Under the new direction of Marcelino, Valencia CF makes its way to Nippert Stadium for the 2nd international friendly in as many years for FC Cincinnati. Last year a sold out crowd of 35,062 witnessed Crystal Palace of the English Premier League defeat the Orange & Blue 2-0. Monday night’s match will be Valencia’s 4th of 8 preseason matches following a recent stop in Regina, Saskatchewan Saturday where they faced the New York Cosmos. The La Liga club fell to the NASL defending champion 2-0. When it’s all said and done Valencia’s pre season tour will include stops in Switzerland, Canada, USA, U.K., and Germany. Without further ado here is a special “International Friendly” 5 Things to Know going into Monday night’s match.
Where: Cincinnati, OH – Nippert Stadium
When: Monday, July 24th at 7:30 p.m. EST
Form: FC Cincinnati – 5th Place- USL (8W-6L-6D, 30 pts.), Valencia CF – 12th Place (2016-2017 season)- La Liga
5 Things to Know
Can Valencia get the Ship Righted?: A 6 time La Liga champion and perennial UEFA Champions League club with the likes of former players David Villa, David Silva, and Juan Mata, Valencia’s had a rough go the last couple of seasons with back to back 12th place finishes in league play. Marcelino was brought in to return “the Bats” to their former glory after guiding Villareal CF for 4 seasons, getting that club into the UEFA Champions League & Europa League competitions.
Big Time Player’s Coming to Nippert: Even though Valencia left Nani in Spain after appearing in this summer’s FIFA Confederations Cup for Portugal, the Bats are bringing a squad full of talent. Argentine center back Ezequiel Garay started in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil and won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. A lot of English Premier League fans will recognize former Manchester City & Middlesbrough striker Alvaro Negredo. Negredo spent last season on loan with Middlesbrough leading their team with 9 goals in league play. Italian forward Simone Zaza made his move from Italian giant Juventus permanent after spending the second half of the 2016-2017 season with Valencia on loan. Zaza made now Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s 2016 European Championship squad making 2 appearances but missing the deciding penalty in the quarterfinal against Germany with Italy bowing out 6-5 in pk’s.
One Brazilian GK Out, Another One In: When the friendly was announced back in June, many FC Cincinnati fans were excited to see Brazilian international and Champions League goalkeeper Diego Alves. Unfortunately, for the fans of the Orange & Blue, Alves was sold to the Brazilian club Flamengo but has since been replaced by another countryman and former Juventus & Fiorentina keeper Neto. Neto was the back up to the legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. During Neto’s time at Juve, he made appearances in the UEFA Champions League, Coppa Italia, and Serie A lifting both Italian cups in 2016 & 2017.
Chance for a Breakthrough: After Saturday’s 3-0 win FC Cincinnati faces a quick turnaround Monday night. The Orange & Blue played their best XI and has a congested schedule going forward which means Coach Koch should give a lot of the squad players a substantial amount of minutes and others their debut in front of the home crowd.
“We would like to include as many, if not everyone, in Monday night’s game because it is a special occasion,” Koch said. “It’s important for us to embrace opportunities like this. We have nothing to lose playing a friendly against world-class competition, but it’s something we can learn from and the best way to learn is to put your players in those situations.”
Will any of those players take this opportunity to show off their talent and possibly earn some more playing time for the closing stretch? In last year’s friendly, it was FCC’s 3rd keeper Dan Williams who put in a man of the match performance. Who will create some memorable moments this year?
Mestalla: Valencia plays in one of the all time great stadiums in the world, the Mestalla. With a capacity of 55,000, Mestalla’s atmosphere makes it one of the hardest places to play in Europe. Known for its steep stands, the noise can not escape the arena making it hard for visiting teams to communicate. Due to the age of the stadium Valencia announced plans to move to the “Nou Mestalla” for the 2009-2010 season. Construction started in 2007 but financial issues at the club have all but stopped the progress on the building. It looks like the landmark built in 1923 will remain the clubs home for the foreseeable future.
Pay attention to @cincysoccertalk for more coverage and pictures of Valencia’s stay in Cincinnati!
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. 6:30 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
For more information and how to join the supporters march, check out our matchday guide!
TV: This contest is set for a 7:30 p.m. EST kickoff on Monday night. Presenting sponsor Cincinnati Bell will be the only place to watch the match live on a cable tv platform. It will be exclusively carried on Fioptics Ch. 500. For those without Fioptics, you can also view the match via streaming internet on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Tom Gelehrter will return as the play-by-play announcer for the team’s home matches along with Kevin McCloskey providing color analysis and Lindsay Patterson reporting from the sideline.
RADIO: Simulcast of the TV stream on ESPN 1530AM