FC Cincinnati travels to the Sunshine State to face Miami FC (NASL) in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2017 US Soccer Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The winner will take home more than bragging rights as one of these two “Division 2” squads will earn a spot in the Cup semi-finals. Here are 5 Things to Know going into Wednesday night’s match as well as the new March to Matchday Podcast.
– FC Cincinnati – 6th Place (6W-6L-6D, 24 pts. USL) 10-6-6 Overall
– Miami FC – 1st Place (10W-2L-3D, 33 pts. NASL) – Spring Season Champions – 14-2-3 Overall
– FC Cincinnati – Defeated AFC Cleveland 1-0, Louisville City FC 1-0, Columbus Crew SC 1-0 & Chicago Fire 3-1 on penalties.
– Miami FC – Defeated South Florida Surf 3-2, Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0, Orlando City 3-1, & Atlanta United 3-2.
March to Matchday: Miami FC with Magic City Soccer – Podcast
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5 Things to Know
What’s on the Line: Easy, a trip to the US Open Cup Semi-final Round. The last non-Division I (MLS) side to advance to the “final four” was the 2011 Richmond Kickers. Either Miami FC or FC Cincinnati will set the new mark for non-DI sides advancing after defeating 2 MLS opponents each. The next round will most likely give the advancing club a nationally televised match with the chance of advancing to the final where they can claim a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League and a $250,000 cash prize.
Home Field Advantage Comes to Miami: Miami will have a decent home field advantage as they have averaged over 6,000 fans a game in 2017. However, FC Cincinnati will be bringing a large crowd of our own. As of Tuesday afternoon, over 200 FC Cincinnati fans have claimed a ticket in the visitor’s section. They will try to bring a bit of the Bailey to South Beach and cheer on the Orange & Blue. Supporters can pregame at New Wave Billiards – 1403 SW 107th Ave, 33174 beginning between 3:30-4 p.m.
Can Coach Koch Outfox Nesta: Can the first year coach of FC Cincinnati go toe-to-toe again with a quality manager and win? This time FC Cincinnati will face one of the best all-time defenders turned head coach in Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan, Lazio, Italy). Nesta’s club is known for their beautiful style and their ability to exploit teams. See our guest article on Miami FC from Nipun Chopra of Soc Takes. After a difficult start in 2016, Nesta nearly got his club in the 2016 NASL playoffs. Miami has since dominated NASL play and took home the Spring Season Championship.
Will Koch go at Miami and try to high press and play a more open style or will he employ a similar strategy of the past 2 rounds?. I would assume Koch will be conservative and try to keep the match 0-0 through the first 60′. After assuring that the team is still in, he can tailor his substitutions accordingly. Locking down the back line and putting 8 or 9 behind the ball may not be beautiful, but it has worked so far.
Squad Depth: Over the past couple months, FC Cincinnati has endured a grueling stretch of matches that has seen them average 1 match every 4 days. Injuries to Marco Dominguez, Djiby Fall and most recently Harrison Delbridge could all factor into today’s match. If Delbridge is unlikely to go, I think it is assumed that we will see two of either Halfhill, Hoyte, Bahner or Nicholson in the three-man center back triumvirate with Austin Berry. Delbridge was a rock vs. Chicago & Columbus and would be sorely missed.
The depth will also come into play in the midfield. Do we see a veteran in Eric Stevenson get time and who will Koch go with on the wing backs. I’d expect if Hoyte is in a CB role, you will see Bahner on the right. Polak or Josu could go on the left wing, but I’d expect the pacey Spaniard after Polak was given the go on Sunday. We have been blessed with great performances up-and-down the roster in the Cup and Wednesday’s squad will have to be relentless once again.
The Champions: Miami FC spanked the San Francisco Deltas (2nd place in NASL) 7-0 on Saturday on their way to clinch the 2017 NASL Spring Season Championship. They are without a doubt one of the best, if not the best team in either the USL or NASL (D2). Nesta’s side averages 2 goals per match in league play along with conceding less than a goal (0.7) per match. Miami can run out a list of big names due to the massive spending of owner Riccardo Silva. Former NYCFC man Kwadou Poku has been a key reason for the club’s success including a last second winner vs. Atlanta United. Forwards Stéfano Pinho and Vincenzo Rennella have 8 goals in league play with Pinho adding an additional 4 in cup matches.
Their high-flying offense is matched by their stout backline led by CB’s Mason Trafford & Rhett Bernstein. These two have been a part of a back four that allowed only 10 goals in league play. FC Cincinnati will have to finish their chances if they are to win. We haven’t even mentioned the midfielders Michael Lahoud and Ryan Ritchie who can put in precision passes to a running Poku, Rennella or Pinho. It is going to be tough to stay strong against this side, but we did say that for Chicago & Columbus as well.
Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for more news and information leading up to the Miami FC match!
Post Match CST Live Show
Make sure to tune in following Wednesday night’s match as host Nick Seuberling & co-host Ben Knapp will host a live recap & call in show. Phone lines will be open for you to call and discuss the match. Make sure to reach out to the guys at 513-399-KICK (5425) after the game. You can watch live at Facebook.com/CincinnatiSoccerTalk or at YouTube.com/CincinnatiSoccerTalk.
SG Viewing Parties
The supporters groups will be taking up residence at their favorite away match viewing locations. See the list below for more information.
Die Innenstadt: Rhinehaus OTR – 19 E 12th St, Cincinnati 45202
The Pride: Ladder 19 – 2701 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Queen City Firm: J Taps Sports Bar & Grill – 6441 Glenway Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45211
The Bailey Bastards: Bucketheads – 6507 Harrison Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45247
TV: This contest is set for a 7:30 p.m. EST kickoff on Wednesday night. The match will be broadcast LIVE on Spectrum Sports Channel 311/1311 HD across Ohio. For customers in East Columbus as well as Northern Kentucky, the game will air on Channel 510/511 HD. It can also be seen at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners. Potentially available, but not confirmed on DirectTV Channel 691.
STREAMING INTERNET: at FCCincinnati.com & USSoccer.com.
Highlights of FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire from Rd. of 16