Well the 2nd season is upon us. The first postseason match in FC Cincinnati history! PLAYOFFS? WE’RE TALKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS? That’s right. It’s gameday folks! Here’s how we think it goes down between FC Cincinnati and the Charleston Battery.
“Cincinnati Here We Go!” It’s playoff time for the Orange & Blue as they face the team that started it all. Neither team is the same since they drew 1-1 over the summer. Charleston’s version of Corben Bone, Justin Portillo, is out for the year with appendicitis. FC Cincinnati will be without their goal scorer from that match in Omar Cummings.
In both matches FC Cincinnati controlled the run of play but Charleston did a good job clogging up the midfield. In these instance the CB’s resort to long balls that time after time prove to be ineffective. Luckily Kenney Walker, who missed their last matchup, will be back and hopefully he can partner with Bone to control the game.
FCC needs to watch out in the final 20 minutes as Charleston can bring on speed to change the match. 19 year old Jeremy Ebobisse was loaned to Charleston a month ago and has been a difference maker. After training with the US U-20’s and Fulham earlier this year. Ebobisse signed with MLS for the upcoming season and promises to be an early pick in the upcoming MLS Superdraft.
I think Coach John Harkes has the swagger and confidence in his team to end the playoff curse in Cincinnati. The Battery have scored in 12 straight matches and think it will be tough to keep them off the board for a full 90. I predict a 2-1 win for the Orange & Blue. Sean Okoli will score the first playoff goal in Nippert history and we can then wait to see if we’ll have a 4th edition of the Dirty River Derby.
Well there have been 5 playoff games so far and 3 upsets. I think FCC though has kept focus and Coach Harkes is making sure his starting XI are match fit and riding a wave of momentum into this first game. For the last game, which had no value, he still brought out most of his starters. The defense is riding a 4 game shut out streak. At home this season, Nippert has been a fortress. Only 2 losses the entire year. Charleston is a tough team though and they’ve shown that time and again. Known for having a tough defense but mostly known for that at home. They’re record of late is mixed with 3 loses and 2 wins in their last 5 games. You can’t say they are on any kind of streak or anything going into this game, but they have been a thorn in our side this year. This is the playoffs though…. I expect teams to be a bit more conservative. No one wants to give up an early goal. With Charleston no longer pressing for a position in the playoffs, I’m guessing they will settle down a bit as well. Might make for a bit of a slow game. I predict a lot of back and forth in the middle ending in a scoreless draw after extra time. Fortunately, the Orange and Blue will come out on top and we’ll win this in penalty kicks in front of the Bailey with the SGs going nuts.
Charleston hasn’t been shutout in their last 12 matches, but was only able to win 4 of those. It will be interesting to see what approach they take. With their big back line, the Battery may be willing to sit back deep and try and break forward Romario Williams on the counter. He was dangerous in the last match vs. FC Cincinnati, but our back 4 have become more organized and FCC was without Kenney Walker. I am looking for the all popular 2-1 result for FC Cincinnati. I think there will be an early goal to get the crowd into the match and it will be a fun ride.
It’s the match we’ve all been waiting for, as FC Cincinnati squares off against Charleston. FC Cincinnati’s defense has been trending up as of late and that bodes well for them moving forward. Recently they have been largely successful against competition that has failed to make the playoff so we will see if this form continues against a strong playoff side in Charleston. I see this match being tightly defended into a 1-1 draw in regulation and ending as a 2-1 FC Cincinnati victory in extra time.
FC Cincinnati’s defense has been playing great recently and has been racking up the clean sheets. Getting another one on Sunday is going to be tough though. No opponent has been able to keep the Battery goalless in their last 12 contests. I do predict that Charleston will score, but I also predict that the Orange & Blue will break form and score a bunch of goals at Nippert for the first time this season. FC Cincinnati 3 – Charleston 1 in front of another USL record crowd. This will set up an epic showdown with LCFC south of the border, who I do think will get past Richmond Sunday night.
It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be a win. FC Cincinnati is absolutely going to pack the house for this playoff game against Charleston. It’s already been confirmed as a USL Playoff Attendance record. Nippert is going to absolutely rock on Sunday afternoon. I think both teams are going to play defensive early on so you won’t see much offense. I think in the 2nd half though Sean Okoli is going to break through for the Orange and Blue and get the winning goal. It will finish 1-0 with a late onslaught from Charleston at the end. Either way, too little too late and FC Cincinnati move on to the 2nd round of the USL playoffs!
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