FC Cincinnati looks to continue their magical US Open Cup run as they face their 2nd MLS foe Chicago Fire. This is the 2nd time these clubs will meet in 2017 after FC Cincinnati dropped a 3-2 result to the Fire in preseason at the IMG Academy. Both clubs have changed dramatically since then. Let’s see if 30,000 screaming fans will make a difference for FC Cincinnati once again.
Where: Cincinnati, OH – Nippert Stadium
When: Wednesday, June 28th at 8:00 p.m. EST
TV: ESPN & ESPN Deportes
Form: FC Cincinnati (5W-5L-5D, 20 pts.) 6th Place USL Eastern Conf., Chicago Fire ( 10W-3L-4D, 34 pts.) 2nd Place MLS Eastern Conf.
March to Matchday Special with Jeff Krause of Fire Confidential Live – Podcast
Join host Bryan Weigel for the newest addition to Cincinnati Soccer Talk lineup. March to Matchday will provide an in-depth preview of the upcoming opponent as well as how FC Cincinnati can best defeat them. This show will hopefully fit in your drive time to work, to the pub on game day or lead you right up to game time. We hope you enjoy March to Matchday!
Don’t forget you can now download and subscribe to Cincinnati Soccer Talk on iTunes today! The podcast can also be found on Stitcher Smart Radio now. We’re also available in the Google Play Store.
5 Things to Know
Bright Lights: The cameras of ESPN will descend on Nippert Stadium Wednesday evening as MLS expansion hopeful FC Cincinnati and their supporters will look to impress the country. It is also a bit fitting that the match is being played a little later in the evening than usual, starting at 8 p.m. Something about soccer at night just seems special. Our friend Timo Breitenstein of Die Innenstadt compared it to potentially having a Champions League level atmosphere that night. In Europe, the biggest matches are played after sunset and even most big MLS matches fit into that later slot. Even though this sounds a bit cliche, having this game on such a big platform is as much a testament to the fans supporting the club as the on the field product. Come out and show the country, if not the world what support there is in Cincinnati.
Additional Motivation: As we stated in a previous story, there are several FC Cincinnati players with Chicago Fire ties. Austin Berry won the 2012 Rookie of the Year award with the Fire and Corben Bone was their 1st round draft pick in 2010. Tyler Polak, Kenney Walker and Pat McMahon all have additional ties to that organization as members of the former Chicago Fire Developmental team in the USL PDL. I would have to imagine that there will be some additional motivation for this crew going against their former club. This doesn’t even take into account the motivation to impress on the national stage. Players like Djiby, Josu, Jimmy McLaughlin and others all want to showcase their skills on such a big stage and could come out on “fire” Wednesday night. It will be interesting to see how Coach Koch manages his squad right out of the gate.
How Will We Run Out: Coach Alan Koch shook up the playing formation with the 1-0 vs. the Crew. In that match, the Orange & Blue used a 3-5-2 shape offensively which turned into a more conservative 5-3-2 on the defensive end. During Saturday’s win vs. Saint Louis Koch rolled out a 3-4-3 formation with the biggest change being the style of how FC Cincinnati attempted to score. FCC attempted only 5 crosses on the night, deciding to create chances through the run of play and shockingly not by a header. I would still expect Cincinnati to come out with a 3 center back grouping, but the formation going forward could be a toss up. Danni König & Djiby could both be employed Wednesday to capitalize on any counter opportunities. Andrew Wiedeman and Jimmy McLaughlin did look sharp up top with Djiby Saturday, but I have a hard time thinking that we won’t be conservative & work to clog the midfield in the first 60 or so minutes.
Home Field Advantage: While not necessarily a fortress, FC Cincinnati is 7-1-4 at Nippert Stadium in all competitions in 2017. It has become a tough place to play for most teams even more so recently with FCC going 6-0-2 in their last 8 at home. That being said, Chicago has done well on turf in 2017. The Fire are 2-1-0 on turf across all competitions including two recent wins in New England and at Saint Louis FC. It was reported on Monday that ticket sales are on pace with that of the Columbus Crew SC match so the club is anticipating a crowd that could near 30,000 fans to cheer on the Orange & Blue.
The Difference Makers: The hopes of FC Cincinnati supporters could hang on a player from either squad. The Orange & Blue will need their main man up top to put in another great shift if we hope to have a chance. Djiby Fall has scored 10 goals in 12 games across all competitions including the winner in all 3 US Open Cup matches. Regardless if FCC plays the ball through the air or on the ground they will look to their target man to finish his chances. Without a doubt, the most hyped player going into this match has to be German international and 2014 World Cup champion midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. The 31-year-old has been a big factor in the resurgence of the Fire contributing in one of the best midfield pairings in MLS. Unfortunately for the Fire, his midfield partner Dax McCarty was called up to the US Men’s National Team and will not make the trip to Cincinnati. Coach Veljko Paunovic could elect to use veteran Juninho or youngster Matt Polster in the midfield with Schweinsteiger if he does elect to start the former German captain. It was reported by Fire Confidential Live and again by Chicago Now that the Champions League winner would feature on Wednesday. If he can continue to play like he has for the Fire in MLS, the FCC midfield will need to play the game of their lives.
Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for more news and information leading up to the FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire US Open Cup match!
Supporter Groups Pregame Match Parties
We encourage all fans to get down to Clifton early and enjoy themselves at the areas many restaurants and pubs. Many Supporter Groups hang out in the “Short Vine” area where you can join in the march to Nippert Stadium. Some of these locations can be rowdier than others, but families and opposing fans are encouraged to come out and join the various groups. The Supporters March Should begin at approx. 7 p.m.
Die Innenstadt: Mecklenburg Gardens – 302 E University Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Pride: Ladder 19 – 2701 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Queen City Firm: Mio’s Pizzeria Pub – 2634 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Queen City Mafia: Short Vine Bearcat Statue Lot – 2700 Block of Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Legion: Taste of Belgium Clifton – 2845 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Bailey Bastards: Hang Over Easy – 3 W Charlton St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Following Wednesday night’s match, fans are invited back to Ladder 19 on Short Vine for a special post-match party sponsored by US Bank. More details will be released through social media.
For more information and how to join the supporters march, check out our matchday guide!
Viewing & Radio
TV: This contest is set for a 8 p.m. EST kickoff Wednesday night on ESPN & ESPN Deportes. Adrian Healey and Taylor Twellman will handle the ESPN2 broadcast from the box with sideline reporter Julie Stewart-Binks. Robert Sierra and Barak Fever will handle Spanish-language commentary on ESPN Deportes.
RADIO: You can listen LIVE on FC Cincinnati’s radio partner ESPN 1530 AM which will feature the traditional FC Cincinnati TV broadcast team. Tom Gelehrter will return as the play-by-play announcer with Kevin McCloskey providing color analysis and Lindsay Patterson reporting from the sideline.
Cincinnati Soccer Talk partners with FC Cincinnati Supporters Groups with Live Show Tuesday Night!
Cincinnati Soccer Talk in partnership with the Pride Supporters Group will host a live in-person show Tuesday night. The show will begin at 8 p.m. at the American Sign Museum which is hosting a Supporters Tifo Night. Special thanks to Kevin Wallace and Chris White of the Pride who have helped CST bring this special event to the American Sign Museum.