Over 30,000 fans will pack Nippert Stadium on Tuesday to see if FC Cincinnati can continue their magic run in the US Open Cup as they host the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer in the semifinal. Here are 5 Things to Know going into Tuesday night’s match as well as the new March to Matchday Podcast.
Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
When: Tuesday, August 15th at 8:00 p.m. EST
Form: FC Cincinnati – 7th Place (8W-8L-7D, 31 pts.), New York Red Bulls – 4th Place MLS Eastern Conference ( 12W-9L-2D, 38 pts.)
March to Matchday Special with Guest Tzvi Machlin of Once A Metro – Podcast
Join host Bryan Weigel for the newest show in the CST 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 today!
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5 Things to Know
Counting Stars: FC Cincinnati will be without leading scorer Djiby Fall Tuesday, but it looks as if New York will be without their star midfielder, Daniel Royer who suffered a knee injury vs. NYCFC on August 6th. That injury may put a snag in New York’s offense as the Austrian had scored 6 goals in his last 4 matches prior to the injury. However, New York can still rely on Designated Players Bradley Wright-Phillips and US Men’s National Team midfielder Sasha Kljestan. Kljestan pulls the strings in the midfield and will most likely sit in a deeper role picking out runs to his pacey wingbacks Tyler Adams and 2017 Gold Cup Bext XI team member (Jamaica) Kemar Lawrence. FC Cincinnati must account for all these playmakers who can create chances from the smallest mistakes.
All The Right Moves: FC Cincinnati’s form in league play is not necessarily indicative of their potential to defeat MLS opponents and advancing in the US Open Cup. Coach Alan Koch will most likely start out in a conservative formation such as a 5-3-2 or perhaps even a 5-4-1 vs. New York as a way to give Cincinnati the best avenue to advance in the cup. Most MLS clubs are not used to this “bunkering” strategy and it could be effective as it was vs. Chicago & Crew SC. An important note to look toward during Tuesday night’s match is if FC Cincinnati can get late into the match up a goal or tied. This will allow Coach Koch to make moves to begin to dictate the play of the match, just as he did over the last 3 USOC matches. If Koch has the freedom to utilize his tactics & subs how he sees fit late in the match, FCC could end up in a great spot to win.
Personnel: The only certainty we have for FC Cincinnati is what we will be without strikers Djiby Fall (suspension) & Kyle Greig (ineligible due to loan). FC Cincinnati will still run out a quality lineup Tuesday but may have to contend with injuries to Austin Berry & Justin Hoyte. Hoyte was day-to-day before Saturday’s match, but he could have been held out to save his legs for Saturday. Berry may be another matter. Koch pulled the captain out early Saturday after he looked to pick up a knock. Sem De Wit, Hoyte or Nicholson could replace the captain who has already surpassed his minutes played from an injury plagued 2016 season. A defensive strategy could be all that more important as it could help the fitness of our players. Tuesday’s match will be the club’s 29th competitive match of 2017, 30 if you count the Valencia friendly. In 2016, the Orange & Blue only played 34 matches including the US Open Cup, CPFC Friendly & the playoff loss to Charleston. This match will also be the 2nd of 4 matches spread over 12 days for FC Cincinnati.
New Name Familiar Faces: A lot has been made about FC Cincinnati as the banner club for USL in the US Open Cup, but the another story could be the USL’s role in developing the next crop of successful professional players in the American game. No other club has successfully bridged the development gap than New York Red Bulls. FC Cincinnati faced the likes of Tyler Adams, Derek Etienne, Vincent Bezecourt, Aaron Long & Ryan Meara in 2016 who were a part of New York’s USL Championship squad. That group has represented the parent club 49 times in MLS play in 2017. Bezecourt was recently signed to an MLS contract from Red Bulls II while Meara has been Luis Robles backup and has started their previous USOC matches. Add in Sean Davis & Alex Muyl to that group (5 USL matches each in 2016), you have a deep squad who has played a part in defeating FC Cincinnati twice.
Stop and Stare: I may sound like a broken record after claiming this for both the Columbus & Chicago matches, but this is the biggest game on most likely the biggest stage FC Cincy may see for a while. If FC Cincinnati has to wait at least 2 more seasons before they join MLS, they will continue to have a tough road to make this deep of a run in the nations domestic cup. There are not many opportunities to play a competitive match with such importance outside of a USL final. There are some few opportunities to play for hardware and a win on Tuesday will give Cincinnati a chance to do so. As a supporter, we must appreciate this opportunity to have the match at home, and we must show up to give the Orange & Blue the emotional boost to become the first D2 team since 2008 (Charleston Battery) to make a US Open Cup final.
Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for more news and information leading up to the US Open Cup Semifinal 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. 7:00 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!
Fountain Square Viewing Party
Were you unable to get tickets to the match? Join fans of FC Cincinnati on Fountain Square Tuesday night to cheer on FC Cincinnati as they take on the New York Red Bulls. A bar will open at 5 p.m and the game will be shown on the big screen at 8 p.m. Enjoy a great time downtown if you can’t make it into the match.
TV: This contest is set for an 8:00 p.m. EST kickoff on Tuesday night. The match will be broadcast on WSTR Star 64 locally or by streaming internet on the USSoccer.com or on FCCincinnati.com. It can also be seen at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners.
RADIO: ESPN 1530 AM
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@bryanweigel for @CincySoccerTalk