FC Cincinnati kicks off their 2017 preseason campaign with a match vs. Major League Soccer club, New England Revolution on Tuesday afternoon. The match will be the first of three down at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. before the club returns back to the Queen City in mid-February. Check out our first 5 Things to Know of 2018 in the lead-up to FC Cincinnati’s third season in the USL.
Where: Bradenton, FL. – IMG Academy
When: Tuesday, February 6th at 3:30 p.m. EST
2017 Form: FC Cincinnati (USL) – 6th Place (12W-10L-10D, 46 pts.), New England Revolution (MLS) – 7th Place (13W-15L-6D, 45 pts.)
5 Things to Know
Up Top: The big news over the past week has been the release of forward Tommy Heinemann due to a failed entry physical. His loss will open up some time for other players in the preseason beginning with Tuesday’s match. This really shouldn’t be much of a shock for FC Cincinnati as Heinemann didn’t practice for much of the previous two and a half weeks. Forwards Danni König, Emery Welshman and Russell Cicerone should get the bulk of the minutes up top with winger Daniel Haber and forward/midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma also seeing some minutes. FC Cincinnati is rumored to be in the market for another imposing striker so we might not get to really determine the clubs playing style until later in the preseason.
Get 45 Minutes In: Coach Alan Koch’s goal for Florida is to get every player minutes in the run-up to the regular season. The group has not trained much at max effort yet due to the cold conditions and less than optimal playing surface inside the UC practice bubble. Koch told CST while in Florida that he would try and get as many players 45 minutes in Tuesday’s match. It seems as if several players could be held out due to rehab or injuries with Jimmy McLaughlin and Josu likely not to see time. Midfielder Corben Bone was held out on Sunday with a knock but returned training on Monday. His status is uncertain. Tyler Gibson will not play in Tuesday’s match due to an injury sustained in training.
Not About the Result: Time and time again, Coach Alan Koch has warned the fans not to worry about the results of the preseason. FC Cincinnati will be working in about 14-16 new faces over the next two months and the group will need to get comfortable together. There should be some growing pains in these initial matches with focus, familiarity, and conditioning all playing a factor. FC Cincinnati could roll out a midfield with several new faces with a combination of Nazmi Albadawi, Will Seymore, Emmanuel Ledesma, and Lance Laing lining up with returners Corben Bone and Kenney Walker. Don’t count on a future starting XI being rolled out on Tuesday as the entire roster will need to gain fitness going forward. I’d expect to see a group of returnees mixed with newcomers until all players get their shape for the season.
Defense: While there has been much talk about the clubs offense for 2018, Coach Koch and GM Jeff Berding went out to recruit a new defensive corps. Many are anxious to see new center backs Paddy Barrett, Forrest Lasso, and Dekel Keinan mixing with the returning group. I am most interested to see how Koch lines up the squad in a defensive formation. Will he look to employ three center backs? Two center backs and a defensive mid to drop and cover their gaps when moving forward? There is a lot to look for on Tuesday, but don’t expect the group to have a shutout. There will be many pieces moving in and out through the whole game, but I want to see who steps up to lead from the back.
The Revs: Tuesday will mark the Revolutions third official match of their 2018 preseason. The Revs lost to Malmo (Sweden) on Saturday 1-0, but did defeat the New York Red Bulls 4-3 this past Wednesday. New Coach Brad Friedel is working in new designated player 26-year-old midfielder/forward Cristian Penilla who is on loan from Mexican club Pachuca. The Ecuadorian should feature on the left and will be a part of an attacking group that features the likes of Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, Teal Bunbury, Krisztian Nemeth, and USMNT forward Juan Agudelo. In 2017, the Revs finished tied for 7th in team scoring with 53 goals but were third worst in goals allowed, conceding 61. Friedel has added Swedish defender Gabriel Somi to help, but will rely on returnees Claude Dielna, Chris Tierney, and Andrew Farrell to stop a potent FCC squad.
STREAM: THIS MATCH WILL NOT BE STREAMED. We will have coverage on site and will LIVE TWEET to the best of our ability. Also look out for our post-match show, recap & video content this evening.
Stay tuned to our Twitter handle – @CincySoccerTalk, for updated broadcast information.
@bryanweigel for @CincySoccerTalk