FC Cincinnati is back home at Nippert for the second time this season after another road-heavy start to a USL campaign. They’ll face the undefeated Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday for the first of three meetings in the 2018 regular season. The Orange & Blue most recently earned a comeback draw against Steel FC in Bethlehem last Sunday. That result leaves them in seventh place in the Eastern Conference after four matches played. They do, however, have a game in hand on most of the teams ahead of them in the table.
A revamped Pittsburgh Riverhounds side sits two places above them in fifth place. The visitors from the Iron City have impressed thus far in 2018. They’ve earned two wins and two draws in four matches played. Their success has been based on the stingy strategies of their defensive mastermind coach, Bob Lilley. The Riverhounds have not conceded a single goal so far this season. Four matches — four clean sheets. The former Rochester Rhinos skipper moved to Pittsburgh and brought some key talent with him after the Rhinos announced a one-year hiatus from the USL. It’s worth noting that three of Pittsburgh’s four positive results came against the bottom three teams in the Eastern Conference.
On a positive note, FC Cincinnati has never lost to the Riverhounds in two years of competition. They are 3-0-2 all-time in this series. Last season they beat the Hounds 1-0 in Pittsburgh then drew in the second meeting, 1-1 at Nippert Stadium.
In transfer news, FC Cincinnati recently announced the signing of Michael Lahoud from Miami FC to bolster their midfield ranks. However, the 31-year-old is not expected to feature for Alan Koch in this match.
Here are four fast facts to relay to the person in orange sitting next to you on Saturday.
- FC Cincinnati has a solid defensive record of their own. They can claim two clean sheets and only two goals allowed in four matches played. Some of that has been based on the goalkeeping heroics of Evan Newton, however. Newton has made 13 saves this season compared to only a combined 4 saves required between Pittsburgh’s two goalkeepers.
- Bob Lilley has some serious USL street cred. He has been in charge as a head coach for 188 total games, claiming 89 wins and a 2015 USL Cup championship with the Rochester Rhinos. In addition, his teams have never missed the playoffs or had a negative goal difference at the end of a season.
- The Orange & Blue like to attack from the flanks more than Saturday’s opponent. FC Cincinnati has crossed the ball 55% more than Pittsburgh (26 more times) over four matches. FCC also boasts a higher crossing accuracy of 30% compared to Pittsburgh’s 23%.
- FC Cincinnati has never defeated a Bob Lilley coached team. They were 0-3-1 all-time against Lilley while he led the Rochester Rhinos.
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage leading up to Saturday’s contest.