FC Cincinnati looks to regroup after a home draw to Rochester and a loss away at New York Red Bulls II. The Orange & Blue received a boost Tuesday evening, with word from the USL that starting Keeper Mitch Hildebrandt will have his red card rescinded and be eligible for Wednesday’s tilt. FCC look to snatch all three point away and get some space between them and the lower playoff seeded teams. We each reveal how we feel things will go down in our Staff Predictions.
Let’s be honest, FC Cincinnati has not looked good since the Louisville win and have only won once (FC Montreal- Woo Hoo!) in their last 5 matches. Their offense along with the midfield has gone stagnant and the team has resorted to playing long balls instead of building their attack successfully out of the back. They’ve had some tough match-ups, injuries, a lot of away matches, and bad calls (I’m looking at you VAR). What scares me even more is that I think the league is starting to figure them out.
Game in and game out our only reliable scoring threat has been to get balls into the box for Okoli. Each team now doubles and triple teams him leading the club to take poor shots from bad angles and long distance. Unfortunately with Cummings supposedly out (Hey FCC throw us a bone here!) Okoli may be all we have. Until Harkes can prove that the team can score through other than set pieces then they may be in trouble. I think FCC has the overall skill to stay in the match but it will be tough against a team hungry for a top-4 spot and home game in the playoffs. The Orange & Blue Oracle says 1-1 Draw before things look to ease up towards the end of the season.
What a week it’s been! A huge loss to New York dripping in controversy. Hildebradt red carded and out for probably the most important game left in our schedule. And then the huge surprise… USL admits that the VAR got it wrong. So what does this have to do with the game in Charlotte?
Well, we’ve lost 5 games this season. After every one of the previous 4, we bounced back with a win. If losing Mitch had an opportunity to dampen the evening, having him back will lift the team spirits and give them confidence (though honestly, Dallas Jaye did a heck of a job). So we go into this game mad, but vindicated, and looking for a quick win to set the bar straight.
We know Charlotte is a good team. They are only 4 points behind us but they carry a better goal differential. We know they can score and let’s be honest, shut outs are not something we see a lot of. In our last 5 games, we had 3, 1-1 ties. The back line has been rotating a bit and struggling with yellow card accumulations and injuries. I expect we’ll see Charlotte take advantage of that.
I think, though, that our offense is going to be a lot more aggressive. They can’t be happy with the 3 shots against NY and either would Coach Harkes. I am expecting them to press more in this game and aggressively seek the back of the net.
I predict we’ll keep the streak alive and win again after that loss last weekend. We won’t get the elusive shut out, but we’ll show Charlotte who is the real Queen City. 2-1 for the good guys and we bring home the cup.
FC Cincinnati take on an Independence squad that also just had their unbeaten streak snapped. The lethal attack of midfielder Enzo Martinez and forward Brian Brown are finding their stride with Brown finding the back of the net 3 times and Martinez twice over their last 4 matches. Brown could have easily had two more on Saturday if not for a no-call on a goal and a deflection just wide. Hopefully Okoli returns with his same passion from in New York and FC Cincinnati could have a chance at picking up 3 point on the road. I am picking FC Cincinnati with a 2-1 road win to take home the Queen City Cup.
This match marks the day FCC begins to build up steam into the playoff race. In light of the recent news about Mitch’s suspension being revoked, I think the Cincy keeper will hold down the pipes to keep a shutout behind a backline ready to bounce back after a tough match against the Baby Bulls. Charlotte has a single win against a playoff side since June 18th and while they are poised to make the playoffs themselves, I don’t think they will be able to get past Cincinnati. I’m calling a 2-0 victory for the Cincinnati Soccer Ball Kicking Good Guys.
So there despite getting absolutely jobbed by the crap-tastic USL officials on Sunday, the fact that Mitch Hildebrandt’s red card was rescinded was a minor miracle. I think getting him back for the match is a massive psychological boost. When’s the last time this team kept a clean sheet? This is why I’m going for a 1-0 win. They’re due! Bring home the cup FC Cincinnati!
It’s been a tough stretch of games for the Harkes’ men, concluding in a controversial loss against Red Bulls II Sunday. They’ve only won 1 game in their last 5 outings, a trend which they need to reverse. Charlotte has been up and down this year but, prior to losing to the Charleston Battery Saturday, they were undefeated in 6. They are also trying to secure their own trip to the playoffs, so they’ll be highly motivated to get a result on Wednesday.
The Orange and Blue will have fire in their bellies after Sunday’s injustice and will be buoyed by news that Mitch Hildebrandt’s red card has been rescinded. I predict that is just enough to get them a hard fought 2-1 victory at Ramblewood before returning home on Labor Day.
TV: The match will be broadcast on CW Cincinnati at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners or or by Streaming internet on USL’s Youtube station.
RADIO: Join the Voice of FC Cincinnati Tom Gelehrter on 1530AM ESPN Radio
TWITTER: Make sure to follow our @CincySoccerLive Twitter account for live twitter updates during the match.
@bryanjweigel for @cincysoccertalk