Cincinnati defeated Tampa Bay in a preseason friendly 1-0, but the Orange and Blue have yet to defeat Tampa Bay in a relevant match in their other four meetings. Check out our 5 Things to Know below for Saturday’s match.
Where: Cincinnati, OH – Nippert Stadium
When: Saturday, July 14th at 7:30 p.m. ET
2018 Form: FC Cincinnati – 1st Place (10W-3L-5D, 35 pts.), Tampa Bay Rowdies – 11thPlace (6W-7L-4D, 22 pts.)
YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE THIS WEEK – Ref Assignments:
REF: Malik Badawi, AR1: Ian Mckay, AR2: Nait Hegerty, 4TH: Mike Nickerson
5 Things to Know
Green and Gold Thorn: Saturday’s matchup is against the only team that FCC has never defeated in the USL east, excluding expansion sides. It would be a great way to start this homestand and remove the thorn from our sides. FCC lost to Tampa Bay 3-0 last year in the playoffs and the number chances we have left will be limited. This could be the last time we get an opportunity to defeat the Green and Gold hoops at our home.
Fortress: The game against Nashville was the only road game the team will play in the month of July. In fact, the River City side will play six straight home games in USL play, ending with a home tilt mid-August. This is a key stretch that with good results could help FCC put some distance between themselves and the middle of the pack. FCC may be leading the East but the race is tight with seven points separating the top of the table and hosting a playoff game or opening the postseason on the road. Nippert needs to become a fortress for the players and coaches, and the supporters must create the energy that opposing players fear and the boys in Orange and Blue embrace. A six-game homestand is a long stretch not just for the team but it can be difficult for supporters to maintain the energy, we must rise to the occasion as much as we expect our team.
Tampa Transition: Tampa Bay has gone through a transition period here the past few months. They have a new manager who was their starting center back, have lost of their star player to a front office job back in Wolfsburg, and loaned Jack Blake to Salt Lake. To counteract these losses the Rowdies have brought in a number of players, with the two biggest being Kwadwo Poku and Stefano Bonomo. Both Poku and Bonomo were known for their offensive abilities at Miami FC and New York Red Bulls respectively and must be accounted for if they get on the pitch. While Tampa has struggled this year on the road, only collecting 7 points in 8 games, the injection of new blood is something that can’t be underestimated.
Starting Tactics: An area that FCC has struggled is coming out against good opponents and getting on the front foot. Alan Koch needs to get the setup right to start the match and the players need to be up to the task. If the tactics are not working, adjustments need to be made on the fly and not wait until the half to do so. This past Saturday’s game, adjustments were made at halftime and the game swung back towards FCC advantage. If we could have done something tactically midway through the first half FCC may have been able to come away from Nashville with a precious three points. This game is at home, against a team that has struggled on the road, three points are expected.
Home Defense stabilizing: Starting the year FC Cincinnati’s home defense struggled to keep opponents off the scoresheet, but the last two home games (Ottawa and Richmond) they came away with their first two clean sheets at Nippert. Cincinnati, which currently has the 20th ranked home defense in the league, will need to have a strong outing to keep Tampa off the board. Prior to Poku and Bonomo signing, the Rowdies had the eleventh best offense in the league and have only increased their firepower with these two signings. FCC’s midfield is going to have an important task of trying to control the pace and slow Tampa Bay down, minimizing the pressure on FCC’s backline.
Bonus Stats: FCC currently has a record of 4W-3L-2D against teams currently in playoff position, giving FCC an average of 1.56pts/game. FC Cincinnati is 6W-0L-3D against non-playoff teams for an average of 2.33pts/game.
March to Matchday – FC Cincinnati at Tampa Bay Rowdies
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!
Growler Cup – Round 19
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
The overall expected Goals (xG) for this game currently sits at FCC 2.89 – TBR 1.23. Reminder, TBR has had a number of new player acquisitions which could impact the outcome. The xG chart looks as follows:
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. The match will also be broadcast at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners or by Streaming internet on ESPN+.
RADIO: ESPN 1530 AM
Stay tuned to our Twitter handle – @CincySoccerTalk, for updated information.