FC Cincinnati travels to Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, FL to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Saturday’s match will feature two of the highest profile clubs in the USL and will give one team their first ever USL Cup Playoff victory. Check out our 5 Things to Know below as well as the newest March to Matchday podcast.
Where: St. Petersburg, FL – Al Lang Stadium
When: Saturday, October 21st at 7:30 p.m. EST
Form: FC Cincinnati – 6th Seed (12W-10L-10D, 46 pts.), Tampa Bay Rowdies – 3rd Seed (14W-7L-11D, 53 pts.)
YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE THIS WEEK – Ref Assignments:
REF: MALIK BADAWI, AR1: Matthew Osterhouse, AR2: Francesco Terranova, 4TH: Jonathan Bilinski
March to Matchday Playoff Edition with the Unused Substitutes:
Join Host Bryan Weigel & Co-Host Boston Brazzell as they welcome Matthew Cox and Dan Endonino of the Unused Substitutes podcast! March to Matchday is the home for analysis and an in-depth breakdown of this weeks opponent. We hope you enjoy the show on your ride into work, on your way to a watch party or as you are headed down to Nippert Stadium. Enjoy.
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
The Gameplan: FC Cincinnati has bounced around formations several times in 2017, but the overall gameplan has stayed the same. Try to control the midfield and get the ball to Djiby up top. I think you could see one of two formations with either a defensive 5-3-2 or the more open 4-4-2 with the overall goal of getting Djiby chances to make Tampa Bay pay. If Coach Alan Koch does go with his 5-3-2 system, you will probably see more over the top balls for Djiby and his 2nd striker (most likely Danni Konig). This worked well in some of the US Open Cup matches and drawing Tampa Bay deep into our half could give those two space when the chance arises. The 2nd gameplan could be a 4-4-2 where Cincinnati will try to work the ball up the wings. If FCC does turn the ball over on the wing, they are less likely to get taken advantage of vs. turning the ball over centrally. Look for one of these two approached Saturday.
Experience: It has been 1,819 days since the Tampa Bay Rowdies have played a true playoff game for league play. While the club has played in the US Open Cup, which is a playoff style format, this format will be a new and exciting atmosphere for their fanbase & players. One and done matches are nothing new to FC Cincinnati. The squad has already gone through an arduous US Open Cup in 2017 and the USL Cup Playoff disappointment in 2016. This year’s FCC squad should have the experience to go down to St. Pete and get the result. I’d expect to see more veteran players in this environment such as Andrew Wiedeman, step up and make a difference for the Orange & Blue.
The Full 90: The Tampa Bay Rowdies roster is filled will seasoned pros such as Joe Cole, Marcel Schafer and Neill Collins, all who have played at the top levels internationally. These veterans coupled with a crop so youngsters will provide a tough 90 minutes for FC Cincinnati. Youngster Alex Morrell could start in place of the more technical Walter Restrepo. Morrell is a pacey winger that will offer Tampa the opportunity to play over the top or make space for a long run up the wing. The depth and different skillsets offered by the players on Tampa Bay will necessitate the XI on the pitch keep their focus for every second. The instant you switch off is the moment Tampa Bay takes the lead.
Break the Curse: I think we have almost beat this topic to death. But will FC Cincinnati break the postseason curse of Cincinnati? Yes, the Cyclones have won the Kelly Cup and both UC & XU have advanced in March, but will the regions third largest pro team turn fortunes around for the Queen City? They will have to do so on the road in one of the most hostile environments in the USL. Ralph’s Mob (TBR supporters) will most assuredly be organized and ready to cheer on their team in this long-awaited playoffs match.
Who is Gonna Be the Guy: This was the same topic last week. Who will be the guys to carry FC Cincinnati on their shoulders into the 2nd round? Last week in Toronto, it was a mix of Jimmy McLaughlin and Kenney Walker. Who will it be in Tampa Bay? Can Djiby make some magic like he did in Miami or vs. Columbus & Louisville? Will it be one of Cincinnati’s own, Austin Berry or Matt Bahner? Or will Mitch put in a performance that rivals the Chicago match? Individual brilliance makes the difference in the biggest of matches. Do we have the guy to take advantage of the moment and deliver the result?
2017 CST Awards
Check out our 2017 season awards. The staff has chosen their Player of the Year, Goal of the Year and Moment of the Year to go along with our Fan-Voted Player of the Year award. Check out the 2017 winners!
Supporter Groups Pregame Match Parties
We encourage all fans to get out to one of the special watch parties hosted by the pub partners of FC Cincinnati.
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 an 7:30 p.m. EST kickoff Saturday night. The match will be broadcast live on WSTR STAR 64. The match will also be broadcast at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners or by Streaming internet on USL’s Youtube station.
@bryanweigel for @CincySoccerTalk