Alan Koch’s “road warriors” return home to face Bethlehem Steel FC on Wednesday after claiming a second victory in the Carolinas this season. The Orange & Blue, who have won six of eight matches away from Nippert, captured maximum points this weekend, claiming a 2-0 victory over North Carolina FC at Sahlen’s Stadium. As a a result, FCC still sits on top of the Eastern Conference. However, second place Louisville City FC is just three points behind with two games in hand.
One of the few teams FCC didn’t topple on the road this season is Brendan Burke’s Bethlehem Steel FC. Back on April 15th, FC Cincinnati earned a comeback 1-1 draw against Steel FC in the Lehigh Valley. Nazmi Albadawi scored a late equalizer to rescue a point in the match after going down a goal early.
The Philadelphia Union’s USL affiliate currently sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference on 18 points. They are in quite respectable form, capturing 10 points out of the last 15 on offer, including two road wins and a recent draw with Louisville City FC at Goodman Stadium. The Orange & Blue grabbed all three points in this match at Nippert Stadium in each of the past two years. They won by one goal each time; 1-0 in 2016, and 2-1 in 2017.
Playmaker and assists leader Emmanuel Ledesma is suspended from this match due to yellow card accumulation after receiving his fifth of the season against North Carolina FC. That’s the third yellow card accumulation suspension for FCC so far this year. They are second in the USL in total yellow cards, but just one of six teams to not receive a red card all season.
Look out of for equality-themed adornments placed around the field on Wednesday. It’s Equality Night at Nippert as FCC celebrates the LGBTQ community during Pride Month.
Here are four fast facts to get you ready for more midweek soccer in the Queen City.
- Midfielder Richie Ryan, with 728 passes, has 131 more passes than anyone else on FC Cincinnati’s roster and 74 more passes than anyone on Bethlehem Steel FC. He also leads both teams in passing accuracy for players with more than 150 passes.
- Bethlehem Steel FC has 6 fewer goals than FC Cincinnati this season, even though they have 16 more shots (excluding blocked shots) over the same number of games. FCC’s conversion rate is almost 7% higher than Steel FCs.
- FC Cincinnati claimed their first clean sheet in 7 league matches against NCFC last Saturday. Portland Timbers 2 leads the USL with 8 clean sheets. FC Cincinnati has half as many as that (4), and Steel FC has half as many as FCC (2).
- Neither team is much of a threat in the air. Only 3 of the 42 combined goals these two teams have scored have been from headers. All 3 were scored by FC Cincinnati. Bethlehem is yet to score a headed goal this season.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati vs Bethlehem Steel FC on Wednesday.