After their midweek defeat in penalties to MLS club Minnesota United FC, FC Cincinnati travel to North Carolina to continue their USL schedule. Newcomer North Carolina FC struggled at the start of their season but have begun to find their form. NCFC enter the match winning two of their last four USL games and taking MLS club DC United to penalties midweek. Check out our 5 Things to Know for Saturday’s match.
Where: Cary, NC– WakeMed Soccer Park
When: Saturday, June 9th at 7:00 p.m. EST
2018 Form: FC Cincinnati – 1st Place (7W-3L-2D, 23 pts.), North Carolina FC – 12th Place (3W-5L-2D, 11pts.)
YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE THIS WEEK – Ref Assignments:
REF: MARK ALLATIN, AR1: BENJAMIN WOOTEN, AR2: JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, 4TH: AARON GALLAGHER
5 Things to Know
No Rest for the Weary: Both FC Cincinnati and North Carolina FC experienced 120-minute extra-time matches during their US Open Cup contests mid-week. NCFC was defeated 4-3 on penalties while Cincinnati was eliminated after tallying one of their four PK chances. Head Coach Colin Clark fielded a line up of roughly 6-7 “starters” while FCC boss, Alan Koch rotated his squad but did feature USL minutes leader Corben Bone along with captain Dekel Keinan, left back Blake Smith and midfielder Kenney Walker. With many of these players on both sides seeing minutes on the weekend and during their US Open Cup match, it is possible both coaches will have to rotate to avoid injury. This could benefit FCC with impact players Emmanuel Ledesma, Forrest Lasso, Paddy Barrett, Richie Ryan, Danni König, and Justin Hoyte not playing and Nazmi Albadawi only seeing 15-minutes Wednesday night.
Another Comfortable Win?: While the 4-1 win over NCFC on May 19 was thrilling, the game was closer statistically than it looked. Cincinnati dominated in possession (57%) and in duels won (59%), but the expected goals (xG) for that match was only in FCC’s favor by 0.22%. FC Cincinnati conceded 9 shots in the box to North Carolina in the blowout, however, if NCFC could have put more on frame it could have been a much closer contest. Former NCFC midfielder Nazmi Albadawi also scored two golazo goals in that match which on a normal day, are low percentage opportunities. The result was great that day for FCC, but don’t expect a repeat if the defense can’t keep the NCFC offense out of our penalty area.
Uncharacteristic: NCFC has averaged one goal against per game this season outside of the match in Cincinnati in May. Their 18 shots vs. Cincinnati was also an anomaly with North Carolina average 11.7 shots per match and a conversion rate of 15%. If all stats would play to their average, FC Cincinnati should walk away with a win. The highest likelihood scenario is a 1-1 draw, but FC Cincinnati does come out as victors on 50.54% of xG scenarios.
Return Home: Saturday marks the return of Nazmi Albadawi and Forrest Lasso to their hometown of Raleigh, NC. Cary, NC, a suburb of Raleigh has been the home of NCFC since 2007 with Forrest Lasso playing his youth ball there from 2002-2011 and Albadawi being a part of the NCFC program from 2012-2017. Both players have made posts on social media about their return to their hometown and both could carry some extra motivation. Albadawi’s two-goal performance vs. NCFC made headlines FCC fans hope for another good showing from their new midfielder.
USL Cup or Bust: With FC Cincinnati’s defeat in penalties to Minnesota mid-week, head coach Alan Koch will now experience a bit more freedom with his lineups. Midfielders Michael Lahoud and Jimmy McLaughlin have only three starts a piece in league play but did start all three US Open Cup matches. Koch may now be able to work them into the XI more on different occasions depending on the matchups, tactics, and formation he would like to use. While not many are happy to be bounced out of the domestic cup so early. With a midweek match at home to Bethlehem next week followed by a weekend contest vs. Richmond it is possible that Koch continues to use two “groups”, but the time to get his best XI on the field week in and week out is around the corner.
Growler Cup – Round 13
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.
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 CW Cincinnati. The match will also be broadcast at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners or by Streaming internet on ESPN+.
Stay tuned to our Twitter handle – @CincySoccerTalk, for updated information.