In this Featured Five segment we give you the scoop on FC Cincinnati’s next five opponents and how they’ve started their USL season. At the conclusion, we’ll draw some insights and tell you how we think the Orange and Blue will fare.
Saturday May 28th @ 7:00 pm at Nippert Stadium
4-5-1, 13 points, 8th in Eastern Conference
Last season Harrisburg finished 8th out of 12 teams in the East on 39 points, narrowly missing the playoffs. After a shaky start to the 2016 season, Harrisburg’s form has improved and they’ve recently found their scoring boots. The Islanders have scored 7 goals in the past 3 games and most recently earned a 2-1 victory over TFC II where they led by 2 goals for the majority of the game.
Player to watch: Jamaican attacking midfielder Paul Wilson is having a great season. He grabbed an assist against FC Cincinnati in the first meeting on May 7th. Wilson has accumulated 4 goals and 3 assists for the Islanders this season.
Saturday June 4th @ 7:00 pm at Nippert Stadium
4-3-3, 15 points, 6th in the Eastern Conference
Richmond earned only 2 more points than Harrisburg during the 2015 season, but that was enough to get them the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Kickers went on to lose to the Charleston Battery in the first round. The Kickers are in decent form and have lost only 1 in their last 5 games. Richmond likes to keep things close. Each of those games ended with either a 1-0 or 0-0 scoreline.
Player to watch: Similar to FC Cincinnati, the Kickers spread the wealth offensively and have 6 different players who have scored goals for them this season. Keep an eye on 24 year old Japanese midfielder Yudai Imura who has 3 goals and an assist this year. According to Wikipedia (the source of true knowledge in the universe), he also “does not like to consume oranges.”
Saturday June 11th @ 7:00 pm at Nippert Stadium
0-8-0, 0 points, 15th in Eastern Conference
FC Montreal finished in 10th place out of 12 teams in the Eastern conference in 2015, their inaugural season. They are the “MLS 2” team of the Montreal Impact. Astute French Canadian marketers figured out if you put “2” or “B” in the team name, less people may show up to watch.
FC Montreal has been pretty bad this year. OK, they’ve been really bad. Montreal played eight games and don’t have a single point to show for it. By comparison, the worst team in the Western Conference has 7 points.
Player to Watch: Given their lack of success, it’s been better not to watch really. If you have to pick someone, take a gander at Ballou Jean Yves Tabla. The Ivory Coast midfielder has four names, which is 3 more than the number of goals he’s scored this season. He’s tied with two others on 1 goal to lead a team that’s only tallied 3 all season.
Saturday June 18th @ 7:00 pm at Nippert Stadium
2-6-2, 8 points, 13th in Eastern Conference
TFC II finished 11th of 12 teams in the East last season. We’ve seen these guys before. FC Cincinnati beat them with a late game winner by Omar Cummings back in April following a heroic Mitch Hildebrandt double-save.
After a promising start to the season, TFC II has really fallen off. They have been the victim of a some roster instability given their MLS 2 status. Several players have been going up and down between the TFC II USL side and the TFC MLS club, which is not uncommon. As a consequence, the results on the field have not been good lately.
Player to Watch: Twenty year old striker and Toronto native Raheem Edwards leads the team with 4 goals including this one against FC Cincinnati in the teams’ first meeting.
Saturday June 25th @ 7:30 pm at Louisville Slugger Field
6-1-3, 21 points, 1st in Eastern Conference
LCFC finished 2nd in the Eastern Conference last season and lost to Rochester in the Eastern Conference finals. Round Two of the Dirty River Derby takes place at the end of June and will be a must see affair. If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, make plans soon to get down to Louisville that weekend and support your team.
Much to the chagrin of FC Cincinnati supporters, LCFC have continued their good form after Round 1 of the derby and currently sit at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Player to Watch: Chandler Hoffman has 7 goals on the season and sits 3rd overall in the USL in goals. He’s a good player, but Vanilla Ice wants his haircut back.
League Form Guide (last 5 games)
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What to Expect from FC Cincinnati
The first four of these five matches will be played at Nippert Stadium and therefore represent a great opportunity for FCC to put some points in the bag. Based on the opposition’s form, the first two games against Harrisburg and Richmond look to be the toughest of the home tests. Assume that we’ll win at least two of the four at home leaving the possibility of draws or a loss in the others. That brings us to game five in Louisville. While we desperately hope to exact revenge on LCFC in that end of June matchup, the Orange and Blue can’t really expect to get points from that match. Given that, eight or more points from these five games would be a decent haul.
@walkermichaelg for @cincysoccertalk