FC Cincinnati plays its penultimate match of a six-game USL homestand this weekend when they face Penn FC at Nippert Stadium. The Sunday evening kickoff arrives eight days after Fanendo Adi debuted for the Orange & Blue in a 1-1 draw against Nashville SC. Alan Koch’s team is currently perched on top of the Eastern Conference with 45 points, a position they’ve held consistently over the past nine weeks. They are also on the brink of extended their current unbeaten streak to 12 games, which would be a club record.
Penn FC, of course, is the rebrand of long-time second-tier club, the Harrisburg City Islanders. This will be the first time FC Cincinnati has faced the Pennsylvania-based outfit in their new plumage. The Orange & Blue are an undefeated 2-0-2 in their matchups with the City Islanders dating back to 2016. Each of the past two seasons FC Cincinnati defeated Harrisburg by multiple goals in the matches played at Nippert.
Penn FC is in modest form of late. They have collected five points out of the last 15 on offer and only have a single win over that stretch—a 3-2 victory over Bethlehem Steel FC. Penn FC’s success this season stems most notably from a pair of ex-Cosmos players they snatched on the transfer market in March. Striker Lucky Mkosana leads the team with 8 goals, while midfielder Richard Menjivar is the team’s playmaker and leads the team in assists (5), chances created (35), and passing accuracy* (82.5%).
A potential storyline for this match was the return striker Tommy Heinemann to the Queen City. Signed by FC Cincinnati on December 5th of last year, the club released the full-framed forward under controversial circumstances in February. However, the 31-year-old former Columbus Crew man has not appeared for Penn FC since their June 12th match against Richmond. He left that game in the 17th minute with an apparent injury and hasn’t made Penn FC’s 18-man squad since.
Here are five fast facts to get you ready for Sunday’s 6pm kickoff.
- Expect a few cards to fly. These teams are both in the top 10 in yellow cards this season, FCC with 45 and Penn FC with 42. Interestingly, neither team has seen red over the entire season.
- Penn FC is one of USL’s bottom five teams in passing accuracy at an average of 73%. FC Cincinnati is at 77%, just over the median passing accuracy in the USL (76.5%).
- FC Cincinnati averages one goal every 47 minutes of play, just under one per half. Compare that to Penn FC who averages one goal every 75 minutes.
- Corben Bone is FC Cincinnati’s “Iron Man” in 2018. He leads the team in appearances (22), starts (20, tied with Ledesma), and minutes played (1,783). Meanwhile, Penn FC’s players are made of a less-sturdy metal—no player on the team has played more than 18 out of 21 games.
- It is best to not take the Penn FC offense lightly. While the team scored only 6 goals in their first 10 games, they have scored 19 in their last 11 games. During the latter stretch, Mkosana has scored all 8 of his goals.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati versus Penn FC.
*Statistic only considers players with more than 100 passes.