FC Cincinnati heads to MUSC Health Stadium in South Carolina to take on the Charleston Battery in their first USL Regular Season match of 2018. The Orange & Blue will look to reverse their fortunes down in the Palmetto State after back-to-back defeats in 2016 & 2017. Can the Cincy Boys make noise and kick off the season with a win? Check out our 5 Things to Know for FC Cincinnati’s season opener.
Where: Charleston, SC. – MUSC Health Stadium
When: Saturday, March 17th at 7:00 p.m. EST
2017 Form: FC Cincinnati (USL-East) – 6th Place (12W-10L-10D, 46 pts.), Charleston Battery – 2nd Place (15W-8L-9D, 54pts)
2017 Results: 3/25 (2017 Season Opener): (H) CHS 2 – (A) FCC 1, 6/17: (H) FCC 2 – (A) CHS 2
YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE THIS WEEK – Ref Assignments:
REF: ELVIS OSMANOVIC, AR1: HOWARD ASH, AR2: KEVIN ROBERTS, 4TH: JAMES FELLUCA
March to Matchday Podcast – FC Cincinnati vs Charleston Battery:
Join host Bryan Weigel @bryanweigel, as he previews FC Cincinnati’s first USL regular season match of 2018 vs. the Charleston Battery. Joining Bryan on this week’s show is guest Johnathan Ace of Black & Yellow Post (@BlackYellowPost) a blog covering the Battery. 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!
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
Trading Spaces: This match will feature a familiar face on both sides of the ball. All-League center back Forrest Lasso made the move to FC Cincinnati over the offseason while forward/wing Victor Mansaray started in Cincy, moved to Umeå FC in Sweden and now wears the Black & Yellow of Charleston. The move pulled off by Alan Koch in the offseason takes away two of the goals scored against Cincy by Lasso in 2017. Mansaray, however, struggled for Cincinnati, but by many accounts could factor in big for the Holy City in 2018. Will one of these guys strike against their former club? Cincy fans hope so. No pressure Forrest. Check out a cool interview with Forrest by SoccerNSweetTea.com before Saturday’s match.
Back of the Net: Both FC Cincinnati and Charleston will need to fill scoring voids in 2018. Gone are leading scorers Djiby Fall (16 goals) and Romario Williams (15 goals). In to replace Williams is former Tulsa Roughnecks forward Ian Svantesson and in exchange for Fall is a gaggle of forwards and wingers. FC Cincinnati has played a 4-2-3-1 in the preseason, so it looks as if newcomers Emery Welshman, Tomi Ameobi or returnee Danni König will lead the line with wingers Lance Laing, Manu Ledesma, Daniel Haber and Jimmy McLaughlin needing to put points on the board. Look for Cincy to press into the attacking third with many bodies to ease pressure on the lone forward. If Cincinnati can put up 2 on Charleston, that should be good enough for a draw.
Reinforced Midfields: Like the forward position, both clubs are having to replace or upgrade in the midfield. With playmaker Justin Portillo (9 goals/6 assists) & midfielder Maikel Chang (4 goals/10 assists) leaving to Real Monarchs, coach Mike Anhaeuser will have to rely on a new corps of mids to create opportunities for Svantesson. Look for Tah Anunga, O’Brian Woodbine, and Neveal Hackshaw to make up for that enormous loss of production. FCC Coach Alan Koch retooled the center of the park with Nazmi Albadawi (NCFC), Richie Ryan (Miami FC), Will Seymore (VWFC2), and an injured Tyler Gibson (SF Deltas) to go along with Kenney Walker and Corben Bone. I’d expect Albadawi to start in the #10 position if healthy with Walker roaming the pitch and Ryan laying deep. This midfield will need to break down a disciplined Battery defense if FCC wants to have any hope of a victory.
Finally Healthy and Together: Starting with the injury to Gibson, FC Cincinnati have caught the injury bug early in 2018. Albadawi, Laing, König, McLaughlin, and Welshman have all reportedly experience some sort of ailment during the preseason. The training staff has done very well with only McLaughlin (game-day decision) and Gibson (OUT) being in danger of not playing in Charleston. Don’t expect FC Cincinnati to be at peak form on Saturday as Ryan, Walker, and Albadawi have spent little time together on the pitch due to injuries, late arrivals or missing preseason matches. With this trio together and the majority of the roster available for selection, FC Cincinnati can now build on some consistent minutes as a group.
Reverse Fortunes: This marks the third time FC Cincinnati will begin their season in Charleston. The club lost both openers in 2016 & 2017 and hope to change their fortune in 2018. The club will also look to improve on the away woes of 20187. Cincinnati won a total of 4 league matches on the road in 2017 and will need to pick up more if they hope to finish top 4. The Orange & Blue will also need to pick up more wins in the first third of the season. FCC picked up 3 wins in their first 10 matches and would be behind the proverbial 8-ball if that happens again. Difficult early matches in Charleston, Indianapolis (twice), Ottawa, Charlotte and home matches vs. Pittsburgh, Louisville and North Carolina will make it imperative that Cincinnati start hot.
Returning for 2018 is our Growler Cup! If you contribute $5/ month or more as a supporter of the site, you are entered into the Growler Cup prediction contest. Supporters of the show along with our hosts will predict the score and result for the upcoming week’s match. We have changed the rules for 2018. You get 3 pts for picking the correct result, 1 pt for correct FCC goals and 1pt for correct opponent goals. There will be many opportunities to win as well in 2018. Along with the overall champion (2017 – Chris Dimeo), fans can get on our show to chat with the staff or partake in a trivia contest by scoring the most amount of points in a given month. You will see the predictions of our staff below. Please consider supporting the site at CincinnatiSoccerTalk.com/Support.
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: Buffalo Wings & Rings Oakley – 4615 Factory Colony Ln, Cincinnati, OH 45209
The Pride Norden: BC Bottle Lodge Montgomery – 8175 Hetz Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45242
Queen City Firm: Bucketheads – 6507 Harrison Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45247
The Bailey Bastards: Murphy’s Pub Clifton – 2329 W Clifton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Legion: Taste of Belgium Clifton – 2845 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
To see other viewing party venues, check out FC Cincinnati’s list of Pub Partners.
TV: This contest is set for a 7:00 p.m. EST kickoff on Saturday night. Broadcasting partner Sinclair Broadcasting Group will now air all FC Cincinnati home & away matches. The broadcast duo of Tom Gelehrter and Kevin McCloskey will provide the play-by-play and color analysis to FCC fans 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.
Stay tuned to our Twitter handle – @CincySoccerTalk, for updated information.