FC Cincinnati coasts into Tampa on a fourteen match unbeaten streak having scored 8 goals in the last week. Will Cincy maintain momentum vs. a great home team like the Rowdies? Check out our 5 Things to Know below.
Where: St. Petersburg, Florida – Al Lang Stadium
When: Saturday, August 25th at 7:30 p.m. ET
2018 Form: FC Cincinnati – 1st Place (16W-3L-6D, 51 pts.), Tampa Bay Rowdies – 12th Place (7W-10L-7D, 28 pts.)
YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE THIS WEEK – Ref Assignments:
REF: Kevin Broadley, AR1: Kyle Longville, AR2: Walter Heatherly, 4TH: Matthew Miscannon
5 Things to Know
Continue the Season of Firsts: Entering 2017, FC Cincinnati had failed to win vs. the Charleston Battery. They had also failed to win vs. the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Cincinnati was not a great road team and earned a reputation around the league as a team that could not win in big moments. Alan Koch took all those assumptions and threw them out the window and has had Cincy running like a well-oiled machine in 2018. They have toppled Charleston twice, the Rowdies once and FC Cincinnati has beat nearly every top team this season. A few things are missing including a win at Al Lang Stadium. This is the field where FCC lost their first US Open Cup match and where they fell 3-0 out of the playoffs in 2017. FC Cincinnati has one real chance left to create another first as Alan Koch & co. may not get another opportunity to win at the Rowdies grounds.
Don’t Underestimate the Rowdies at Home: It has been a rough season for the Rowdies. The team fired head coach Stuart Campbell midseason and lost star player Marcel Schäfer. Others have not performed up to par or have been injured. On paper, the Tampa Bay Rowdies should be a playoff team if not a USL favorite. However, matches don’t always play out like the paper says it should. That being said, the Rowdies are still a side loaded with talent and a team with nothing to lose. No matter their record, the Rowdies find ways to get points at home (5W-3L-5D). The 12th place eastern team won 2-0 vs. the western conference’s first-place team Real Monarchs in April. The defense will need to stay alert for long shots and FC Cincinnati needs to control the midfield. These two things will prevent Tampa from pulling another upset on their season.
Kick Them When Their Down: The talent on the Rowdies roster is easy to see but their results are puzzling. Tampa Bay has been signing new talent and replacing others to try and find something to jumpstart their season. The Orange and Blue need to treat this match very seriously and avoid becoming the jolt that revives the nearly dead Rowdies season. A point on the road is very acceptable for this match. Tampa Bay might be in 12th place, but Cincy would be better served by playing any of the teams above them in the eighth spot. FC Cincinnati needs to go ahead and deliver the knockout punch on Tampa Bay’s season. As a bonus, an FCC win would also mathematically eliminate the Rowdies from passing FC Cincinnati on the table.
Rotation vs. Power: Head coach Alan Koch rotated some parts of the field on Wednesday due to schedule congestion. Balancing the roster this week while also leaving enough veteran leadership may be a challenge. Dekel Keinan played a full match Wednesday coming back from injury and Forrest Lasso played a full match Saturday and Wednesday. With players like Poku playing for the home team, Koch will need to find answers on the back line. Paddy Barrett has shown up time and time again. Also of concern is the right back. Justin Hoyte has also played in back to back matches and his counterpart Matt Bahner reportedly picked up an injury before the team left Cincinnati. Will Hoyte be up to the task of three games in eight days? Expect to see Blake Smith and Michael Lahoud as they finally received some much-needed rest. Adi also made the trip but did not make the 18 vs. Atlanta United 2. Saturday could be the day we see his first start. If not, he will most likely be in the matchday group.
Keep it Clean: Time and time again fans have been treated to physical matches vs. the Rowdies. That same physicality is showcased even stronger when Tampa Bay is comfortable and playing at Al Lang. FC Cincinnati has done a great job all season when it comes to discipline. The team is one of the last three without a red card and only a couple of players are on suspension watch (Blake Smith, Paddy Barrett and Dekel Keinan). However, Tampa Bay can bring out tempers in the Florida heat and they are no stranger to many of FCC’s former NASL players. It will be important for Ledesma, fresh off a yellow card accumulation suspension, as well as the rest of the squad, to not be drawn into any traps. If Tampa shoves, don’t shove back. FCC needs to stay strong on the ball but should avoid all extra-curricular activity. On the flip side, if the Rowdies get frustrated early they may hurt themselves in this same way. The cooler heads will prevail.
March to Matchday – FC Cincinnati at Tampa Bay Rowdies
Join host Bryan Weigel @bryanweigel, as he welcomes guest Dan Endonino (@UnSub_Dan) of the Unused Substitutes Podcast (@UnusedSubsPod) to preview Saturday’s match at the 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!
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 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+.
Stay tuned to our Twitter handle – @CincySoccerTalk, for updated information.