebec champions CS Saint-Laurent on Tuesday in the second leg of the Canadian Championship quarterfinals. It was the largest win and the most goals scored by any club in a game in the Canadian Championship, which earns the winner a spot in the 2025 CONCACAF Championship.

“We got the result and we can move onto this weekend against Cincinnati without any injuries,” Toronto coach John Herdman said. “It was a good night.”

It was an especially good night for forward Deandre Kerr, who became the first player in team history to score four goals in a game.

Cincinnati holds a 6-4-1 series edge over Toronto and clinched the 2023 Supporters’ Shield, which goes to the MLS team with the best regular-season record, with a 3-2 victory on its last trip to Canada. The two teams played to a 0-0 draw in their season opener on Feb. 25 in Cincinnati.

–Field Level Media