The match that all FC Cincinnati supporters have been waiting for is finally upon us. Can the boys in Orange & Blue pass another MLS audition test as they face the Black & Gold of Columbus? Here are 5 Things to Know going into Wednesday night’s match as well as the new March to Matchday Podcast SPECIAL with Patrick Murphy of Massive Report (SB Nation).
Where: Cincinnati, OH – Nippert Stadium
When: Wednesday, June 14th at 7:00 p.m. EST
Form: FC Cincinnati – USL (4W-5L-4D, 16 pts.) , Columbus Crew SC – MLS ( 7W-8L-1D, 22 pts.)
March to Matchday SPECIAL: Columbus Crew SC – Podcast
Join host Bryan Weigel and guests Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) of Massive Report and Yosief Tzeghai for the newest addition to Cincinnati Soccer Talk lineup. March to Matchday will provide an in-depth preview of the upcoming opponent as well as how FC Cincinnati can best defeat them. This show will hopefully fit in your drive time to work, to the pub on game day or lead you right up to game time. We hope you enjoy March to Matchday!
Don’t forget you can now download and subscribe to Cincinnati Soccer Talk on iTunes today! The podcast can also be found on Stitcher Smart Radio now. We’re also available in the Google Play Store.
5 Things to Know
MLS Audition: You would have to believe that the eyes in the league offices of MLS will be on Nippert Stadium Wednesday night. Without a doubt, the most hyped US Open Cup match in recent memory, this fixture will have the attention of most soccer die-hards in the country. FC Cincinnati has preached how great of a rivalry FCC/Crew SC could be and this is the time to show it. Monday morning FCC announced they had passed the 20,000 tickets sold threshold for the midweek fixture. Any game on a Wednesday night that can pass 15,000 fans is a success, so this looks to be a huge turnout. The on-field product still remains a question, but the passion surrounding the matchup is approaching fever pitch. Will a great turnout by both clubs supporters help FC Cincinnati’s chances to make MLS? I’d put money that it would.
Supporters Battle: If anything can be gleaned from social media posts of the past week, both fan bases are fired up for this one. (YES Columbus fans too.) This match will be the first time the Bailey and the Nordecke meet as foes in cheering on their squads. The Nordecke has evolved over 20+ seasons while the Bailey is halfway into their 2nd year. This match will provide our supporters with a good barometer on where they stand as a supporters section. No doubt, the Nordecke will be hyped due to their largest NorOnTour outside an MLS Cup trip, so the SG leaders of FCC will have their work cut out for them.
Berhalter’s Squad: Crew SC Technical Director & Head Coach has some big decisions to make for this match. Does he run out a full-strength squad and try to punish the in-state foe or does he opt to use predominately bench players with a big match in Atlanta coming up on the weekend? In 2016, Crew SC rolled out a good amount of backups, but also started Justin Meram, Tony Tchani, Michael Parkhurst and Waylon Francis. Berhalter would go on to replace the first three with other starters Ethan Finley, Wil Trapp and Corey Ashe in that match. My guess is that we will see much of the same as Crew SC may look to get some starters a run out since they have been off since June 3rd.
Koch’s Men: Let’s face it, Saturday’s 1-1 draw vs. Charlotte was upsetting considering FCC employed a very strong starting XI. In my opinion, Wednesday’s match should be treated as “nothing to lose”, so do we go out and use a similar starting XI or do we utilize several veterans like Omar Cummings, Daryl Fordyce and Andrew Wiedeman? A third option could be a mix pf the two and try to save a bit for Charleston on the weekend. I hope that Djiby Fall receives the nod and maybe has a partner like Fordyce or Konig up top. If there is indeed nothing to lose, why not even throw out a new formation other than the anemic 4-3-3 we have been using? At the end of the day, goals will be the most important aspect of the match. My guess is that FCC will need at least 2 or even 3 to dispatch Columbus. Where will those goals come from? If he indeed gets the start, Djiby will have to be lights out if we have any hope of winning.
Reality & Consequences: In 2016, lower division sides won only 3 of 19 matches vs. MLS opponents. 2 of those wins came from the now defunct Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Zero wins came from USL sides. In 2015, it was 2 wins out of 18 matches with Charlotte & the NY Cosmos winning. So, over the past 2 seasons, lower division sides have a 13.5% chance of winning a match vs. an MLS opponent. That doesn’t necessarily make me feel warm and toasty for this match. But, that is the reality of the situation FC Cincinnati is in. We can either embrace it and come out with a vengeance or we can play scared, try not to mess up and get throttled 4-0 like Crew SC did to Tampa Bay last season. The only consequence I see out there is embarrassing ourselves by not fielding a quality enough side to give us a chance. If we fight hard and battle to a good showing, it will make our supporters feel better, but will also show Crew SC we aren’t too far behind. The reality is, let’s go out a win!
Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for more news and information leading up to the Columbus Crew SC match!
Supporter Groups Pregame Match Parties
We encourage all fans to get down to Clifton early and enjoy themselves at the areas many restaurants and pubs. Many Supporter Groups hang out in the “Short Vine” area where you can join in the march to Nippert Stadium. Some of these locations can be rowdier than others, but families and opposing fans are encouraged to come out and join the various groups. The Supporters March Should begin at approx. 6 p.m.
Die Innenstadt: Mecklenburg Gardens – 302 E University Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Pride: Ladder 19 – 2701 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Queen City Firm: Mio’s Pizzeria Pub – 2634 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Queen City Mafia: Short Vine Bearcat Statue Lot – 2700 Block of Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Legion: Taste of Belgium Clifton – 2845 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Bailey Bastards: Hang Over Easy – 3 W Charlton St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
For more information and how to join the supporters march, check out our matchday guide!
TV: This contest is set for a 7 p.m. EST kickoff on Wednesday night will be shown live on Spectrum Sports. The match will also be broadcast at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners or by Streaming internet on USSoccer.com. Tom Gelehrter will return as the play-by-play announcer for the team’s home matches along with Kevin McCloskey providing color analysis and Lindsay Patterson reporting from the sideline.