Colorado Takeaways, Cruz’s International, and Open Cup Planning

Image: Ryan Meyer

The Result

FC Cincinnati’s second preseason effort of 2019 yielded a slender 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids. The victory comes with an asterisk, given Kendall Waston’s 21st-minute red card and Colorado’s youth-laden lineup. But the squad is two-for-two on positive results, and more importantly, no injuries were sustained during the contest.

Adding to the positives, Eric Alexander and five of the draftees saw their first in-game action of the preseason. Alexander, the Portage, Michigan native, came into camp with a slight injury and didn’t take part in the first preseason match versus Montréal Impact. Despite being subbed out later on, Alexander logged 30 minutes against the Rapids. Alexander has 212 MLS appearances since 2010, the most on FC Cincinnati’s roster.

Forrest Lasso continued his strong start to the preseason on Saturday, deflecting a header from Hassam Ndam for the only goal. He now has a goal, an assist, and a clean sheet in both of the halves that he’s been on the field.

Alan Koch was especially impressed with the team’s defense against Colorado.

I was impressed with the shape of both groups. We got a shut-out in the first 45 minutes and in the second 45 minutes. When you focus on a lot of defensive work this week, that’s a huge positive.

FCC featured a three-center-back look over the 90 minutes against the Rapids. The team was set up in a 3-5-2 formation, in contrast to the 4-3-3 that FCC ran against Montréal.

Next up is D.C. United on Thursday for a 7 pm kickoff in the last match of FC Cincinnati’s IMG camp.

Cruz’s International

Allan Cruz missed the Colorado friendly in Bradenton and instead played the full 90 minutes in Costa Rica’s 2-0 loss to the United States Men’s National Team. Earning meaningful minutes at the international level at age 22 is impressive, even if a few fans were put off by a perception that the midfielder went down a little too easily at times. That was Cruz’s seventh cap for the Ticos, all of which were earned during 2018 and 2019.

The Greg Berhalter Era of the USMNT is off to a crisp start, despite the first-year coach fielding only MLS-based players. His teams claimed two victories including five goals-for and none against. Hopefully, Greg Garza can get healthy and keep himself on the radar for future national team selection.

U.S. Open Cup Schedule

Last week saw the release of the schedule for the 106th U.S. Open Cup. As expected, FC Cincinnati will enter in the fourth round and play their first match on June 12th. In a scheduling twist, the fifth round will occur just one week later if FC Cincinnati progresses. Those two matches would fill in FC Cincinnati’s only true bye week on the 2019 calendar.

Here is what the June through mid-July match schedule looks like with the addition of the Open Cup matches. This assumes FCC participates in three rounds. If they advance all the way to a semifinal match, that will be played on August 7th.

6/1 at Colorado Rapids
6/6 at NYCFC (Thursday)
6/12 – USOC 4th Round (Wednesday)
6/18 to 6/23 – USOC 5th Round (likely Wednesday 6/19)
6/22 – LA Galaxy
6/29 – at Minnesota United
7/6 – Houston Dynamo
7/10 – USOC Quarterfinal
7/13 – at Chicago Fire
7/18 – D.C. United (Thursday)

The early rounds usually offer some fairy-tale regional stories and kick off May 7-8. Those consist of 19 first-round games featuring 84 teams from all levels. FC Cincinnati’s first U.S. Open Cup match in June could produce an intriguing regional match with an old USL foe like Indy Eleven, who is carrying several players from FCC’s 2018 roster.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s preseason.

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