On the heels of a big away win at Louisville, FC Cincinnati welcomes one of the hottest teams in the USL to Nippert Stadium. The Harrisburg City Islanders are riding high the last several weeks and will look to steal 3 points from the Orange & Blue. Here are 5 Things to Know going into Saturday night’s match.
Where: Cincinnati, OH – Nippert Stadium
When: Saturday, July 22nd at 7:00 p.m. EST (Was originally scheduled for July 26th)
Form: FC Cincinnati – 6th Place* (7W-6L-6D, 27 pts.), Harrisburg City Islanders – 8th Place* ( 6W-8L-5D, 23 pts.) [*at time of post Thursday]
YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE THIS WEEK – Ref Assignments:
REF: JORGE RAMIREZ, AR1: William Gaither III, AR2: Nait Hegerty, 4TH: Noah Matos, VAR: Jonathan Weiner
March to Matchday #20: Harrisburg City Islanders – Podcast
Join host Bryan Weigel for the newest show in the CST lineup. March to Matchday will provide an in-depth preview of Harrisburg 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 today!
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
Return of VAR: FC Cincinnati will experience Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for the 2nd time this regular season Saturday night as it makes its way to Nippert Stadium. The Orange & Blue experienced VAR earlier this season in Tampa and during their preseason matches at IMG Academy. To execute VAR, an additional referee will be positioned in a booth and that referee will use video from camera angles around the stadium to advise the head referee of clear game-changing situations: goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and cases of mistaken identity.
City Islanders Rounding into Form: After a stretch of 10 matches over 2 months without a win, Harrisburg has won 4 of their last 6 including wins over Louisville, NYRB2, and a draw Wednesday night vs. the hottest team in the East in Charlotte. The improvement in form has coincided with a move to the 4-3-3 formation instead of the 4-2-3-1 employed earlier in the season. During this stretch of 6 matches, they’ve had 4 shutouts while netting 9 times. Their 19-year-old Ghanian striker Ropapa Mensah has finally returned to the field after some early injury problems and has netted in back to back matches. FC Cincinnati’s CB’s will have to be careful and keep their eye on the opportunistic player.
Tired Legs: Both teams have had schedule congestion as of late but for the first time in a while, FC Cincinnati might be considered the fresher team leading into a match. Saturday’s match will be Harrisburg’s 5th in 15 days. Coach Bill Becher tried to rotate his squad Wednesday night after dealing with injuries throughout the season but was forced to make two early subs for Abass Mohammed and Mo Dabo before the end of the first half. Belcher mentioned his squad was tired in the second half and unfortunately that led to them giving up a goal. With Saturday’s high temperature projected into the mid to low 90’s, both coaches will have to be careful to monitor the fitness of both their squads, especially with the residual heat from the field turf. Look for FC Cincinnati to exploit their fitness advantage especially at the end of the match to get 3 points.
New Faces: The opening of the transfer window in July saw a couple faces leave FCC, but also the arrival of 3 new players as well. Could Saturday be the day where Coach Alan Koch starts to rotate these players into the squad? We know forward Kyle Greig has been with the club since last week would probably be the likeliest to play among the new arrivals. German midfielder Kevin Schindler made his debut at training Monday and I could see him having an outside shot at making his debut. A Pat Brennan article from the Enquirer quoted Coach Koch at practice saying “Being on turf is obviously new for Kevin, being in the heat is also a bit different, but he looked good for a first training session but it takes time for players to come into new environments and get comfortable, understand the philosophy and get to know your teammates names and all of that.” While both players were in town to make the trip to Louisville this past Saturday, center back Sem de Wit didn’t get into town until late Wednesday night and looks more likely to make his debut in the upcoming Monday night friendly against Valencia.
Ladies Night: Saturday is “Ladies Night” for the Orange & Blue. Activities will start at 5:30 p.m. on the Sheakley Lawn, sandwiched between Nippert Stadium and the UC Baseball Complex. The first 100 ladies in attendance will receive a “swag bag” provided by Pure Romance. There will also be other retailers and a special ladies oriented FC Cincinnati merchandise booth present. The evening is sponsored by the Patty Brisben Foundation, a Cincinnati-based non-profit who work to enhance women’s sexual health and well-being through research and education.
Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for more news and information including our Growler Cup Predictions leading up to the Harrisburg 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 Saturday night. Broadcasting partner Sinclair Broadcasting Group will now air all FC Cincinnati home & away matches. The match will be live on Star64 (WSTR). It will also be broadcast at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners or by Streaming internet on USL’s Youtube station. 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.
RADIO: Simulcast of the TV stream on ESPN 1530AM