Two home games remain in FC Cincinnati’s 2017 USL season, and the next one arrives on Saturday September 2nd against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Securing three points at Nippert will be critical for Alan Koch’s side, as FC Cincinnati has teetered above and below the Eastern Conference playoff line in recent weeks.
It’s been a while since the Orange and Blue have set eyes on the Riverhounds. The last meeting between these sides was a narrow 1-0 FC Cincinnati victory over a 10 man Pittsburgh side on the second week of the season.
Guess who scored? That’s right, Djiby did. He delivered a trademark header in the 55th minute to secure three points. That road victory represents one of only two league wins outside of Nippert Stadium this season.
Alan Koch’s side currently sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference on 34 points. Pittsburgh slots in just one place and one league point behind them in ninth. Both teams have played 25 matches.
Pittsburgh is on one of their best form runs of the 2017 season, winning three consecutive games and taking 10 points from the last 15 on offer. Pittsburgh’s leading goalscorer Corey Hertzog has been a big part of that with three goals in the last two games.
Alan Koch’s side should benefit from a full week and a half of rest, which was desperately needed after a congested fixture list that supported a deep US Open Cup run.
Make note of the 4pm kickoff time for this afternoon matinee.
Here are four fast facts to make you an instant expert on this late-season matchup with big playoff implications.
- When FC Cincinnati played Pittsburgh in April, six players on the current roster had not yet been signed including König, Josu, Halfhill, De Wit, Schnidler and Greig. Justin Hoyte had just joined the team for the April 1st match against the hounds and started on the bench.
- For the third consecutive league match, Alan Koch’s side faces a team exactly two places below them in the Eastern Conference standings entering the contest. UPDATE: Bethlehem Steel earned a point on Thursday night, pushing FCC into eighth place, just one place above Pittsburgh in the standings.
- The Riverhounds can strike from distance. Seven of their goals this season (25%) have come from outside the penalty area. Compare this to 9% for FC Cincinnati.
- Pittsburgh keeps it clean. They have conceded the fewest fouls in the Eastern conference with 258, and the second fewest in USL. Only Phoenix Rising FC has conceded fewer (244).
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of Saturday’s contest.