5 Things to Know: FC Cincinnati vs Charlotte Independence

Last time FC Cincinnati and Charlotte Independence faced off, the Orange and Blue were on a three-match winning streak. This time Cincy is riding an eight-match unbeaten streak that includes five wins.

Where: Cincinnati, OH – Nippert Stadium
When: Wednesday, July 18th at 8:00 p.m. ET – ESPN2

2018 Form: FC Cincinnati – 1st Place (11W-3L-5D, 38 pts.), Charlotte Independence – 11th Place (7W-6L-6D, 27 pts.)

REF: Jon Freemon, AR1: John Krill, AR2: Benjamin Hall-Volpenhein, 4TH: Adam Warner

5 Things to Know

Revenge and Trophies: Last time FC Cincinnati and Charlotte Independence faced off, the Orange and Blue were on a three-match winning streak. This time Cincy is riding an eight-match unbeaten streak that includes five wins. Charlotte proved they don’t care how hot a team is and instead punched out a 4-1 win in their “Queen City” and stunned the fans in Cincinnati. That win did not just mean zero points for the away side, it also gave Charlotte a three-goal lead in the Queen City Cup. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Due to Louisville winning two of three matches, the Queen City Cup is the last chance for FCC to take USL rivalry hardware up to MLS. It could be a while before Cincy gets another shot as these old rivalries. FCC should focus on revenge first and if they have a chance, go for the trophy.

Matchup Problems: Charlotte may be the trickiest team FC Cincinnati will face this season. Their record is good enough for eighth but nothing about the Independence screams a complete team. This is the trap match Cincy fell for back in May. Charlotte tactics match up well vs. Cincinnati. They have a quick squad that can counter and convert 20 percent of all their shots into goals. In the last three matches, Cincy has allowed zero goals. A similar defensive effort will be needed again this week. Most importantly, the midfield needs to stick to clean passing lanes and not turn the ball over in dangerous places. Charlotte is a much better finishing team than may of FCC’s recent opponents and will draw blood off mistakes.

Attack, Attack, Attack: The best way to keep the Independence out of the net is to keep them drawn back. Both teams have a good attack so Cincy needs to keep possession on their side. Possession does not always tell the whole story but it should be a major factor in this match. The away side’s weakness lies with the injured midfield and young back line. Cincy is mostly healthy and only missing Richie Ryan. The biggest key to success is attacking both the midfield and defense and often. It is very unlikely that the Independence can hold off the FCC attacking trio if Cincy holds to a game plan and isn’t forced from it early due to a deficit.

Manage Congestion: It has been several weeks since FC Cincinnati has played a Wednesday and Saturday fixture. Alan Koch prefers to play the stronger lineup at home when two matches appear in a weeks time but this time they both are in Nippert. It is unlikely the same eleven that saw time this past Saturday start for this match. Whomever Alan replaces needs to match the Rowdies performance of the player they come in for. Since both matches are at Nippert, fans will expect a six-point week. Those six points are very possible with the correct roster management. Play the Tampa Bay eleven vs New York Red Bulls II and run out the players who have earned a start in this match. On defense, Lasso should be able to play both. We expect Barrett to come in for Keinan. It is also very possible Bahner gets another start. Both players need to be very aware of the counter and Matt will need to be careful with his runs forward.

Get in Their Heads: FC Cincinnati vs. Charlotte Independence is being aired on national television, in Cincinnati, in front of the Bailey. There are a lot of factors working against the away team. The pressure will be immense and Charlotte has not been good at handling pressure. They enter Nippert with five red cards and this is an area everyone can focus on exploiting. Fans need to bring the noise and flood the field with cheers and boos. The home players may even want to poke and prod to frustrate the visitors. Expect the match to get a little chippy and if it does FC Cincinnati wants to take advantage. Cincinnati is no stranger to fouls themselves but they have yet to keep a yellow from escalating further. Stay disciplined but if the other side can unravel some, it only helps the gameplan.

Expected Goals:

FCC Win 68.5%
Charlotte 13.5%

The xG chart looks as follows:

March to Matchday – FC Cincinnati vs Charlotte Independence

Instead of our usual March to Matchday, listen as Boston appeared on Talkin’ Jacks Podcast. Talkin’ Jacks is a fan podcast for the Charlotte Independence and they just celebrated their 50th episode.

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

Growler Cup - Round 20


TV: This contest is set for a 8:00 p.m. EST kickoff on Wednesday night. This match will broadcast to a national audience on ESPN 2. The broadcast duo of Mike Watts (play-by-play), Devon Kerr (analyst) will cover the match with Streaming available on ESPN3. The match will also be broadcast at FC Cincinnati’s pub partners.

RADIO: ESPN 1530 AM – Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play), Kevin McCloskey (analyst), Lindsay Patterson (sideline)

Stay tuned to our Twitter handle – @CincySoccerTalk, for updated information.

@BostonKeith for @CincySoccerTalk

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