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Jaap Stam has pleaded for patience as FC Cincinnati desperately attempt to keep their season alive when they welcome New York City FC to TQL Stadium on Saturday.

The Orange and Blue were thrashed 4-0 by Atlanta United on Wednesday and now have just one win in their last 14 matches.

Only Toronto FC have a worse record than Cincinnati this season and Stam, while eager to be given more time, understands that improvements have to be made.

“You always want to win. I want to win the league as well, but we also need to be patient at times and hopefully getting there,” the Dutchman said.

“It is not easy to get to where we want to be. That is how it is in soccer, especially over here. We are all trying and that’s why I always look at it from game-to-game.

“We need to have better results but also need to be more consistent and need to play better to eventually get to where everybody wants us to go.”

New York City are themselves in need of a morale-boosting win after collecting just one point from their last three games, that coming in a 3-3 draw with FC Dallas in midweek.

That high-scoring affair saw Heber make his return as a late substitute for City after almost exactly a year out and provided Deila with a rare positive.

“It’s good to have him back and get his first minutes,” Deila said. “It’s like a new player for us and something we can really look forward to.

“There are many games left and hopefully we have a clever way of him coming on as well. We just have to keep on building.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

FC Cincinnati – Brandon Vazquez

Vazquez recently set an MLS record by making 20 single-season substitute appearances without a start, but he was included in the XI against former side Atlanta last time out. The former United States age-grade international certainly got involved, with his 18 duels nine more than any other Cincinnati player on the day, but will that be enough for him to retain his place?

New York City FC – Heber

The Brazilian striker will need a few more matches to build up his sharpness, but Deila’s attacking options have now undoubtedly improved thanks to Heber’s return to fitness. He scored 15 goals in 23 matches in the 2019 season and even just a few goals between now and the end of the 2022 campaign would help NYCFC greatly.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– New York City FC has won all five of its matches against FC Cincinnati, outscoring them, 20-4, in those games, including a 5-0 win earlier this season. NYCFC has scored at least four goals in four of the five matches against Cincinnati, the most four-goal games by any team against another since Cincinnati entered MLS in 2019.

– FC Cincinnati’s 4-0 defeat to Atlanta United on Wednesday was its 18th defeat by three or more goals in its MLS history. No other team has suffered more than 12 such losses (San Jose) since Cincinnati entered the league in 2019.

– New York City FC is winless in seven straight away matches, losing the last three in a row. Since the beginning of July, NYCFC has collected 16 points at home (W5 D1) and just two on the road (D2 L5).

– Cincinnati recorded a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC in its last home match. Cincinnati has never won consecutive home matches in its MLS history.

– New York City FC has had a player sent off in each of its last three matches, the first time a team has done so since Montreal in September 2020. The last team to have a player sent off in more than three straight matches was Houston, who saw red in five straight matches in August-October 2009.

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