After leaving it late on Labor Day, FC Cincinnati hits the road and heads to North Carolina again this time to take on the Wilmington Hammerheads. Here’s how we think things will go down today for the Orange and Blue.
Wilmington is fighting neck and neck with another upcoming opponent of FCC in Orlando City B for the final playoff spot in the East. They beat OCB 3-0 on Wednesday but have had questionable performances drawing Montreal and getting crushed by Pittsburgh. With a lone win in 11 games I think this sets up well for FC Cincy. Hopefully Sean Okoli can stay hot and avoid another yellow card as he fights for the Golden Ball. The Orange & Blue Oracle predicts a 3-1 win for Cincy!
Until last Wednesday, Wilmington’s last win was July 9th. They’ve been bleeding goals with 8 of those 10 games giving up 2 or more goals. At the same time they’ve only averaged 1 goal per game. Last Wednesday however, they snapped that streak with a commanding 3-0 win over Orlando. There is no doubt that Wilmington have set their sights on that last playoff spot and Orlando is in their way. This Sunday, FCC take on Wilmington and Orlando will battle with Toronto. The results of these 2 games will likely determine who gets the last playoff spot. It seems like Wilmington wants it a bit more right now as Orlando has lost 5 of their last 6 contests. I think, though, that the Wilmington win is more of a result of the Orlando loss as that team has definitely started a strong downward spiral. But a win always gets the energy up and Wilmington will be tasting that playoff spot…..
However, the Orange and Blue just got a taste of Victory last Monday as well. They’ve been struggling of late with back to back losses for the first time ever. They are going to be anxious to get back to winning ways, end the season strong, and secure a home playoff game. Their last loss was a culmination of a lot of bad luck (an own goal and a PK in the same game). Defeating St. Louis, though it came late, should have given the boys a shot of confidence to take on the road. They scored two goals in their last two games and I think the offense is feeling Okoli’s race to get the Golden Boot. Some are worried that Okoli might slow down since another yellow card will suspend him for another game, but I would imagine that Pittsburgh is a game they wouldn’t mind losing him for. I predict the defense shores things up and we see a 2-0 victory for the soccer ball kicking good guys.
FC Cincinnati will be facing one of the worst defenses in the league at Wilmington. The only positive thing I can say for the Hammerheads is that they like to share the scoring across several players. Look for FC Cincinnati to try and regain some of the dropped points from the month of August and to go off on the attack. I predict a 2-0 away win for FC Cincinnati.
FCC is looking to push forward and gain some distance from the other playoff squad hoping for a home postseason match. In contrast, the Hammerheads are fighting to take the final playoff spot from Orlando City B. The stakes are high for both teams at least regarding their personal expectations, but The Cincinnati Soccer Ball Kicking Good Guys will be the side to come out on top. I foresee Mitch Hildebrandt and the defense in front of him putting up a clean sheet with the final score at 2-0.
FC Cincinnati needs wins to secure a playoff game at Nippert. Wilmington needs wins to earn a playoff spot. Like most games in the USL expect a close run physical contest. It’s been 6 games since FCC kept a clean sheet. I don’t think they’ll get one on Sunday. I do think they’ll win though. Look for the Orange and Blue to get a 2-1 victory on the road before heading to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
As I mentioned on this week’s podcast this MAY be the last time these two teams ever face off against one another. As much as I want FC Cincinnati to keep a clean sheet, they haven’t done so in quite a while. Plus Wilmington’s playoff hopes are still alive so you know they’re desperate and will lend themselves towards attacking more. I see this match being a close contest but I’m predicting a 2-1 win for FC Cincinnati.
TWITTER: Make sure to follow our @CincySoccerLive Twitter account for live twitter updates during the match.