FC Cincinnati are exactly where they should be, so says head coach Pat Noonan ahead of Sunday’s clash with the New England Revolution.

After 17 games of the 2022 season, Cincinnati have won seven matches, drawing three and losing the other seven.

They sit sixth in the Eastern Conference, one place above the Revs, albeit on the same points.

“To be honest, I think we’re right where we should be. The expectations weren’t ‘we’re going to be in the middle of the table, the top of the table, bottom and table.’ It was, we’re going to see progress in our group,” said Noonan.

“And I think where we are in the table, where our performances have been have shown progress. And I think we deserve to be where we’re at. So now we’re here, we’ve talked about the next 10 games as an important stretch to position us to have meaningful games to end the year.

“I like where we’re at. And I think based on conversations early on, this is where we would have expected to see in terms of progress. Now the results, they come and go. You can have good results, or good performances and not the results to go with it. I think where we’re at is pretty fair.”

While the Revs have been unable to match their brilliant regular season performance from 2021, head coach Bruce Arena is confident they are picking up form.

“It takes a little bit of time but I think we’re heading in the right direction,” he said. “We’re in much better shape now than we were in the beginning of the season, so hopefully that means we’re going to have a promising second half of the season.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New England Revolution – Gustavo Bou

Gustavo Bou had eight shots in New England’s 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps, yet only got one on target. He will be eager to atone for that this time out.

FC Cincinnati – Brenner

Brenner scored three of Cincinnati’s four goals against New York City FC on Wednesday, becoming the first player to score an MLS hat-trick for Cincinnati.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Cincinnati won their first match against the Revs, 2-0, in Foxborough, in March 2019. Since then, New England have won four straight meetings, outscoring Cincinnati, 10-3, including a 3-2 win on May 21.

– The Revolution are unbeaten in nine straight matches (W4 D5) following a scoreless draw with the Whitecaps on Sunday. This is New England’s third unbeaten run of nine or more games since the start of last season. Prior to 2021, the Revs had just three such runs in a single season in the club’s history.

– Cincinnati led 3-0 against NYCFC, but ended up drawing, 4-4, on Wednesday. It marked the 16th time in MLS history that a team failed to win when leading by three or more goals and the first since FC Dallas against CF Montreal in 2019.

– The Revolution’s scoreless draw at Vancouver on Sunday was just the second time they failed to score in a match this season, ending an 11-match run of games with a goal.

– New England have not played consecutive MLS matches without scoring since October 2020.