The season is finally here for FC Cincinnati! The orange and blue make their way down to Charleston, SC to kick off their inaugural campaign tonight against the Charleston Battery. Each game day the Cincinnati Soccer Talk staff will provide their predictions for the match in something we’re calling Staff Predictions.
FC Cincinnati (0-0-0) comes into this match fresh off an unbeaten preseason where the club won its first trophy at the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic. First half goals have been hard to come by for FC Cincinnati this preseason. Tonight they’re facing a Charleston squad that only allowed 9 goals at home last season.
Charleston Battery (0-0-0) finished 3rd in the Eastern Conference last year with 46 points. Defense has been their calling card but offensively they’ve got some guys who can score it as well. The FC Cincinnati back line could have their hands full.
The midfield should be led by Corben Bone and Kenney Walker who have allowed FCC to maintain a fair amount of possession this preseason. Both veterans may not be big goal scorers (check out this video though) in terms of numbers, but their vision and experience should allow the Orange and Blue to dictate play against the Battery. I look for these two bash-brothers to link play to our wingers and wing-backs. This hopefully will allow many offensive chances. That being said, I may be a bit geeked up for their first USL game. I hope and pray FC Cincinnati will win away at Charleston 2-0. We are FC CINCY!
FC Cincinnati faces a tough defensive side in Charleston. While there may be a discrepancy between team play from season to season, Charleston’s defensive record at home presents a tough challenge to FC Cincinnati in their first USL match in team history. The Battery allowed only nine goals at home last season as well as collecting 30 points in only 14 matches at home during the 2015 season. Former New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders player Sean Okoli will likely lead the charge at striker. Though he has only been with the team for roughly a month, the absence of Omar Cummings will likely give Okoli his chance to shine against Charleston. I believe the high press that FC Cincinnati has traditionally played in the preseason will help the good guys break down the Charleston’s defense and bring about a 2-2 draw. That will give our boys their first point in the team’s inaugural season.
Charleston was undefeated at home last year and many people have underlined their defensive credentials. It’s true. They were a very good defensive team last year. But I see them more as a well balanced team with solid offensive credentials if you are making judgments based on last year’s statistics. They scored 43 total goals and scored 2 or more goals in 12 of their 28 matches (42%). They also came out of the gates hot last year, winning 5 of their first 7 matches and drawing the other two. These factors combined with their defensive strength make this look like a daunting task for FC Cincinnati. Some key contributors for Charleston Battery will be missing however. Forward and leading goal scorer Dane Kelley transferred to Swope Park in the offseason. Charleston will also be without defensive minded players Griffith and Hacksaw due to their participation in World Cup qualifiers. While this is a very losable match for FC Cincinnati, they will again show the fight we saw in preseason and eek out a 1-1 draw.
The first match is finally here! After months of anticipation, I am excited to see what Coach Harkes has to offer and the starting 11 he will trot out. This match will not be a cakewalk by any means. In my mind the Charleston Battery are a Top 4 team in the Eastern Conference but FC Cincinnati gets them at what may be an opportune time with 2 defensive starters out for the home side on international duty. I hope the club takes advantage of the weakened D and attacks them from the opening whistle. Jimmy McLaughlin and Andrew Wiedeman looked dangerous the other night against Xavier and I bet one of those two will have a hand in the opening goal. The Battery have been dangerous offensively in their last couple of preseason games with a 10-1 goal differential and should be able to net as well. My prediction is a 2-1 FC Cincinnati win behind a late goal from super-sub LUUUKKKKKEEEEEE SPENCER.
As I mentioned on the podcast this week, last year’s season opener between Charleston and Toronto featured a lot of goals, 5 to be exact. That just so happened to be my score prediction as well. I’m saying 3-2 to the good guys this week. I also think the first goal for FC Cincinnati comes off the foot of Kenney Walker.
Yes, Charleston only gave up 9 goals at home last year. But they’re also missing a few guys from their vaunted backline from a year ago. Let’s see if guys like Okoli and Spencer can exploit that. The real question will be whether FC Cincinnati can put one in the back of the net in the first half. Something they couldn’t do down in Florida in preseason.
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