With the annual trips to Canada already in the books, FC Cincinnati returns home to finish the week in front of another Canadian team, Ottawa Fury FC. The forecast is predicting a hot one at Nippert Stadium, and hopefully the temperature fuels the Orange & Blue’s offensive firepower.
FCC got out to a blistering start on Wednesday against Toronto FC II with goals (and assists) by Nazmi Albadawi, Emery Welshman, and Manu Ledesma in the first half. However, the team mustered only one shot in the second half and managed a 3-3 draw with the weakest team in the USL. Although they are still riding a five-game unbeaten streak, FCC needs to maintain the pace. Second-place Pittsburgh is only three points behind FCC after the Riverhounds’ 1-0 win at Louisville City.
Ottawa is returning to USL league play on a small three-match winning streak in all competitions. The Fury picked up a solid set of victories in the second round of the Canadian Championship, defeating AS Blainville on Wednesday 1-0 to advance to face Toronto FC in the next stage.
Forward Adonijah Reid also made team history last week by being the first Ottawa Fury FC player to score a hat trick in their five-year history. The current USL Player of the Week put three past New York Red Bulls II in a 3-0 victory on Saturday. Reid now shares the team lead in scoring with Steevan dos Santos and Kévin Oliveira.
The last meeting between these two teams saved the fireworks for the last 45 minutes. After a scoreless first half, FCC deposited three goals over a nine-minute span to run away with a 3-0 win. The win gave the team well-earned momentum to start a three-game winning streak, and gave us that memorable long-distance peach of a goal from Kenney Walker.
FC Cincinnati is getting closer and closer to seeing midfielder Tyler Gibson return to the pitch, as he works himself back into playing shape. The same might not be said for Richie Ryan—the midfielder could miss some time due to an apparent ankle injury suffered during the Toronto game.
Here are some fast facts as FCC gets ready to welcome the Fury.
- Saturday’s game will mark the midpoint of FC Cincinnati’s 34-game season. While the team is vastly improved from this point in 2017 (5-6-5, 21 points), the same cannot be said for the inaugural 2016 season. After 16 games, FCC’s 2018 record is identical to their record in 2016 (9-4-3, 31 points).
- While Fury FC has shown to run chaud and froid in their games, the difference in Ottawa’s season has been goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau. Since taking over for Callum Irving after Week 2, Crépeau has given up only 11 goals in 12 USL games and delivered 7 clean sheets. The native of Quebec went the entire month of May (six games) without giving up a single goal, winning the award for USL Player of the Month.
- After the three-goal output on Wednesday, FCC is now tied for the league lead in goals (33). The team is on pace to score 70 over a 34-game season. However, they are also on pace to give up 45 in the process, which is only a slight improvement over the 48 they gave up in 2017.
- Nazmi Albadawi’s goal and assist on Wednesday puts three FCC players in the Top 20 for combined goals and assists. Manu Ledesma leads the league with 16 (8G, 8A), while Danni König (7G, 1A) and Albadawi (6G, 1A) have 8 and 7, respectively.
- Ottawa is one of two USL teams that have given up three own goals this season. (However, the third won’t count until their suspended game against Atlanta United 2 resumes.)
If our calculations and expectations are correct, a big milestone is on the horizon. FC Cincinnati’s total attendance at Nippert Stadium should top the one-million mark on Saturday. Those numbers include 39 USL regular season and postseason matches, seven U.S. Open Cup matches, and two international friendlies.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for complete coverage of FC Cincinnati vs. Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday night.