FC Cincinnati coach John Harkes issued a challenge to the city of Cincinnati to sell-out the team’s October 2nd playoff game and pack Nippert Stadium with 35 thousand fans. The challenge was laid out on the Toyota John Harkes Radio Show on Thursday evening, a program hosted by FC Cincinnati play-by-play announcer Tommy Gelehrter.
“I don’t think we’re out of line asking for that.” said Harkes of his request for the large crowd. He referenced the three times his club has broken the USL single game attendance record. He also cited the sell-out friendly against Crystal Palace as a reason to believe an enormous crowd is possible.
In addition to the challenge issued by Harkes, two additional playoff promotions were announced on the show. First, the playoff game will be a “white out” where fans are encouraged to wear white in support of the hometown club. Second, a Twitter challenge was announced encouraging fans to retweet a 7pm FC Cincinnati tweet promoting the white out. The goal of the Twitter promotion is to get at least 1,000 retweets. If that happens, one winner will be selected from the fans that retweet, and will get the honor of being on the field for the coin toss at the playoff game. The lucky fan will also be invited to watch the match from the Founder’s Box, where the FC Cincinnati owners and general manager Jeff Berding sit.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) September 22, 2016
FC Cincinnati players Casey Townsend and Corben Bone also joined the hour long radio program. Townsend, a recent acquisition, scored the game winning goal last Saturday against Orlando City B to secure the home playoff game.
The humble Townsend described the goal, heaping praise on midfielder Eric Stevenson for the buildup play that led to his strike. “That goal was mostly Eric’s, he played a great ball…I got the slightest of touches. The goal was mostly his.”
Corben Bone spoke about Townsend joining the team late in the season and his contribution. “We just want to make him feel welcome, but he’s a veteran guy. He’s made an immediate impact…and it proves that he should be here.”
Before turning their attention to the playoffs, FC Cincinnati must play their final game of the regular season this Saturday against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The Orange and Blue cannot improve their third place standing, so they may rest key players for the weekend contest in Pennsylvania. Harkes was tight-lipped about what lineup changes might be made, but suggested that he would evaluate who needs rest on an “individual” basis. He also referenced the importance of going into the playoffs with momentum and a winning mentality.
FC Cincinnati fans should pay close attention to other results in the Eastern Conference this weekend. The games played on Saturday and Sunday will determine final playoff seedings and FC Cincinnati’s opponent in the playoff game. FCC could face any one of Charlotte, Richmond, Rochester or Charleston in that matchup. For the full lineup of USL action this weekend, see the schedule on the USL website.