What to Know Before FC Cincinnati Battles Philadelphia Union in MLS Eastern Conference Semi-Finals

Cincinnati continues the competition as the No. 5 seed in the conference.

click to enlarge FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan speaks to reporters Oct. 18, 2022. - Photo: FC Cincinnati media assets
Photo: FC Cincinnati media assets
FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan speaks to reporters Oct. 18, 2022.

FC Cincinnati will take another shot at history this week.

Cincinnati's pro soccer team will face the Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference semi-finals of the Major League Soccer Cup on Oct. 20. Kickoff at Subaru Park in Pennsylvania is scheduled for 8 p.m. Cincinnati continues the competition as the No. 5 seed in the conference, while Philly is No. 1 and earned a bye.

"It’s neat. This is a cool story in terms of my last job and our group getting to this point not having been here before," said head coach Pat Noonan, who had been an assistant coach for Philadelphia prior to taking the reins at FC Cincinnati in December. "A very good opponent we get to match up against. This should be fun." Chris Albright, general manager for FC Cincinnati, also had been with the Union as technical director before coming to Cincy last October.

Philadelphia (19-5, 10 draws) is unbeaten on home turf and has tied its record of most home goals in a season at 49. The team also has nabbed the most points of any MLS team over the last five years, press materials say.

Cincinnati (12-9, 13 draws) is hot after winning its first-ever playoff game on Oct. 15, defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-1. The victory marked FC Cincinnati's first time contending for the MLS crown as well as its first playoff triumph. With the win, the Orange and Blue set a club record for the longest consecutive stretch of games in which the team has scored – 14, when counting both the regular season and the postseason.

The game at Red Bulls Arena in New Jersey was scoreless until the second half, with New York scoring in the half's third minute and Cincinnati captain and attacking midfielder Luciano Acosta tying it up in the 74th minute. FC Cincinnati forward Brandon Vazquez scored the winning goal in the 86th minute, giving New York almost no time to rally.

FC Cincinnati clinched its spot in the playoffs with its 5-2 win over D.C. United on Oct. 9.

The winner of the Cincinnati/Philadelphia game will advance to the conference finals round, followed by the crowning matchup. See the full 2022 MLS Cup bracket on the MLS website.

FC Cincinnati became the 24th team to enter the MLS as a professional soccer team in 2019. Before that, the team played in the second-division United Soccer League (USL) from 2016 to 2018.

How to watch the match

FS1 and FOX Deportes (with Spanish audio) will broadcast the FC Cincinnati/Philadelphia Union match. The game also will air locally on ESPN 1530-AM.

As it did for the Eastern Conference semi-finals, FC Cincinnati will hold a playoff watch party at TQL Stadium for fans. (Tickets are limited and may be sold out by the time you read this). The party will include half-price food, a DJ, FIFA gaming station, giveaways, merchandise and photo opportunities. See CityBeat's photos from the Oct. 15 fan party for FC Cincinnati's match against the New York Red Bulls.

Fans also can can watch the game at locations within FC Cincinnati's "Pub Partners" network throughout Greater Cincinnati.

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