The result Wednesday night was not the result FC Cincinnati was hoping to start their 3-match homestand with. They’ll need to bounce back quickly when 1st place Louisville City FC returns to the Queen City on Saturday night. Here’s how we think things will go down at Nippert Stadium.
What a brutal way to lose a match on Wednesday and unfortunately it doesn’t get much easier for the Orange & Blue as a red-hot LCFC team comes to town. Hopefully a rambunctious Nippert can keep the good guys in the game especially with the potential loss of both CDM’s in Walker & Tomaselli. FC Cincy will probably need to rely heavily on Mitch and pick up some timely goals against the run of play to have a shot for the win. Ultimately I think LCFC has too much team speed that will put the back 4 in difficult spots and lead to a 2-0 loss for FC Cincinnati.
A win here would be huge for FC Cincinnati, but the opportunity to take points away from Loisville is just as important. Both sides failed to make it on to the scoreboard in their last meeting, but FCC has revamped their offense and used several formations recently. No one knows what they will see as a formation, but I’m hoping to see a two-striker system with Okoli and Cummings up top. Kenny Walker was taken off early in the match against NYRB II and Nicholson was moved from CB to CDM to take Walker’s spot. If Walker is healthy it will be interesting to see who is in the center back pair between Delbridge, Berry, and Nicholson. I foresee a 2-2 draw as the Cincinnati Soccer Ball Kicking Good Guys take a point from the team that’s currently 1st in all of USL.
If I were a betting man, I would have lost quite a bit this year on these predictions. It is kind of sad to think this is the last regular season match these two teams will play vs. each other. Let’s just be glad this match is played on a different surface than Louisville Slugger Field. Let’s see if Coach Harkes returns with his 4-4-2 formation or moves to a 4-3-3 like the 2nd half of NYRB II. I predict a 3-1 victory over Lou City and FC Cincinnati will clinch their first ever Dirty River Derby/River Cities Cup.
LouCity is a scary opponent. 17 games undefeated. They beat us 2-3 in our first meeting and we played to a 0-0 draw in our last meeting. Looking at their last 5 games though there does seem to be a little indication of weakness. Decisive wins against Toronto, Montreal and Wilmington, but ties against FC Cincinnati and Charleston. So they can defeat teams at the bottom of the table but against teams at the top of the table, even at home, they are only managing draws.
My original thought going into this week was that we’d pull off a close win against New York and then draw with LouCity. Losing to New York, especially giving up two late goals at the end of the game, is certainly going to create a strong need within the team to come back strong. Coach Harkes was clearly not pleased with last Wednesday’s result and I think the team is going to be feeling pressure to get a result.
We’ve picked up a lot of mid-season injuries but perhaps that will come to our advantage. In our last match up, we had a hard time getting the ball out of the back through the mid-field. Maybe a different combination or formation will work a bit better and it is certainly something that will require LCFC to adjust to.
I think we’re going to see a new record breaking crowd at Nippert and with the energy from the 12th man and the team “needing” this win, we’re going to break the LouCity streak. I think the game will end with a 2-1 victory. The question is what happens with the River City Cup with scores tied on aggregate……
Man that stunk on Wednesday night. I thought FC Cincinnati had 3 points in the bag after Jimmy Mac’s goal in the 2nd half. Another match a few days later against the top team in the Eastern Conference, the same team that came into Nippert and put 3 on em in the first half? I have my doubts. BUT I just can’t pick against our guys! The last time these two teams faced off it was a rather dull 0-0 on a baseball diamond. A full week’s rest for LCFC also doesn’t bode well for the orange and blue. I’m hoping for 3 points but I’ll settle for a 1-1 draw against the top team in the east.
Are FC Cincinnati one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference? The result of this match will go a long way toward answering that question. It’s ok if they are not by the way. They are still having a great season on and off the field and they are in pole position for a playoff spot regardless of tomorrow’s result. As much as I’d prefer a league with a single table where league points determine the champion, this is a playoff league and what happens then is what really matters.
After our away performance in Louisville, where the Orange and Blue stole a point on the road, I came away with the unfortunate impression that LCFC, a 2nd year club, are simply a little bit ahead of FCC on the field right now. Not much has happened since to change that impression. The schedule, squad health and statistics are not in FC Cincinnati’s favor for this match. This segment is called staff predictions (and the stakes are beer so I take this $!@% seriously), and not “What do I want to happen,” so I’m going to keep it real. I’m predicting a 2-0 loss in front of another epic crowd at Nippert. I’ll happily eat crow and celebrate our young club’s most famous victory so far if the Orange and Blue can pull off the upset.
Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for more news and analysis leading up to this weekend’s match.