The Orange and Blue begin a three game home stand on Saturday when they face the Eastern Conference’s 7th place Richmond Kickers (4-4-3) at Nippert Stadium. FC Cincinnati (6-2-2) comes into the contest in 3rd place, after defeating Harrisburg City last weekend. Cincinnati Soccer Talk offers 7 things to know to get you ready for this weekend’s contest.
More Important Than Soccer – The Richmond Kickers all-time leading goalscorer Matthew Delicâte was diagnosed with kidney cancer this week after seeking treatment for a back injury he sustained during a recent training session. Everyone at Cincinnati Soccer Talk and if I may, the city of Cincinnati, admires Matthew’s bravery in the face of this disease and wishes him a quick return to health.
Open Cup Exit – FC Cincinnati are coming off a tough 1-0 loss in the US Open Cup against the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies. Although they had a couple of good chances to equalize after going down a goal in the 11th minute, the Orange and Blue did not look sharp in Wednesday’s defeat in the Florida heat. The result sees them miss out on their first chance to face Columbus Crew SC in the fourth round of that tournament.
Top 5 – What are Power Rankings worth? Not much really if you ask me, but the USL releases them every week and FC Cincinnati has risen all the way up to number 5 in the USL’s latest installment. While the order is debatable, the recognition is nice. Dreaded Louisville City FC is currently sitting 1st. Both teams have been building momentum in their league results leading up to what should be an epic clash in Louisville on June 25th.
Richmond’s Rough Week – The Kickers have had a week to forget on the field. Last Saturday, they lost to FC Montreal, a team that is bottom of the Eastern Conference and who had not earned a single point over their first 8 league matches this season. Richmond also lost on penalty kicks in Wednesday’s US Open Cup match to NASL side Fort Lauderdale Strikers. They may be low on confidence when they arrive to play on Saturday, but they will certainly be looking to make amends for recent performances.
Continued Caution – We’ve seen Austin Berry more in a suit than a jersey lately and its starting to get old. Despite recent reports that his health is improving, it is likely that he will still be absent on Saturday. Paul Nicholson will fill his place at center back and Kenney Walker will likely wear the arm band again for the Orange and Blue.
Danger Man – Similar to FC Cincinnati, the Kickers spread the wealth offensively and have 6 different players who have scored goals for their team this season. Keep an eye on 24 year old Japanese midfielder Yudai Imura who has 3 goals and an assist this year. He also scored the Kickers’ lone goal Wednesday in their US Open Cup defeat. According to Wikipedia (the source of true knowledge in the universe), he also “does not like to consume oranges.”
Mother Nature Hates FC Cincinnati – Saturday’s forecast is calling for an 80% chance of rain. Seriously? Aside from the Indy Eleven and Harrisburg matches, every other match at Nippert has been plagued by dismal weather. It’s a good thing that Cincinnatians are a hearty lot and I’m sure there will be no excuses as FC Cincinnati fans make their way in numbers to Saturday’s game.