On the same day FC Cincinnati announced that they had passed the 9,000 season tickets sold threshold, the club announced their 2017 Preseason Fixture list. Coach Harkes and his men will take the field in six preseason matches beginning on February 19th in Florida and wrapping up in Cincinnati for their final match on March 17th.
The Lionhearts will return to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for the first three matches of their preseason calendar. FCC will face USL Western Conference side OKC Energy FC on Sunday Feb. 19th at 4 p.m. followed by matches vs. MLS franchise Chicago Fire on Wednesday Feb. 22nd and a final tilt vs. new USL Eastern Conference side Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday Feb. 15th. All three matches will begin at 4 p.m.
“We had a successful trip last year in Florida at the IMG Suncoast Classic,” said Harkes in the FC Cincinnati press release. “Although our trip this year won’t be a tournament format, our mindset will be the same. We will be looking to compete and see how guys fit within a variety of combinations and positions against three very good clubs.”
Harkes’ men will then travel to California for a March 4th friendly against Sacramento Republic FC. The match with the fellow MLS hopeful will begin at 8:30 p.m. EST and is hoped to be streamed live. The club is also hoping to put together a special supporters event where attendees will be able to take advantage of a special opportunity. Details of that will be shared soon on FCCincinnati.com.
FC Cincinnati fans will be able to welcome home the squad for two friendlies vs. local college teams in the final weeks before the USL season. The UC Bearcats will host FCC on Saturday March 11th in Gettler Stadium, while the Xavier Musketeers will welcome the Orange & Blue to the Xavier Soccer Complex on Friday March 17th. Both matches are at 7 p.m. and supporters groups will soon publish special events prior to both those games.
Both the 2016 & 2017 preseason fixture lists featured 6 matches. UC replaces the friendly vs. Dayton last spring and the Cincinnati will fly out to Sacramento in place of their match vs. Indy Eleven. We should be able to know a bit more from FC Cincinnati this spring since we can measure performances of the two USL sides in Florida vs. Danish club HB Køge and KR Reykjavík (Iceland).
I am most excited for the match in Sacramento. The match will feature arguably the two most visible clubs in the USL for the first time. It will be interesting to see what FC Cincinnati has in mind for the supporters event. We will keep our readers update on what the “special opportunity” is for attendees. I am also hoping that FC Cincinnati will have a fan contingent out in Sacramento. The lowest cost flight out of CVG to Sacramento was approx. $450. It will take some dedication to travel to the match. Road trip anyone?
FC Cincinnati fans should also expect to hear news on the 2017 USL season soon. While on SiriusXM FC on Tuesday, league President Jake Edwards said that it was possible that the league will release its schedule in two weeks.
The schedule is now coming together along with the 2017 roster. Check out our updated offseason chart and our story on the newest additions to FC Cincinnati. On SportsTalk with Lance McAlister, Jeff Berding also said to expect more signings soon. Berding stated that FC Cincinnati could add “a handful” of players soon. Adding 5 players would bring the 2017 squad to 26 players, same as last seasons squad. FC Cincinnati will still need to add a couple back up keepers, so it will be interesting to see where and who Berding hopes to add as his “impact players”.
We must be careful in how we weigh these matches, but they sure look like quality tests for the squad. We are excited for the upcoming season and will be sure to add our thoughts on next weeks podcast. Make sure to stay tuned to cincinnatisoccertalk.com for more updates in the lead up to the 2017 season.
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