The Orange and Blue lost a back and forth game with CF Montreal 5-4 over the weekend, while Atlanta are in the middle of an eight-game losing streak after falling 1-0 to the New England Revolution.
Now in their third season in MLS, Cincinnati may have experienced one of the craziest games in franchise history this past weekend, and unfortunately for Jaap Stam and his team, they ended up on the wrong end of the score in a game that they seemed to have under control.
That defeat ended a franchise-record four-match unbeaten run that has enabled them to climb out of the Eastern Conference basement, which was their permanent home over their first two MLS campaigns.
On Saturday, Cincy squandered two two-goal advantages, coming away empty-handed in an exciting match for neutral fans, filled with glaring errors from both sides, particularly the goalkeepers as Kenneth Vermeer and James Pantemis let in some shocking goals.
Stam, a hard-nosed defender during his playing days, will not be pleased with the defensive display his team showed, allowing 10 shots on target against a side in Montreal who have been shut out of five games this year.
Leading by two has not meant good things for this team in 2021, as they have squandered four two-goal leads this season in three matches, collecting two out of a possible nine points when they were in that position.
An eighth consecutive match without a win proved to be the final nail in the coffin of manager Gabriel Heinze, who was relieved of his duties on Sunday just one day after his team's 1-0 defeat to New England.
To say that this team have taken a step back since the Argentine took over would be an understatement, as the Five Stripes have only won four games since he succeeded Frank de Boer in December 2020, with Atlanta positioned to miss the post-season for a second successive campaign.
Assistant coach Rob Valentino will manage the team on an interim basis, and he has a big job ahead of him to get this team out of their current funk while also bringing harmony back into the group, something that has been in short supply this year.
Before last weekend, one of the few positives that this team had going for them was the fact that they had not lost on their home turf, but that record went out the window versus the Revs as they once again failed to create any great scoring chances, despite having over 60% of the ball.
As they get set to play three games in nine days, starting on Wednesday, the Five Stripes will be eager to win away from home for the first time all season.
Brenner scored a brace in a losing effort versus Montreal, the first player in club history to scored multiple goals in an MLS match, while midfielder Yuya Kubo will miss the game on Wednesday due to a yellow card suspension.
Striker Josef Martinez has rejoined his team after training on his own over the past two weeks amid rumours that the 2018 MLS Golden Boot winner and former manager Gabriel Heinze were feuding.
FC Cincinnati possible starting lineup:
Tyton; Gyau, Cameron, Vallecilla, Pettersson; Mines, Acosta, Vazquez; Brenner, Barreal, Atanga
Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Lundgaard; Campbell, Franco, Walkes, Lennon; Sejdic, Moreno, Mulraney, Lopez; Martinez, Wolff
We say: FC Cincinnati 1-2 Atlanta United
Cincinnati seem to have found their scoring touch with a goal in each of their last five games, but they still have work to do when it comes to closing out a match from a winning position.
Atlanta have never lost to Cincy in four matches, and they will be out to make an impression on their interim coach versus a side who have yet to win at home this season.