A packed Nippert stadium is hungry for a home FC Cincinnati win. Can FC Cincinnati deliver the 1st USL home win in nearly a month? Check out our 5 things to know below for Saturday’s match.
Where: Cincinnati OH – Nippert Stadium
When: Saturday, June 15th at 7:30 p.m. EST
2018 Form: FC Cincinnati – 1st Place (8W-3L-3D, 27 pts.), Richmond Kickers – 14th Place (4W-7L-1D, 13 pts.)
YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE THIS WEEK – Ref Assignments:
REF: ELVIS OSMANOVIC, AR1: JEFFREY SWARTZEL, AR2: ADRIENNE MCDONALD, 4TH: LUKE SOBOTA
5 Things to Know
Feed the Crowd: Fans at Nippert have not seen a USL win since last month when North Carolina FC came to town. Saturday could feature a record-breaking crowd, and they are not showing up to watch a draw. FC Cincinnati might have one of the best road records in the league, but it doesn’t matter once the fans enter Nippert. On Wednesday night the energy in the building could be felt, and the Orange and Blue faithful are a demanding bunch. Coach Alan Koch and Co. will need to feed the beast before they turn angry. The No. 1 spot at the top of the league is in jeopardy after Wednesday’s home draw.
No. 1 Teams Win at Home: Richmond Kickers enter Nippert in 14th place. The Kickers do not draw, they win or lose (mostly lose). On paper, Cincinnati wins nine times out of 10. However, matches don’t always work out the way records reflect. FC Cincy needs to go out and play Richmond like they are right on their heels in the standings. Top tier teams win the matches that they are expected to win. FCC could not get over the multi-year struggle with Bethlehem on Wednesday. They need to make sure the mentality does not carry over into the weekend. Give the crowd an early goal and put this match away in the first half. Don’t overlook Richmond as an easy side, just perform as expected.
Free the Midfield: When the Cincinnati midfield is stopped, FC Cincinnati is stopped. We saw Bethlehem press and remove the midfield on Wednesday in the first half. It is hard for teams to keep up the energy needed to continue this strategy, but FC Cincinnati can do a better job of negating it. If you read this column before every match, you know what is coming. Spread out the field, and find open lanes. Pass over the top if they continue to move players forward. Teammates should be passing the ball and then run to an open position to further the ball down the field. FC Cincinnati is getting better with the press as every team is using it against them now. If FCC can burn a couple teams that use it, the gig may be up.
Hold the Door: With an improved backline, Cincinnati started the season with solid defensive performances. Soon, that gave way to mixed results and battling back in some away matches. The back line returned to form vs MLS side Minnesota and away at North Carolina with back to back clean sheets before some disarray vs Bethlehem. Dekel Keinan may be out, so Forrest Lasso needs to stay sharp and take ownership of the back line. A quick start and a momentary lack of concentration turned the last match into a draw. It happened, learn from it and never let anyone run down and score again from the restart.
The Table is Still Tight: FC Cincinnati is holding onto first place by a mere four points. Louisville City is right on their heels with three matches in hand. Nashville is picking up steam after playing many of their tough matches early while Pittsburgh continues to stay close and has only lost a single match in USL play. This is a must-win match to stay at the top. Cincinnati has one more week of two fixtures before the schedule slows back down. Once that schedule slows, teams with games in hand start to catch back up. FCC needs the point cushion to avoid falling when they can’t be on the pitch to do anything about it.
Growler Cup – Round 14
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.
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 – Will move to Top Cats – 2820 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
The Pride Norden: Ladder 19 – 2701 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219 – Will move to Top Cats – 2820 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 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. Lindsay Patterson will be reporting from the sideline. The match will also be broadcast at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners or by Streaming internet on ESPN3 instead of ESPN+.
RADIO: ESPN 1530 AM
Stay tuned to our Twitter handle – @CincySoccerTalk, for updated information.
@BostonKeith for @CincySoccerTalk