FC Cincinnati (11-4-4) will face the Charleston Battery (10-4-5) this Saturday at Nippert Stadium, looking to avenge their season opening loss to the South Carolina club. Cincinnati Soccer Talk offers 7 things to know to get you ready for this weekend’s contest.
Derby Day Glory – Let’s not miss one last opportunity to savor the tremendous 2-0 thumping FC Cincinnati gave Louisville City at Nippert last Saturday. There is nothing quite so enjoyable in all of soccer fandom as a derby day win. Let’s have one more look at a fine picture from that match courtesy of Alex Vehr.
Battle for Third Place – Both teams have played 19 games and third place FC Cincinnati sits just 2 points ahead of fourth place Charleston in the standings. The Orange and Blue will believe they can secure a win and capture all 3 points as they host the match at Nippert. They must at least earn a draw to maintain their 3rd place standing. Both clubs will be desperate to keep pace with NY Red Bulls II and Louisville City who lead the Eastern Conference.
Eyes on California? Members of the FC Cincinnati front office are in San Jose this week for the USL Summer Meetings, which coincides with the 2016 MLS all star game. A USL release reports that “Scheduling the league’s meetings around the MLS All-Star game gives USL owners, executives and league officials the opportunity to meet and conduct business with leaders in the soccer industry from all over the world.” Read more about these meetings and their focus in this USL article. It’s unclear how much MLS expansion talk there will be at these meetings, but it will no doubt be a chance for the front office to boast to interested parties about the great success of FC Cincinnati’s season to date.
Road Trip – Harkes’ men have spent a fair bit of June and July in the Queen City and will head out on the road after the match with Charleston. In fact, there is a three and a half week gap between this match and the next contest played at Nippert stadium. That match is a Wednesday night game on August 24th against the Rochester Rhinos. If you needed another reason to get to Nippert Saturday and watch this match, there it is.
Fine Form – Similar to the last two teams FC Cincinnati has faced, the Charleston Battery are in good form coming into the match. The Battery are coming off their best win of the season, a 3-2 victory over second place NY Red Bulls II in New Jersey. They are unbeaten in 6 and have won 4 of their last 5 road games. Both teams will enter this match full of confidence and with ambition to get to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Injury Central – A number of injuries in central midfield shaped the lineup and formation against Louisville City and may play a factor in this contest. Kenney Walker, Ross Tomaselli and Paul Nicholson all missed last weekend’s action and eyes will be on the starting lineup Saturday to see who is fit enough to hold down the midfield for the Orange and Blue. Corben Bone and Eric Stevenson had outstanding performances last weekend and could feature again in those critical central positions.
Danger Men – Charleston’s Jamaican striker Romario Williams broke the hearts of FC Cincinnati fans with a stoppage time winner against the Orange and Blue on March 26th, the first regular season match FC Cincinnati played. He’s gone on to become their leading scorer with 8 goals, including a goal in their standout victory against the Baby Bulls. Also keep an eye on defender Taylor Mueller and midfielder Maikel Chang, both of whom have been selected as USL Player of the Week this season.
The supporters groups will be taking up residence at their favorite pre-match locations before kickoff. See the list below for more information.
Die Innenstadt: Mecklenburg Gardens – 302 E University Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Pride: The Brass Tap – 251 Calhoun St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Lowen de Sudens: Barleycorn’s – 1073 Industrial Rd, Cold Spring, KY 41076
Queen City Firm: Mio’s Pizzeria Pub – 2634 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Queen City Mafia: Adriatico’s Parking Lot Tailgate – 113 W McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Be sure to check out the Cincinnati Soccer Talk FootGolf Classic and sign your team up TODAY! Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for staff analysis leading up to this weekend’s match.