When: Friday, March 18th @ 7 p.m. ET
Where: XU Soccer Complex – 3800 Victory Pkwy, Cincinnati, OH 45229
Pregame Event: Listermann Brewing Company – 1621 Dana Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45207
Quick tours at 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. for any interested fans. Meet up with members of our supporters groups before the game! FCC supporters will walk over as a group at 6:30 p.m. before game time at 7 p.m.
Postgame Event & Promotions: The first 200 kids, 8th grade and under will receive a free mini soccer ball to be used for post-game autographs. FC Cincinnati and Xavier players will be available to sign autographs following the match.
Homecoming: Coming off a 1-1 draw vs. Indy Eleven on Saturday, FC Cincinnati will play their first game in their home city with a pre-season friendly vs. the Xavier University Musketeers Men’s Soccer team. Former Xavier standout forward Luke Spencer and goalkeeper Dallas Jaye logged important minutes last weekend, with Spencer notching the only FCC goal. Jaye will be joining the Guam Men’s National Team for their World Cup Qualifier on Thursday March 24th in Oman. Jaye could make his 5th appearance for the Matao, and will therefore not feature for the Orange and Blue this Friday.
Opponent: Xavier University Musketeers (NCAA):
Last season was filled with ups-and-downs for the Xavier soccer program. The Musketeers shocked No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 1 Creighton, but also suffered disappointments leading to a surprise exclusion from the 2015 NCAA men’s soccer tournament. The team will bring back a solid core of players including Senior Todd Pratzner who helped XU record 9 shutouts and a Goals Against Average of 0.89. Pratzner has started 53 games in his career and could work with another quality defender, former US Youth National Team member Matt Nance.
Coach Andy Fleming could also look to rely on Forwards Jalen Brown (1G, 2A) and Matt Vazquenza (5G, 1A) as they face a tough FC Cincinnati defense. There is plenty of talent on Xavier’s roster including midfielder Ian Vicars who came out of the Blackburn Rovers Academy and 2015 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List Defender Cory Brown who appeared in the FIFA U-17 & U-20 World Cups with New Zealand. Xavier is coming off their first spring season weekend with a 2-0 defeat to Sweet Sixteen team Indiana and a 1-0 win vs. Valparaiso.
What to watch for: FC Cincinnati
1. Starting Lineup – Coming off the Indy Eleven game, will John Harkes stick with his 4-2-3-1 formation going into Xavier? You might see Harkes go back to a 4-3-3 formation by playing his forward/wingers Hoppenot or Mohammed who would partner with either Okoli, Cummings or Wiedeman.
2. Cincinnati Boys – This is the first time Luke Spencer, Austin Berry, Omar Cummings or Dan Williams will play in the Queen City since their college days or with the Saints as in the case with Williams. Will Harkes decide to give these players a run-out in front of their home town crowd before the season?
3. First Half Offense – With the debut of Omar Cummings in last weeks friendly, will he be fit to start or play for a longer duration? The team has struggled to score in the first 45 and could benefit from such an experienced player.
4. Starters or Bench? – Will Harkes play any members of the team that have not made an appearance yet or in a long stretch? FCC fans have yet to see much of Alvaro Anton Ripoll, Michael Millay, Francisco Narbon or Dan Williams. This could be a good opportunity to see some of these younger players make an impact before the season begins.
5. The Fans – This is the first time most FC Cincinnati supporters will get to see their hometown team in person. There is a pregame event planned at Listermann Brewing Company, but look out for more information on the Pride, the Den, or Die Innenstadt’s Facebook pages.
What would be a good result?
The preseason should be defined as a success for this inaugural season. Through four games, the Orange & Blue have compiled 2 wins and 2 draws against what most would say is superior competition. Going into a friendly against a very talented Xavier squad, you should expect FC Cincinnati to carry the result. The Musketeers will rely on their talented defense to keep this game close, but I pick the USL side to win with a solid 3-0 result.