FC Cincinnati looks to bounce back after dropping 2 games in a row for the first time this season in a 3-2 away defeat to the Charlotte Independence. The boys in Orange & Blue will try to get things back on track Monday afternoon when they take on Saint Louis FC of the West Conference. Saint Louis FC sits in 13th place in the West, 4 points out of the last playoff spot. We each reveal how we feel things will go down in our Staff Predictions.
Battered and Bloodied after back to back defeats, FCC’s medicine comes in the form on slumping Western Conference foe. I could go into formations or trends but I think the key to the game is something that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet and that is who has more fire in their belly. Who is going to go out there and lead their team to victory and firmly cast themselves as a team to beat for the playoffs. I think FCC has lacked that one guy who is willing to say “follow me” but now is the time for that man to stand up. Who will it be? I think that man could be Kenney Walker. Our midfield has been lacking since his injury and he needs to reestablish himself as a leader to help connect the back 4 to the front line to help build possession and better scoring chances. STL provides a great chance to get and and looking into my crystal ball, the Orange & Blue Oracle says 3-0 Win as FC Cincy begins its march to the title.
Both Cincinnati and St. Louis have been struggling in their current form. St. Louis is in 13th place in the west and is winless in their last 6 games (4 ties and 2 losses). They’ve only scored 6 goals (an average of one per game) in that time period. Cincinnati is slightly better but has dropped from 3rd place to 5th place and generated 1 win, 3 ties and 2 losses in their last 6 games. They only scored 7 goals in that time period.
Where I see the difference between these teams is their history and what’s happening off the field. St. Louis didn’t have a strong early season so as their form dipped at the end, they fell to the bottom of the table. They let their coach go and obviously the club is unstable and in a rebuilding phase. FCC, on the other hand, started the season in great form and held 3rd place for most of the season. Their fan base is the strongest in the league. As both of these teams try to turn their struggling form around for the end of the season, Cincinnati certainly has a stronger foundation to lean on.
When Cincinnati played New York, the offense seemed to struggle and the defense held strong except for some referee mistakes that awarded New York 2 PKs. When Cincinnati came out against Charlotte the offense was firing on all cylinders and netted 2, Unfortunately, the defense struggled and gave up 3 goals, the first time since April 16. Back at home, withtheir crowd behind them, it’s time for Cincinnati to turn things around and get back into form to close out the season. I predict this game will end 2-1 with Cincinnati beginning an end of season winning streak.
FC Cincinnati was stymied by a golazo, an own goal and a soft penalty. Normally you may have one of these happen every couple games, but it is rare to see all three at once. I think the defense will come to play on Monday and you could see Paul Nicholson return to the central defensive midfielder role after his positive play on Wednesday. FCC really needs these three and you could just see the high intensity translate well from last Wednesday. I look for Ugo to have some fun and he will score a brace on Monday. With one more from Wiedeman, I think a 3-1 result is in the bag for FC Cincy!
Saint Louis has had a tough run of form since the last time they met FC Cincinnati. They were once in the middle of the playoff pack and now will be lucky to even push for the postseason. Their leading goal scorer, Irvin Herrera, has slowed down considerably. He has only scored twice since the FCC match, but still maintains a very respectable 11 goals on the season. FC Cincinnati is in their relative form of a downswing. If they hope to solidify a home playoff match the recovery should start with this match and they should be more than capable against STL. 2-1 to the Cincinnati Soccer Ball Kicking Good Guys
Both of these teams are on a skid right now that they will badly want to end on Monday afternoon. FC Cincinnati’s recent run has not been fun to watch and has not been what this team’s fans have been accustomed to. There is a silver lining though. The teams they have been struggling against have been quality opposition, all playoff bound, and the games have been relatively close contests. The Orange and Blue need this game and I think they will get the win at Nippert. It won’t be easy though. I’m going to stick with my favorite scoreline of the year and predict a 2-1 FC Cincinnati victory at Nippert.
I’ll keep this real simple. Just $&!@?$& win. 2-1 FCC.
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.