CONCACAF Champions Cup

FCC looks to move on in CCC with second-leg matchup


The first leg of round one between FC Cincinnati and Cavalier FC saw the Orange and Blue best their Jamaican foes 2-0. Now in the second leg, the CONCACAF Champions Cup comes to Cincinnati, Ohio. Will FCC advance to the second round or will Cavalier pull off the upset of the tournament? Let’s look at how things stand as we head towards Wednesday.

Since the match in Kingston, Jamaica, FCC kicked off its league season. They had a short turnaround from a late match Thursday night to Sunday afternoon. FCC hosted Toronto FC in a sloppy performance from both sides. The travel and recovery might have played a big part on FCC’s players’ legs in that one. The match ended in a nil-nil draw with both teams collecting a point towards the MLS table.

Cavalier had a bit of a rest period. Their Jamaican Premier League match against Arnett Gardens was rescheduled due to Cavalier’s participation in the CCC. The off period was likely a welcome sight for players and staff as a lot went into their first leg match versus FCC.

Roster availability looks to be no issue for either club. A noticeable knock on Cavalier’s star center back Kyle Ming during the first leg proved difficult to deal with, but he was able to play the entire 90 minutes. For FCC, star Designated Player Aaron Boupendza missed the first leg with reported Visa concerns and only played the final 30 minutes of the Toronto match. Reserve midfielder Marco Angulo was left off the available roster for the previous match. Center back Matt Miazga missed the Toronto match due to an MLS suspension but is available for Wednesday night’s match.

The motivations going into the match can be trivial for a casual observer. Again, this competition is based on aggregate score, which means whoever has the highest goal total between the two legs, advances. The first tiebreaker is away goals. Having scored two goals in Kingston, FCC only needs to hold Cavalier under two goals and they advance to the second round. For Cavalier, things look more complicated. They need to make up ground in a difficult road environment. A lot of pressure, but this team is no newcomer to pressure as seen in the 2023 Caribbean Cup. Cavalier’s head coach Rudolph Speid has an additional motive for this team’s performance in this cup and how important it is to represent the Caribbean well.

“It would be a setback (elimination) not only for Jamaica but also for the wider Caribbean,” he said. “Because we have three teams from the Caribbean trying to make an impression in this Champions Cup. So it would be good if a couple of teams could progress past the round of 27 into the round of 16 and probably further. Because somewhere down the road, rankings (Concacaf club rankings) will matter.”

Now let’s focus on how this game will look. In the first round, Cavalier set up in the low block and relied on the counterattack to create chances. This invited FCC to control the possession to a decisive advantage. This time, I suspect it will look much more different. Cavalier has nothing to lose and is desperate to level the aggregate score. Look for Dwayne Atkinson and Gadil Irving to play higher up the pitch. Irving and Jalmaro Calvin will be asked to try and exploit FCC’s right side of the defense. Ming and Richard King will be on full display as they will likely be asked to put out fires all night in the FCC counterattack.

For FCC, the team will need to control the central areas and force Cavalier to play through their wingbacks. This will be a good early look at how Obinna Nwobodo and Pavel Bucha work together when sitting in and absorbing pressure. Ian Murphy will have the important assignment of trying to minimize Shaniel Thomas’ presence in the match. As for the attacking three for FCC, play the ball quickly. They will need to utilize quick ball movement and switch the ball across the face of goal to challenge the young center backs of Cavalier to commit early.

Where to watch this match is a bit of a change from where you typically would find an FCC match. FOX has a free streaming service app called Tubi. Be sure to download it to whichever streaming device you use. The prize for this match will be a second-round birth and a date with Brandon Vazquez’s CF Monterrey. 

Cavalier FC at FC Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH

February 28th – 7 p.m. EST


To Top