FC Cincinnati returns to Nippert Stadium on Wednesday to face the Charlotte Independence, four days after their convincing 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Orange & Blue will be looking for a measure of revenge against Charlotte after suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of “the Jacks” earlier this season. Alan Koch’s team is currently perched at the top of the Eastern Conference, a position they’ve held consistently for the past 6 weeks.
FCC is 2-2-1 all-time against Wednesday’s opponent, and Charlotte has never won a match in Cincinnati. The Orange & Blue drew with them 1-1 at Nippert last season, and in 2016 they beat the Independence 2-1 in the inaugural home opener.
Charlotte is in average form recently. They’ve drawn two and lost two of their last five matches. However, in the most recent of those five, they picked up a nice 1-0 win at home against Nashville SC. That win came despite being outshot 15-9 and out-possessed 60% to 40%. Wednesday’s opponent has been on top of their game at home, where they are unbeaten in six. However, they aren’t the same on the road, and have only won two matches out of nine this season.
The Independence consistently produce goals though, scoring in each of their past 12 matches. Midfield standout Jorge Herrera is central to their attack. The 37-year-old Colombian is tied with Emmanuel Ledesma and Danni König with 9 goals this season. That tally is just one off the high-water mark for goals in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte forward Caleb Calvert picked up a straight red card for violent conduct in the game against Nashville, and will be suspended for the match at Nippert.
Wednesday’s match is the USL Game of the Week and was originally scheduled to be broadcast on ESPNews, but has been moved up to feature on ESPN2.
Here are some fast facts to get you ready for Wednesday’s 8pm kickoff at Nippert Stadium.
- FCC has twice as many clean sheets as the Independence this season, 8 to 4.
- FC Cincinnati and Charlotte are tied for first place in the USL in conversion percentage (goals/shots) at 19%. Both make the most of their shooting opportunities. However, because FCC shoots 35% more than Charlotte, they’ve scored 9 more goals than the Independence this season.
- Charlotte has the third highest red card total in the league with 5 so far this season. FCC has yet to see red in 2018. The Orange & Blue, however, have been cautioned 11 more times than their opponent.
- Emmanuel Ledesma hasn’t tallied an assist in the past three games, but is still tied for the USL lead with 8. The only other player to match Ledesma’s total this season is former FCC player Antoine Hoppenot, who currently plays for Reno 1868 FC.
- Expect prolific passing on Wednesday. Charlotte has the second highest passing accuracy in the USL at 81%. Compare that to FCC whose passing accuracy is 78%, tied for 9th in the league.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati versus the Charlotte Independence.