FC Cincinnati returns to the pitch on Saturday after a short turnaround. After a 2-0 loss to defending MLS champion Atlanta United on Wednesday, the Orange and Blue are looking ahead.
The Chicago Fire return to Nippert Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday having never beaten FCC. Their first meeting was two years ago in FCC’s fairytale U.S. Open Cup run. The two clubs met again in July, where FCC won 2-1 on the road.
Since then, FCC’s record has not improved. FCC remains at the bottom of the table with 21 points. But while its record has not improved, its performance and attitude on the field has. Coach Ron Jans has brought a more positive mindset to the club, and that has reflected on the pitch.
However injuries have reared their ugly head again, and FCC will be down some key players this weekend. Allan Cruz is still questionable after a concussion from last weekend against Montreal. Darren Mattocks’ season is over after an ankle injury, also against Montreal. Fanendo Adi is still nursing a calf injury and will be unavailable as well.
Thankfully Kendall Waston, captain and center back, will be back for this match. Waston sat out the Wednesday match against Atlanta after picking up a red card in Montreal.
Chicago enters the match in ninth place with 37 points, Chicago is fresh off of a 4-0 win against FC Dallas over the weekend. After a full week of rest, their roster will be fully ready to face the Orange and Blue.
Chicago will need to focus on possession if it wants to leave with three points. FCC will need to focus on finishing its chances if they want to capitalize at home.
Both clubs have had a history of inconsistency, but FCC has shown improvements in Jans’ system. A formation consisting of building from the back will be crucial for FCC to maintain possession and finish their chances. If FCC can come out strong and score in the first half, its chances at a win or, at least, a draw, will be much higher.
While the majority of supporters have written off the remainder of the season, it’s important to still focus on every match as they happen.
Only three matches are left in the season, and the next two could be a big opportunity for the Orange and Blue to get six points. Without being overly optimistic, FCC has beaten Chicago before, and it’s possible they can do it again.
Following Chicago, FCC will face Orlando City SC on Sept. 29, another opportunity to bring home some points.