Riding a wave of table-topping success, Eastern Conference titans FC Cincinnati head to the Keystone State to face 13th place Penn FC on Saturday. As the Orange and Blue travel East, their mission will be to secure all three points and get their eighth straight win. The recent 4-3 victory over Toronto FC 2 put the squad within striking distance of a historic milestone. With a playoff birth guaranteed and 66 points already tallied, one more win will secure the club’s first Eastern Conference title.
The road presents no obstacle for FC Cincinnati when it comes to getting results. The 18-match unbeaten streak has enjoyed the comforts of home 11 times. Matches away from the cozy confines of Nippert Stadium, however, have been just as fruitful. FCC has gathered 15 of a possible 21 points on the road during this undefeated stretch. As they’ve proven all season long, they’ll beat you anywhere. Will the streak end anytime soon? Let’s look at who may stand in the way of that eighth straight win.
Penn FC currently sits in a tough spot when it comes to playoff hopes. Their overall record of 9-12-8 and 35 points has them 6 points behind 8th place NYRB II. With 4 games remaining against 3 teams in the top 8, climbing into that group may be insurmountable. The total goal-tally for the team stands at 34, led by Zimbabwean striker Lucky Mkosana, who has 10. Salvadoran midfielder Richard Menjivar bolsters the attack, leading the team in assists with 6. The teams recent 5-match form is 2-3-0. Most recently, they lost 3-0 to Louisville City FC on Wednesday.
The two teams first met on August 12th. FC Cincinnati kept fans in suspense until the end, pulling out a late 1-0 victory. It took 80 minutes before Emmanuel Ledesma found his moment to shine. After being leveled outside of the box, the Argentinian took the opportunity he knows so well. As if to will the ball in the net, his bending and dipping free kick found the net beating the keeper to the far post. The match overall was scrappy and relatively even by the numbers with neither gaining a clear foothold.
FC Cincinnati will have the advantage of rest as Penn FC traveled midweek to Louisville City FC. With precious time and points ebbing away, Penn FC is fighting to stay in the playoff picture. A team secured a playoff spot playing against a team desperate for one breeds upsets. Let’s hope FCC can continue their unbeaten run and bring home the Eastern Conference title.
Here are four fast facts to get you ready for Saturday’s 7:00 p.m. kickoff at FNB Field in Harrisburg, PA.
- This will be the second meeting of the two teams, at least in its current form. Penn FC is a re-branding of the former Harrisburg City Islanders. The two have met five times during the past three seasons. FCC has the edge with a record of 3-0-2.
- The Orange and Blue road warriors have a spectacular away form of 9-1-3 this season. As they travel to Harrisburg, they’ll attempt two firsts as a club while traveling: Winning a conference championship, and……winning in Harrisburg. That’s right, FCC has never taken all three points away from that field on an island in Pennsylvania.
- With 60 goals on the season, FCC is creeping up on USL league leader NYRB II who’s sitting at 62. Quality versus quantity is the name of the game though. A total of 366 shots thus far has FC Cincinnati sitting 15th overall in the league. Finishing chances has been and always will be the difference. Currently FCC sits atop the league in conversion rate, finishing 21% percent of their chances.
- FC Cincinnati has a chance to put themselves into the USL history book, again. Earning at least a point will put the club at 19 games unbeaten. This will be the second longest undefeated run in league history, and only 3 away from all time leader Richmond Kickers. With 5 matches to play, will they get to 23?
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati at Penn FC this Saturday.