If an 86′ day with sun and low humidity doesn’t get you out to this weekend’s FC Cincinnati game, I don’t know what will. FC Cincinnati will face another “MLS 2” side in Toronto FC II this Saturday. The Young Reds (3-7-4) feature a talented crop of youngsters which could make for an exciting game in Nippert. I have outlined 7 Things You Need to Know going into this weekends match. Check these out and let us know what you think on Twitter @CincySoccerTalk going into Saturday night’s match.
1.) 2nd Worst Defense in USL – FC Cincinnati will face one of the more porous defenses in the USL this weekend. This Toronto FC II (TFC2) squad has conceded the 2nd most amount of goals in the league and averages 1.65 goals allowed per match. The back four has seen some changes with the rotations of center backs Skylar Thomas and Robert Boskovic alongside Mitchell Taintor. Anthony Osorio likes to push up the field in his left back position, and I assume we will see the return of right back Wesley Charpie as Bubacarr Jobe was sent off. I doubt that we will see Cincinnati native & TFC center back Nick Hagglund this weekend since the senior squad has a match and is traditionally the first CB off the bench.
2.) Midweek Draw Late vs. FC Montreal – TFC2 needed 90’ to equalize in their Wednesday morning home fixture vs. FC Montreal. Bubacarr Jobe was issued a second yellow in the 82′ which many would have thought as a dagger into TFC2’s heart, but a free kick from the right side of the box was headed home by midfielder Liam Fraser. Substitute attacking midfielder Raheem Edwards nearly got TFC2 on the books earlier, but was denied by Montreal keeper Maxime Crépeau.
3.) Capable Offense – There is plenty of talent and pace shown by the Young Reds. The aforementioned Raheem Edwards sits on 4 goals and 18 year old midfielder Malik Johnson also has netted 4. 16 year old Toronto FC Academy product Shaan Hundal has scored twice from the forward position. Hundal has been the biggest surprise of the three, and could continue to pose problems as all three can run at a defense at pace. Their problem has been getting the opportunities. The three have combined for 45 shots with 10 goals combined. Compare that to the three main FC Cincinnati attackers in Okoli, Wiedeman and McLaughlin, you see the disparity with 89 shots and 12 goals. If statistics would hold true, FC Cincinnati could get into trouble if they allow those three to get on goal.
4.) Young players are inconsistent and need to improve mentally – There was much hype around this TFC2 squad. Luca Uccello, Skylar Thomas, Mitchell Taintor, and Raheem Edwards were included in the senior squads preseason camp. Even though the Young Reds are only 4 points out of a playoff position, they current sit in 12th of 14 teams in the USL eastern conference. Edwards is returning from injury, but Coach Jason Bent had words for his team late last week in closing out games. “We have to be strong,” said Bent. “We have to improve that mentality and know that the opposition is going have a spell in the game, and we have to be able to resist that.”
5.) Youth – This TFC2 squad is called the Young Reds for a reason. The roster features 12 players under the age of 21 with the oldest players being defender Wesley Charpie (23) and midfield playmaker Sal Bernal (23). Toronto may also run out young goalkeeper Alex Bono who was drafted as the 6th overall pick by TFC in the 2015 MLS Superdraft.
6.) Another Big Crowd – New Bailey Ticket Rules – On Monday, FC Cincinnati announced that Saturday’s match would be the 8th match with over 10,000 tickets sold. With last week’s attendance number of 14,267, FC Cincinnati surpassed over 100,000 tickets sold.
With the larger crowds, there has been an added demand for spots in the Bailey. Due to issues with ushers and confusion entering the Bailey, FC Cincinnati has issued a new rule that all ticket holders in the Bailey must have a paper ticket to enter their seating area. Please see the bullets below for how to get into the Bailey:
–If you’re a season ticket holder, produce your ticket from your season ticket book.
–All season ticket holders and anyone who purchased their tickets online can print out a physical copy of your ticket at home.
–If you get to the stadium and forgot to print a physical ticket, or you’re turned away at The Bailey after getting in with a mobile ticket, visit us at the Ticket Box Office and they will get you a physical ticket.
Make sure to have your ticket as FC Cincinnati announced Thursday afternoon that the Bailey is officially SOLD OUT.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) June 13, 2016
7.) Can FC Cincy Hold Off Late Goals – With a late goal in their previous 2 matches, FC Cincinnati may have started a reputation for allowing late goals. I don’t want to make more of a problem than it truly is, but Toronto has been known to score late opportunities. Toronto tied Wednesday’s match vs. FC Montreal on this late goal below. TFC2 has also scored late opportunities to win in Rochester as well as almost equalizing in the first game vs. FC Cincy. Their pace has been able to break teams down late, so FCC should need a 2 goal lead going into the final 10′ to feel comfortable.
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) June 15, 2016
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Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for staff predictions on Friday and more news and analysis leading up to this weekend’s match.