FC Cincinnati's goalless drought is getting a little out of hand, and certainly frustrating for those within the confines of this expansion club.
Looking for its first goal in almost a month, visiting Cincinnati tries to avoid a fifth straight defeat Saturday night against a San Jose Earthquakes side that's aiming to extend their unbeaten stretch to four in a row.
Cincinnati (2-6-2) opened its MLS existence 2-1-1, totaling seven goals in the process. Since that strong start, it's been outscored 11-1 during an 0-5-1 stretch that's left the club baffled for answers.
Cincinnati has been blanked in four consecutive matches and the only goal it's managed over the last six games came via striker Darren Mattocks in the 19th minute of a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on April 7 - a scoreless rut of 341 minutes, according to MLS' official website.
"Let's call it what it is. Right now, we can't buy ourselves a goal," coach Alan Koch told the FC Cincinnati broadcast via MLSsoccer.com. "We've got to keep persevering."
If there's any potential silver lining it's that Cincinnati showed some solid offensive form during Wednesday's 2-0 loss at surging Philadelphia. Koch's group reeled off 15 total shots, with three on target in that contest, but conceded both goals in after the hour mark.
"I think we're on the cusp." Koch said. "These are spells that you may have over the course of a season. These are the ones to define our character, and how do we respond from it?"
Cincinnati won't catch any breaks in the finale of a three-game road stretch this weekend at San Jose (2-5-2). The Earthquakes lost five of their first six games in 2019, but are 1-0-2 since. The most recent of their back-to-back draws came at FC Dallas last Saturday.
"This team is growing, and we are starting to have more self-confidence from week to week," defender Florian Jungwirth told the Earthquakes' official website. "We believe in ourselves, we believe in our skills, and we believe in what we can do. In the past three games, we had teams struggling with our philosophy and fighting spirit."
San Jose last earned at least a point in four consecutive matches during the summer of 2016. The 'Quakes should be eager to accomplish that feat again, and perhaps even more so to get it done at home after two straight road games.
"We prepare like we always do, in a good mood, and we will battle Cincinnati and hopefully get our third home win," Jungwirth added.
San Jose star Chris Wondolowski, who has come on as a sub in each of the last four games, is still searching for his first goal of 2019. That goal would tie him with Landon Donovan for most goals in MLS history at 145.
Updated May 2, 2019