FC Cincinnati gets their first preseason match in the tri-state Tuesday as they play Northern Kentucky University. Check out our 5 Things to Know in the lead-up to FC Cincinnati’s third season in the USL.
Where: Highland Heights, KY. – NKU Soccer Stadium
When: Tuesday, February 27nd at 7:00 p.m. EST
2017 Form: FC Cincinnati (USL) – 6th Place (12W-10L-10D, 46 pts.), Northern Kentucky University
5 Things to Know
Developing Community Relationships: FC Cincinnati plays the first of two local universities with Tuesday night’s matchup. Coach Stu Riddle had this to say “My staff and I have been able to form a strong relationship with the FCC coaching staff, and it’s important that we thank them for this opportunity. We thoroughly enjoyed our match against FCC in the fall and hope that the soccer community shows up in droves again in what will be an exciting opportunity for our players.” Riddle has been seen around the club frequently and was able to spend some time with the club this offseason at IMG Academy. It’s key that the club continues to build relationships with local universities and development academies if they aspire to play in MLS. With homegrown player signings becoming ever more critical, getting familiar with the athletes could help lay the groundwork for the future growth of the club.
New Man Up Top: Tuesday could be the first chance we see the new #9 Tomi Ameobi on the pitch. The Englishman joined the club last Wednesday and could be a bit behind as he was unable to build the rapport with his teammates that went to Florida. We are less than three weeks until the start of the season. If Ameobi wants to lead the line this season, he’ll have to use these final four preseason contests to build match fitness and gain familiarity with the attacking unit. With players like Ledesma, Albadawi, and McLaughlin feeding the guys the ball up top, there should be a lot of chances. Keep an eye on Welshman, Konig, and Ameobi the next couple of weeks. One needs to separate himself from the others and claim the starting spot at Charleston.
Between the Posts: In addition to the battle up top, the other battle FC Cincinnati fans are most interested in is who will be the man in between the posts come March 17th. Former Sacramento Republic GK Evan Newton got the start against Indy XI last week and held the opponents scoreless in his 60 minutes of play. All accounts had him play well including a pair of timely saves off two Indy counter-attacks. Spencer Richey played 30 minutes and gave up one goal from the penalty spot after LB Blake Smith brought down an Indy attacker in the box. This race is still too close to call as both netminders have been impressive so far.
Getting Healthy: Though we might not see him on Tuesday, FC Cincinnati left-back Josu completed his first full training session with the Club on Sunday. Josu had been held out or practices early due to offseason knee surgery. With the Spaniard back for the club, it allows Coach Koch a variety of options and could move Lance Laing into more of an attacking role. Center-back Dekel Keinan was held out of the match last week due to an illness. It may not be necessary to run him out for a lot of minutes Tuesday but some time on the field would be a step in the right direction for the big man.
Reunion: Tuesday’s match will be a reunion between NKU coach Stu Riddle and FC Cincinnati forward/winger Russell Cicerone. Riddle coached Cicerone at the University of Buffalo and during their tenure at Buffalo, they reached the MAC Conference Tournament Final in 2015 & 2016. With Riddle’s help, Cicerone was drafted in the 4th round to the Portland Timbers in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
STREAM: THIS MATCH WILL NOT BE STREAMED. We will have coverage on site and will LIVE TWEET to the best of our ability. Also look out for recap & video content Tuesday evening.
Tickets: Ticketmaster or walk-up at NKU
Stay tuned to our Twitter handle – @CincySoccerTalk, for updated information.