FC Cincinnati returns home for just their third time this season to face Atlanta United 2 for the first time. The Orange & Blue conclude a successful road weary week following an emphatic 3-0 win at Ottawa and a convincing 3-2 away win to Indy Eleven. FCC enters Saturday’s contest sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference on 14 points.
As the official USL affiliate (MLS 2) of the Atlanta United, the reserve side has a large roster that mixes first team, USL, and academy contracts. Coach Scott Donnelly typically taps deep into his roster. He has started 21 players over six matches, with 23 of the squad seeing game action. English defender and former Liverpool youth player, Jack Metcalf, leads and captains the team and has played every minute this season. Defender Miles Robinson is suspended for the match after earning two yellow cards versus Pittsburgh last weekend.
Atlanta started their inaugural USL season in strong fashion by beating fellow reserve side, New York Red Bulls II, by a 3-1 score. Following three straight draws, Atlanta United 2 most recently lost back-to-back matches. They come into Saturday’s tilt in 12th place with six points and a 1-2-3 record.
The Orange & Blue road warriors will attempt to notch their first win at home this 2018 season. This is the latest in any season they have gone without a win at Nippert. Adding additional flavor, the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) has assigned Guido Gonzales Jr. as the match referee. If the name, and chant, “Guido” sound familiar, harken back to that steamy summer evening match versus the Rochester Rhinos last July. Guido became the main story of the match rendering eight yellow cards, two red cards, and three penalty kicks in the controversial 2-3 loss to the Rhinos.
Here are five fast facts you can tell your Orange and Blue friends between “Guido” chants Saturday evening.
- In their history, FCC has played seven weekend USL matches following mid-week regular season contests. They have earned 4 wins, 1 loss and 2 ties in these shortened weeks. Five of these games have been played at Nippert where the home side has gone 4-0-1.
- The Orange & Blue are 12-6-3 all-time against MLS 2 sides.
- Returning FCC players Walker, Bone, McLaughlin, and Konig have accounted for seven of the team’s eleven goals this season.
- Atlanta United 2 enters the match tied for third best in the USL with an 81% passing accuracy. However, this has not necessarily resulted in scoring chances as they rank 28th out of 33 teams in shots taken and have been held scoreless in their last two games.
- Forward Jon Gallagher leads the USL side with three goals in four matches, converting 75% of his shots taken. The recent Notre Dame graduate was selected 14th overall by Atlanta United in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati at home versus Atlanta United 2.