It is time for FC Cincinnati to regroup and take down the Charlotte Independence Wednesday night in Ramblewood Stadium. The race for the top 4 in the USL Eastern Conference is getting tight and FC Cincinnati will hope to return to Nippert Stadium with 3 points in hand. Check out the 7 things we think you should know before Wednesday’s match.
7 Things to Know (Revised, Sorry Dallas Jaye)
Queen City Cup Challenge – Wednesday night’s match concludes the Inaugural Queen City Cup Challenge between FC Cincinnati and the Charlotte Independence. The first match saw 14,658 fans pack Nippert in a 2-1 victory for FC Cincinnati. That match was best known for Sean Okoli’s bicycle kick in the 5th minute. Scoring of the cup is 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. In the event of a tie at the conclusion of the series, aggregate scoring will come into play with the team having scored the most goals winning the series. If both teams are tied on points and goals scored, the team with the most road goals will claim the Cup.
Rescheduled – The original date for this match was to be played Saturday May 21st. Field conditions at Ramblewood Stadium (pictured left) after other events, field maintenance and storms were deemed unplayable. USL, FC Cincinnati and the Charlotte Independence reassigned the match to this Wednesday further congesting the FC Cincinnati schedule in late August and early September. The Orange & Blue are in the middle of a span where they will play 4 matches in 12 days.
Charlotte Closing In – The Independence experienced a hot end of July and a great start to August to vault them up the USL Eastern Conference Standings. After dropping games to Wilmington and RBNY II, Charlotte has gone on to win 4 of 7 matches and collected 2 draws on the way. The Independence experienced their first loss in over a month in Charleston on controversial circumstances. Charlotte sits at 7th place, but could climb higher as they have 2 games in hand on 6th place Rochester.
Changing Lineup – Coach Harkes has been experimenting with his lineup over the past several matches. After keeping the Starting XI intact for the majority of the first two months of the season, Harkes has run out different formations (4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, 3-5-2) due to player suspensions and injuries. With forward Omar Cummings potentially still on the mend and the short break between Sunday and Wednesday, you may see several names brought on early. I hope to see Spaniard, Alvaro Ripoll potentially spell Wiedeman or Okoli at some point on Wednesday. Derek Luke should start in the RB position for the suspended Pat McMahon and you could also see Paul Nicholson make an appearance in the midfield. After tinkering with the lineup, I really hope we can go back to our overlapping fullbacks with LB Tyler Polak playing some of his best soccer of the year.
Jaye Says Nay Back to Mitch Says No – Goalkeeper coach Jamie Starr had some great things to say about his back up keeper on Sunday night. With the red card to Mitch Hildebrandt after an 8th minute foul, Dallas Jaye was called into service for the first time in USL play. Jaye did concede two perfectly placed PK’s that most pros would have difficulties with, but those can hardly be considered errors on the keepers part. Jaye organized the back four well and was credited with 4 saves on the evening. On Tuesday night, the USL rescinded Mitch Hildebrandt’s red card and he is now eligible to play Wednesday. All signs point to Mitch between the sticks, so it looks like we will have to wait for some “Jaye Says Nay”.
— Jamie Starr (@jamie_starr_now) August 29, 2016
Find the Scoring Boots – FC Cincinnati’s offensive production has fallen off a bit since the beginning of July. In 10 matches in July & August FC Cincinnati logged 12 goals. That is the same number of goals that were scored in 8 matches in May and June. This can be attributed to a harder schedule in the later months, but that scoring will need to increase if they plan on making a run vs. those very same teams in July and August. Cincinnati is 10 goals behind Louisville City on the season and 15 behind NYRB II.
Defense Remains Strong – The FC Cincinnati defense has remained strong while playing USL Eastern Conference foes recently. FCC has conceded more than 1 goal only 4 times on the year and still average less than a goal a match. I look for that number to stay close to that mark as FCC will encounter teams with mostly close to negative goal differentials. Charlotte stands as their best remaining foe at a +11 differential. I wouldn’t count on a shut out on Wednesday, but look for the FCC back four to put up good number the remainder of the season.
TWITTER: Make sure to follow our @CincySoccerLive Twitter account for live twitter updates during the match.