FC Cincinnati (10-4-4) faces 1st place Louisville City FC in the third and deciding round of the River Cities Cup on Saturday. Cincinnati Soccer Talk offers 7 things to know to get you ready for this weekend’s contest.
Baby Bull Heartbreak – The Orange and Blue led Wednesday night’s match through the 80th minute but gave up not one, but two late goals, dropping all three points to NY Red Bulls II. This result heaps extra pressure on Harkes’ men to come away with a positive result on Saturday. Louisville City are of course the first place team in the Eastern conference and are 8 points clear of FC Cincinnati at the top of the table, having played one more match. The Orange and Blue must win this match if they want to have a chance to catch their Southern rivals by season’s end. A loss for FCC would open up a significant points gap between the two sides.
River Cities Cup – FC Cincinnati must also win this match if they want to lay claim to the River Cities Cup. After two games played, LCFC has 4 total points in the competition to FCC’s 1. LCFC earned a 3-2 victory at Nippert on April 24 and the two sides played to a goalless draw in June. The Orange and Blue need to win by at least a 2 goal margin Saturday to claim the trophy outright. If they win by 1 goal, the teams will be tied on points and goal difference and the cup winner will be decided by tiebreakers. Lesser outcomes need not be discussed.
Injury Concerns – Kenney Walker left Wednesday’s match after a turf injury that affected the arch of his foot. Ross Tomaselli was injured in the Palace friendly and there is no word yet on when he can return. Paul Nicholson is a very capable central defensive midfielder but if he has to play there, Austin Berry will likely have to start and play a significant portion of Saturday’s match. Keep in mind that Berry just returned from a lengthy injury, played Wednesday, and is not at full match fitness. All eyes will be on the central positions in midfield and defense when the starting lineups come out Saturday.
White Out – Remember that the club is calling for all fans to wear white and “white out” Nippert on Saturday afternoon. Over 15K tickets have already been sold and the club is expecting a total attendance of around 25K. The forecast is calling for temperatures in the 90s, so it’s probably a good idea to wear white anyway and reflect some of that sun. The match also is a 4pm kickoff, so plan accordingly.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 21, 2016
Gaudy Numbers – As you might expect, the first place team in the Eastern conference has been doing pretty well recently. They are undefeated in 17 games and have only lost 1 match this season. They have a potent offense that is tied for first in goals scored with 37. Over the past 5 games they have 3 wins and 2 draws and most recently beat Wilmington 4-1 in North Carolina. They did not play Wednesday so are coming into Saturday’s match on a full week of rest.
Danger Men – The Louisville attack is based on contributions from a lot of different players. No less than 14 different players have scored goals for LCFC this season. Although they get offensive production from all over the pitch, lead striker Chandler Hoffman has 14 goals which is tied for 1st in the USL. Left back and Cincinnati native Kyle Smith leads their team in assists with 6, also good enough to be tied for first in the USL.
The Plastic Cup & Pregame Festivities – A second round of the Plastic Cup will be held at 11am Saturday at the Sacred Heart Soccer Complex (525 Lafayette Ave). The Plastic Cup is a friendly soccer ball kicking affair between supporters groups from FC Cincinnati and Louisville City FC. Stop by and cheer on the team’s most die-hard fans before the professional game begins. The SG’s will also be taking up residence at their favorite pre-match locations before kickoff. See the list below for more information.
Die Innenstadt: Mecklenburg Gardens – 302 E University Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Pride: The Brass Tap – 251 Calhoun St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Lowen de Sudens: Barleycorn’s – 1073 Industrial Rd, Cold Spring, KY 41076
Queen City Firm: Mio’s Pizzeria Pub – 2634 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Queen City Mafia: Adriatico’s Parking Lot Tailgate – 113 W McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Be sure to check out our recent announcement of the Cincinnati Soccer Talk FootGolf Classic and sign your team up TODAY! Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for staff analysis leading up to this weekend’s match.