FC Cincinnati welcomes Major League Soccer (MLS) club Minnesota United FC to Nippert Stadium for Wednesday night’s Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Match. FCC has had the fortune of hosting four different top-division sides over the past two seasons in the oldest ongoing competition in the United States. Check out our 5 Things to Know for Wednesday night’s match.
Where: Cincinnati, Oh. – Nippert Stadium – TICKETS
When: Wednesday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. EST
2018 League Form: FC Cincinnati – 1st Place (7W-3L-2D, 23 pts. USL-EC), Minnesota United FC – 9th Place (5W-8L-1D, 16 pts. MLS-WC)
Last Round: FC Cincinnati – Defeated Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 3-1 (3rd Round). Minnesota United FC – Enters Competition in 4th Round
March to Matchday
Join host Bryan Weigel @bryanweigel, as he previews FC Cincinnati’s 4th Round Lamar Hunt US Open Cup match as FCC host Minnesota United FC of Major League Soccer. Joining Bryan on this week’s show is guest Bill Stenross (@bill_mk) of FiftyFive.One (@fiftyfiveone), a website that covers MNUTD and the “Voices from Soccer’s North”.
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!
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5 Things to Know
Matchday Squad: As previously mentioned on CST, the competition’s rules only allow for five international players (including Canadians) to be listed in the matchday squad. With a high-profile MLS club coming into Nippert, will we see head coach, Alan Koch, elect to utilizer Emmanuel Ledesma, Richie Ryan or captain Dekel Keinan with the roster limitations? Koch has a track record of mixing in normal “starters” for MLS opponents in cup matches with Austin Berry, Harrison Delbridge, Danni König, Kenney Walker, and Mitch Hildebrandt all getting the call vs. Crew SC in 2017. I’d expect to see Walker, Jimmy McLaughlin, Corben Bone and König to start Wednesday due to their short appearances from Saturday. Keinan could likely play since he was suspended Saturday due to Yellow Card accumulation. The roster will be tricky to manage if König, a second forward (Tomi Ameobi, Emery Welshman or Daniel Haber), Keinan, and center back Paddy Barrett are all called on for Wednesday. Koch would only have one more spot and could have to choose between carrying Ledesma, Ryan or another one of the forwards. Many fans will hope for the strongest side vs. an MLS club, but Koch can only play within the rules of the cup.
The Loons: Head Coach Adrian Heath will also have some big decisions to make as well for his side. Minnesota has struggled in MLS play over the past two seasons, with several in the media calling for a change to the new club. With 16 days between this match and their next league contest, Heath could look to use several of his normal starting XI to begin a cup run that might bring some support to continue in his position into their new venue in 2019. While MNUFC did play on Sunday night, Heath subbed off DP Darwin Quintero and former USMNT call-up Christian Ramirez early. Those two players would offer some nightmare matchups for the FCC defense including great pace and technical skill. Expect Minnesota to utilize their plethora of quality wingers to attack the flanks of the Cincinnati defense and cut the ball back to an oncoming Quintero or crossing to the 6’2″ Ramirez.
Switch Styles: Minnesota, under Heath, have largely been successful on the counter in 2018, whereas Cincinnati has tried to maintain possession and build through their midfield. The roles could be reversed if 2017 cup play was any indication. During the previous version of the cup, FC Cincinnati employed a 5-man backline and would rely on the defense to turn over the MLS squad and spring a counter. Will we see a similar style again with Minnesota dictating play or could the quality USL club take the game to the top-division side? This could make for a wide-open match should Koch elect to not bunker and utilize the 4-4-2 Diamond which has seen success, but has leaked goals in 2018.
Better Odds: While FC Cincinnati has had their success at home vs. MLS clubs, the top-division sides won 11 of 14 matches in 2017. The stats begin to change when you dive down and look at traveling MLS sides. Over the past 5 years, stats show that MLS clubs still win 52% of the time when traveling to lower division opponents in the 4th round which the number looking less favorable over the past two seasons. MLS and the home lower division sides split the 4th round 2-2 in 2017, but MLS clubs had a clean sweep winning all four games in 2016. Before the new Allocation Money assets were implemented, lower division sides won 10 of 15 matches between 2013 and 2014. The overall top-to-bottom quality of MLS rosters has increased, but playing at home should give FCC a bit better odds than the nearly impossible feat of traveling to an MLS foe.
Another Shining Moment: We all remember Djiby’s header vs. Columbus, Mitch Hildebrandt’s heroic saves vs. Chicago, and FCC taking NYRB to extra time. Those moments will still be talked about long into the future, but who will now step up to see FCC advance over another MLS club? Many FC Cincinnati players who get their number called on Wednesday will most likely use this match to show their worth for the future MLS club in Cincinnati. Could an unlikely hero use this match to boost his stock in the eyes of the club? Look for members of the Orange & Blue to play with a little extra pep in their step on Wednesday. They will certainly need to play flawlessly to continue on for another cup run.
Supporter Groups Pregame Match Parties
We encourage all fans to get down to Clifton early and enjoy themselves at the area’s 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. 3:00 p.m.
Die Innenstadt: Mecklenburg Gardens – 302 E University Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Pride: Ladder 19 – 2701 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Pride Norden: 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 7:30 p.m. EST kickoff on Wednesday night. USSoccer.com should offer a stream of the match around game time.
Stay tuned to our Twitter handle – @CincySoccerTalk, for updated information.
@BryanWeigel for @CincySoccerTalk