The Richmond Kickers are coming off a league loss on Saturday night against the worst team in the Eastern Conference in FC Montreal on top of an extra time penalty shootout Open Cup loss midweek against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. Here’s how we think the match will play out in our Staff Predictions.
The boys looked very tired in Florida during their midweek game vs. Tampa Bay. I expects several changes to the starting squad due to playing 3 games in 8 days. Coach Harkes may employ Omar Cummings in a starting role after a disappointing showing by Okoli. I would also like to see what Hoppenot and Stevenson can contribute in starting roles. Richmond has also done some traveling and could be worn down as well. Therefore, I am predicting our squad depth will shine through with a 2-1 win at a wet Nippert Stadium.
After a rough loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, FC Cincinnati will look to rebound against the Richmond Kickers. Richmond has only garnered 2 points from their last 4 USL matches while FCC has take 10 out of a possible 12 from their last 4 USL matches. FC Cincinnati has been on a roll on both sides of the ball. Defensively the team has had back-to-back clean sheets (USL matches.) The defense hasn’t given up more than one goal in a USL match since the Louisville match. Offensively the team seems to be gelling now more than ever and it was especially apparent in the Harrisburg match last week. FCC is on the rise and Richmond is at best trying to hold steady. That’s why my prediction is 2-0 to FC Cincinnati.
We’ll probably see some tired legs and a little player rotation due to the midweek matches each team played. It will be interesting to see if Evan Lee might get a start given Berry’s injury and the fact that Paul Nicholson had to come off the field Wednesday due to a tight back. Delbridge is bruised and battered but hopefully he should be able to start. Richmond’s had some bad results lately and will be desperate to get back on track. They’ve managed a couple of decent draws this season against LCFC and Red Bulls II though. For some reason I have an eerie feeling about this match. Everything’s a little too quiet going into it. I’m predicting a 1-1 draw.
It goes without saying that Richmond will be playing with a heavy heart on Saturday. This week the Richmond Kickers all-time leader in goals Matthew Delicâte was diagnosed with kidney cancer while being treated for an injury he received in practice this week. The entire FC Cincinnati family wishes him good luck and a speedy recovery.
FCC & Richmond both had to travel to Florida for the Open Cup this week and left with heart wrenching losses. At least Orange & Blue get to travel back home to prepare for the match and I think that will pay large dividends. Not saying there will be a lot of scoring as both teams could be tired but I think FCC will have enough to notch a 1-0 win and extend their USL undefeated streak to 7 games.
This will be FC Cincinnati’s third matches in eight days. It feels like a lot. When watching the Open Cup match on Wednesday night, the guys looked GASSED. I noticed multiple players with hands on knees. Maybe it was the humid conditions, maybe it was the short week, either way they look tired. Richmond on the other hand is in the same boat and played more minutes on Wednesday in their match. The unbeaten streak is over, and I said on the podcast this week that I felt they’d play to a 1-1 draw Saturday night, assuming they would beat Tampa. Since they lost, my gut is telling me they’ll get back to winning ways on Saturday. However, I’ll stick to my initial prediction of a 1-1 draw at home.
There are a lot of similarities between Richmond and Cincinnati. Both are on their third game in 8 games. Both traveled to Florida for the Open Cup and lost. Cincinnati wanting to win to get a chance to play local MLS team the Columbus Crew. Richmond eager to play their MLS partner DC United I’m sure. Each team gave up an early goal to their NASL opponents but that’s where things start to deviate. Richmond managed to get back a goal and ended up playing the full 120 minutes and losing in penalty kicks. The boys in Orange and Blue never managed to equalize and looked gassed at end of their match. If Richmond felt similar that extra 30 minutes is going to haunt them this Saturday. Looking back at the last 4 USL games, the Richmond result is LTTL. They lost to Toronto and Montreal who both sit at the bottom of the table but tied with Louisville and New York who sit at the top. Tough to figure out which team will show up in Cincinnati. Cincinnati’s results are better with WTWW though we haven’t played the top of the table lately. Despite the Open Cup loss, I think we carry the USL momentum forward where Richmond is on shaky ground lately. All legs are tired and I think the home field and a deeper bench will help us win out in this contest. Our scoring is a little more sparse recently and I expect to see some less familiar faces on the pitch, so I think we’re only looking at a 1-0 victory.