FC Cincinnati travels to Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee to face Nashville SC in their first-ever regular season meeting. After a solid 2-0 win over Ottawa Fury last weekend, FCC continues to lead the Eastern Conference with 34 points. The Orange & Blue have improved at home recently, but it’s been the road that’s proven most friendly. This will be another chance to gather points and broaden the gap at the top of the table.
Gathering those points won’t be an easy task. Nashville SC currently sits in 3rd place in the East with 26 points after 15 matches played. They’ve enjoyed a rather lengthy home stretch with Saturday’s match being their fourth consecutive. Their most recent game resulted in a 3-0 trouncing of a struggling Atlanta United II. Their prior two matches were mixed results, with a 2-0 loss to Indy Eleven and a 1-0 win over North Carolina FC. The Indy Eleven loss on June 26th was their first home loss of the season. Nashville SC’s attack is led by Brandon Allen and Lebo Moloto who both can claim 5 goals on the season. NSC is led by former Colorado Rapids coach, Gary Smith.
Even though this will be their first league showdown, the two have met before. You have to go all the way back to March 3rd when the two faced off in a frozen friendly at Gettler Stadium. The scoring was started by Nashville SC’s Matt Lagrassa in the 21st minute to put the visitors up. Jamaican midfielder Lance Laing responded with a long range strike to bring FCC level late in the half. The second half remained knotted at 1 until Canadian striker Emery Welshman capitalized on a quick throw in, tucking the ball in from close range. FC Cincinnati would protect the 2-1 lead until conceding a penalty kick late in the match. Nashville SC converted and the match ended in a 2-2 draw.
Both clubs come into the competition sharing a rather unique attribute. They are both recent MLS franchise awardees. Even though FC Cincinnati cut in line and will start their Major League Soccer journey in 2019, players on both squads will be pushing for MLS roster spots. While coaching and team depth certainly play a factor in results, this extra motivation for both groups should prove productive while competing in their current league. FC Cincinnati would like nothing more, of course, than to depart as USL Champions.
Here are some fast facts to get you ready for Saturday’s 8:30pm ET / 7:30pm CT kickoff in Nashville, Tennessee.
- FCC’s league leading scoring prowess will be put to the test as Nashville SC is second best in goals conceded with only 10. They are also second best in clean sheets with 8 (tied with 4 other teams).
- Nashville SC is the first team in USL/MLS history to be awarded first division status prior to playing its inaugural second division season.
- FC Cincinnati has a league topping conversion rate (calculated as goals divided by shots) of 20%. They have 35 goals on 179 total shots (excluding blocked shots). The Charlotte Independence shares first place with them in this statistic.
- Saturday’s match will be FC Cincinnati’s last match on the road until August 22nd, when they travel to Atlanta United II. Alan Koch’s men have six straight USL games at Nippert, plus a friendly versus RCD Espanyol, during that time period.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for the first match of the second half of the 2018 season.