Match Program: FC Cincinnati vs Sporting Kansas City

Orange & Blue Press’ Match Program provides and infographic and the fast facts you need to ready for FC Cincinnati versus Sporking KC this Sunday.

Design: CSDIV / Image: Joe Craven

After a sunny start to the season, reality delivered a damper to FC Cincinnati last week. The 2-0 loss to Philadelphia left the Orange & Blue in 5th place in the East with a depleted lineup and a potentially dangerous opponent on Sunday.

The first of three straight Western Conference opponents, Sporting Kansas City come to Cincinnati with momentum in league play. SKC feasted on the Montreal Impact last Saturday, 7-1. SKC are also the only MLS club remaining in the current edition of the CONCACAF Champions League. However, Peter Vermes and company suffered a demoralizing 5-0 defeat to Monterrey in Mexico on Thursday and come into Sunday’s match wounded and looking to rebound.

Both teams come into the match with some injury concerns. FCC will definitely be without Fanendo Adi (ankle/suspension) and could also be without forward Kekuta Manneh and midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma (hamstring). SKC will be without right back Jaylen Lindsey (knee), while Dániel Sallói (ankle) is questionable.

Fast Facts

Here are five facts for FC Cincinnati’s first match against the team once called the “Kansas City Wiz”.

  • Although much of their offense came last week, Sporting Kansas City’s attack has been bolstered by Krisztián Németh’s resurgence. Over all competitions, the Hungarian forward has scored eight goals in seven matches.
  • FC Cincinnati have had to tap into their roster depth early. 19 players have received starts over the first five matches. Only Orlando City and the New York Red Bulls have started more in the Eastern Conference, as both have played 20 players. Two additional FCC players, Caleb Stanko and Frankie Amaya, have made appearances coming off the bench as substitutes.
  • SKC manager Peter Vermes is currently the longest-tenured head coach in Major League Soccer (314 games). He is the all-time leader in games coached with one club in league history and is fourth in all-time wins as a coach (133). Additionally, Vermes has won four major trophies as a manager—three US Open Cups and one MLS Cup—the second most of all active coaches in MLS.
  • With FCC potentially missing three attackers (Adi, Ledesma, Manneh), it’s likely that midfielder Kenny Saief sees his second start of the season. Even though he has only been on the pitch for 125 minutes, Saief leads the team in combined points with one goal and two assists.
  • SKC demolished Montreal Impact 7-1 at home last week, matching the biggest win in their 23-plus-year history. However, history has shown that the next game is not a guaranteed win. In April 2018, SKC defeated Vancouver 6-0 at home, only to lose at New England the next week 1-0. Also, in June 1999, back when they were known as the Kansas City Wizards, the team beat the New York Metrostars 6-0, only to lose 3-0 to D.C. United the following week.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press as FC Cincinnati tries to weather another storm at Nippert Stadium this weekend.

Match Program: FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union

Orange & Blue Press’ Match program give you an infographic and the fast facts you need to ready for FC Cincinnati vs the Philadelphia Union this Saturday.

Graphic: CSDIV

FC Cincinnati returns to Nippert Stadium and will look to extend a three-game unbeaten streak against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. If the Orange & Blue win, they become the first MLS expansion team to take 10 points from their first five matches.

Both teams were slow out of the gates in 2019 and earned just 1 point combined during weeks one and two. However, both reversed their fortunes and come into this match on the heels of convincing wins. Jim Curtin’s Union thrashed the Columbus Crew 3-0 at Talen Energy Stadium last Saturday. On the same evening, FCC claimed a second consecutive win against the Revs in Foxborough.

Fanendo Adi (ankle) and Przemysław Tytoń (hamstring) are both listed as questionable for this match.

Fast Facts

  • Spencer Richey has a hot hand in goal and has conceded just one goal in three starts. He’s tied for second-best in MLS with a Goals Against Average (GAA) of .333 and has a save percentage of 89%.
  • Union forward David Accam earned a spot next to Kakuta Manneh as a forward on this week’s MLS Team of the Week. His 2 goals against the Crew decided that match before Ilsinho added an insurance goal in the 48th minute. Accam also assisted on Ilsinho’s goal.
  • Five players return from international duty, but will they be ready? Alvas Powell played the full 90 for Jamaica versus Costa Rica on Tuesday. Allan Cruz played 64 minutes and Kendall Waston played 78 minutes in the same match. Waston also left that match with an apparent calf injury.
  • Capturing a second clean sheet at home against Philadelphia will be difficult. However, if FC Cincinnati achieves that feat, their defense will have gone 355 minutes without conceding a goal.
  • Four FCC players have played every minute of FC Cincinnati’s inaugural season so far. Nick Hagglund, Mathieu Deplagne, Leo Bertone, and Vicor Ulloa have started every match and have played 360 minutes each.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati versus the Philadelphia Union.

Match Program: FC Cincinnati at New England Revolution

Orange & Blue Press’ Match Program provides an infographic and the fast facts you need to get ready for FC Cincinnati vs New England Revolution this Sunday.

Congratulations on the morale-boosting win, FC Cincinnati. A week removed from the hard-earned point in Atlanta, you deconstructed Portland 3-0 with a solid, full-team effort. Taking four points from last year’s MLS Cup matchup is an impressive feat. Doing it in front of a sold-out Nippert Stadium with the entire nation watching is even sweeter.

Oh, you were expecting a reward? Now you get to hit the road for the third time in four games during a roster-carving international break. Kendall Waston and Allan Cruz head to the Costa Rican team, Darren Mattocks and Alvas Powell join the Reggae Boyz in Jamaica, and Frankie Amaya heads to the USMNT U-20 team camp. You also don’t have your top starting striker, as Fanendo Adi is doubtful with a leg injury.

You also have to make your first trip into New England, playing against a demoralized Revolution team seeking their own first win this season. Coach Brad Friedel’s team hit a road block in Canada, losing 3-2 to Toronto last week, despite a solid offensive showing. While the weather appears to be clean and crisp, what was once perceived to be a winnable road game doesn’t feel like a certain thing.

Welcome to the league, Rookie.

Fast Facts

  • Although New England possesses some players who have USMNT exposure (forwards Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo), Cincinnati will be losing much more of their lineup to the international break. The departure of Waston, Powell, Cruz, and Mattocks means that FCC loses 26% of their minutes played (786). Compare that to New England, who loses only 1.5% (45 minutes lost).
  • One of these teams will have to possess the ball for the majority of the match. FC Cincinnati (42.5%) and New England (42.2%) are at the bottom of the league in possession. However, both teams were able to salvage draws in games with their lowest possession numbers.
  • Despite having a team built for defense, FC Cincinnati has been disciplined in their fouling. FCC commits only 10.7 fouls per game (5th lowest in the MLS), while New England leads the league (17.3). The difference is also reflected in the number of yellow cards (FCC with 3, New England with 7). New England’s Wilfried Zahibo is only one of two players who have received a yellow card in each of the first three games of the season.
  • New England’s newest designated player Carles Gil has been the team’s workhorse so far. The Revolution’s #10 has scored 3 goals off of 9 shots, which accounts for 100% of their goals and 33% of their shots taken. Considering that 27 of their 49 goals came from the forward position last year, the Revs will be anxious to return to that form.
  • With half of the starting back line missing, FCC will have to perform with untested talent. Nick Hagglund will have a bigger role to play, and so far, he’s recovered from a shaky start. His 5 blocked shots are third in the league. Waston’s void could likely be filled by Forrest Lasso if he makes his first start of the season. The big man from Wofford led the USL in clearances last year (239).

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for coverage of FC Cincinnati’s first visit to New England.

Match Program: FC Cincinnati vs. Portland Timbers

Orange & Blue Press’ Match Program provides an infographic and the fast facts you need to get ready for FC Cincinnati vs Portland Timbers.

Graphics: CSDIV

I may not speak for everyone, but I’m guilty of letting my mind jump directly to this Sunday’s match against the Timbers when FC Cincinnati’s schedule was released. The stands will be packed, and the Bailey will be roaring.

The Cincinnati faithful grabbed the nation’s attention, earning the title of Soccer City, USA, during FCC’s magical U.S. Open Cup run. Ultimately, the supporters are the reason FCC hosts Portland in their MLS home debut this weekend. Now, for the first time, fans have the chance to reap the rewards and enjoy the highest level of professional soccer right in their own backyard.

Portland, of course, will be looking to spoil the party and both sides are eager to tally their first win of the season. However, the Timbers will be without Colombian midfielder Diego Chará, who collected two yellows last weekend against LAFC. If you’re at Nippert Stadium, bundle up and enjoy the electric atmosphere. If you’re watching at home, FS1 will carry the game.

Fast Facts

  • The main storyline of the week: Fanendo Adi and Alvas Powell square-off against their former club for the first time. With 247 combined games in the Portland green and white since 2013, these two are known well by the opposition. Also of note: Darren Mattocks (49 games) and Eric Alexander (31 games) also are former Timbers, but further removed.
  • FCC’s 1-1 draw against Atlanta United on Sunday was possible thanks to an improved defensive shape from Alan Koch’s side. That defensive progress must continue, as Portland are averaging 18 shots per game, led by Sebastian Blanco with 5.5 shots per game.
  • Newly acquired midfielder Kenny Saief already has one game and one assist under his belt in Major League Soccer. With Saief’s Europa League and Champions League experience at their disposal, Alan Koch’s staff is hoping Saief is fit to start this weekend. The player says he’s ready.
  • Portland are currently last in the league with 8.5 aerial duels won per game. This could spell good news for Adi up top. His first goal of the year, a header, was disallowed in Atlanta after being called offside by just a whisker.
  • The Timbers attack could spell danger for the expansion side, as Portland have three set-piece goals in two games already. The team from the Northwest is already dangerous from the run of play, so FCC must stay alert if they want to get a result.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati versus Portland Timbers this Sunday.

Match Program: FC Cincinnati at Atlanta United FC

Orange & Blue Press’ Match Program provides an infographic and the fast facts you need to get ready for FC Cincinnati at Atlanta United.

Graphic: CSDIV / Image: Noah Riffe

It’s not as if we weren’t expecting the growing pains, right?

FC Cincinnati’s 4-1 defeat to Seattle last Sunday may have been a historic day for the club, but it also served as a wake-up call to the current players and staff. This isn’t the USL anymore. Gone are the days where Cincinnati can expect to be favorites heading into every match. Perhaps that day will come. Until then, fans may be subjected to ultra-defensive performances and discouraging results at times.

And let’s be honest—this team hasn’t “clicked” yet. We don’t even know the best starting eleven at head coach Alan Koch’s disposal. It’s a difficult job for Koch, and it’s about to get that much harder. FC Cincinnati is set to face reigning MLS Cup champions, Atlanta United, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In another nationally televised game, this time on ESPN, the Orange & Blue hope to earn their first MLS points.

Fast Facts

  • Although they have never met Atlanta United’s MLS squad, FCC battled Atlanta United 2 in the 2018 USL regular season. Cincinnati was victorious 4-2 last May thanks to an Emmanuel Ledesma brace. Two goals from Nazmi Albadawi led FCC to a 5-1 away win in late August.
  • Similar to FCC’s roster overhaul, there’s a “new look” Atlanta United this year. Newcastle’s blockbuster transfer Miguel Almiron and MLS Coach of the Year Gerardo Martino are gone. In their places are big-name signings Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez, Eric Remedi, Brek Shea, Florentin Pogba, and head coach Frank de Boer.
  • During Atlanta’s inaugural match of the season versus DC United, 42% of all their attacks came down the left flank (accessible at Whoscored.com). FCC may want to consider changing the right-sided partnership of Alvas Powell and Eric Alexander this Sunday, as it was a clear weakness against Seattle.
  • The original goalkeeping hero for FC Cincinnati, Mitch Hildebrandt, retired this offseason after failing to feature for Atlanta’s first team. After leading the USL in saves for FCC in 2017, Hildebrandt struggled to claim Brad Guzan’s spot in the lineup while also dealing with knee injuries. As far as current connections are concerned, former Atlanta all-star Greg Garza was able to practice with the team on Thursday and should be available on Sunday.
  • Late Wednesday night, Atlanta faced C.F. Monterrey on the road in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. The “Five Stripes” subsequently lost 3-0 while being outshot 17 to 5. Pity Martinez was the focus of most of Monterrey’s attention, getting fouled 10 times during the game. Atlanta fielded a strong lineup and could be subject to squad rotation this weekend.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage as Atlanta welcomes FC Cincinnati to their home opener and banner-raising ceremony.

Match Program: FC Cincinnati at Seattle Sounders FC

Graphic: CSDIV / Image: Ryan Meyer

The day you never imagined would come is finally almost here. It’s 6:59 AM on Christmas Day, and you’re lined up at the bedroom door to rush out to see what Santa brought you.

The MLS season is about to begin.

FC Cincinnati is ready to play its first-ever MLS match, cobbling together a team only 9 months after the formal welcome into top-tier play. However, the schedule makers have had the last laugh, throwing nine playoff-caliber matchups in the Orange & Blue’s way in the first 10 games.

Their first opponent is “MLS 2.0” powerhouse Seattle, owners of an MLS Cup, a Supporters’ Shield, and four U.S. Open Cup titles in only ten seasons of Major League Soccer existence. Seattle finished second in the crowded Western Conference, only to stumble in both games against rival Portland in the playoffs. Seattle welcomed LAFC to the league and their home stadium last year, but lost 1-0 in a chippy affair.

No pressure, right?

Fact Facts

  • While FC Cincinnati has only been in existence since 2015, the Sounders have been through three incarnations in the NASL, USL, and MLS. However, since their dawn in 1973, the Sounders have only ever played against one team from the Queen City—the Cincinnati Riverhawks. Between 1998 and 2002, the teams played five times, with Seattle winning three matches.
  • The last match between the Sounders and Riverhawks was on August 4th, 2002—a USL A-League match that ended in a 4-1 win for the Sounders. The Sounders would end up claiming two USL titles before they joined MLS in 2009, while the Riverhawks would disband in 2003.
  • Individually, Cincinnati’s forwards have done decently against the Sounders. Fanendo Adi has scored 8 goals against Seattle as a Portland Timber, while newly-acquired Kekuta Manneh scored a hat trick over Seattle for Vancouver back in 2013.
  • The most dangerous piece in Seattle’s attack is likely Raúl Ruidíaz. Despite playing in only 14 games in 2018, the Peruvian forward scored 10 goals. Only Josef Martinez (0.91) and Zlatan (0.81) scored goals at a higher goal-per-match clip than Ruidíaz last year. With Jordan Morris back from a devastating ACL injury, Seattle’s offense should be vastly improved.
  • Although FCC is the newest team in the league, the average age of their roster (26.9) is one of the oldest. Only D.C. United (27.5) and Minnesota United (27.2) have a higher average age. However, Seattle is no spring chicken, either (26.8). (For the record, FC Dallas is the youngest, around 24 years of age.)
  • Since being traded to Seattle in 2013, goalkeeper Stefan Frei has only missed 6 matches in 5 years. Despite allowing only 7 clean sheets last season, Frei was arguably the team MVP, allowing only 34 goals in 33 games. Only the Red Bulls’ Luis Robles started at least 30 games with a lower goals-per-game average (30 goals in 31 games).

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s maiden voyage into MLS, leading to their home opener on March 17th.

Match Program: FC Cincinnati vs New York Red Bulls II

Orange & Blue Press’ Match Program supplies the information and fast facts you need for FC Cincinnati’s playoff meeting with New York Red Bulls II.

Design: CSDIV / Image: Ryan Meyer

One down, three to go. FC Cincinnati continues their quest for the USL Cup this Saturday against perennial Eastern Conference contender New York Red Bulls II. It’s another high-stakes, winner-takes-all matinee at Nippert Stadium. The Orange & Blue advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals after a grueling 1-1 draw with Nashville SC that was settled by penalty kicks. Kenny Walker delivered the decisive spot kick to win the shootout 6-5 after Nashville SC’s Justin Davis put his attempt over the crossbar. It’s the first time FCC has advanced to the conference semifinal in their three-year history.

New York Red Bulls II punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference semis by beating the Charleston Battery 1-0 on the road. A 21st-minute Tom Barlow strike and some tidy defending were enough to seal the victory. For more details on these teams’ recent head-to-head-history and predictions for both semifinals in the East, check out Orange & Blue Press’ article by Geoff Tebbetts.


2018 USL Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions: Conference Semi-Finals

Alan Koch’s squad finished 25 points ahead of a talented but inconsistent Red Bulls II squad during the regular season. The Orange & Blue, of course, are still carrying a USL-record unbeaten streak heading into this playoff match. That streak currently stands at 24 games (17-0-7). The Baby Bulls are the #5 seed and are in sizzling form. They come into the contest on a 7-game unbeaten run that includes four straight wins.

There are no major injuries for FC Cincinnati ahead of Saturday’s contest. However, the squad may still be without striker Danni König. The Danish forward and double-digit goalscorer returned home last week citing personal reasons. The FCC jerseys worn last Saturday against Nashville donned a small 11 on the sleeve to recognize his absence.

Fast Facts

Here’s a heavy dose of fast facts to get you ready for this Eastern Conference semifinal showdown.

  • This contest features two of the best offenses in the USL. FC Cincinnati has 73 goals so far in 2018 and New York Red Bulls II is right behind with 72. Those are the third and fourth highest totals in the league. FC Cincinnati finished the regular season with the highest goal total, but Orange County FC (74) and Louisville City FC (75) leapfrogged them last week with high-scoring playoff matches.
  • Red Bulls II has one of the worst defenses in the league and conceded 24 more goals than FCC during the regular season (59). Only 7 teams allowed more goals than New York, and none of them made the playoffs. John Wolyniec’s squad only kept 5 clean sheets compared to FCC’s 15. However, they’ve been stingy recently, conceding only 2 goals in their last 3 matches.
  • New York likes to do their damage from close range. Of their 72 goals, only 6 have been scored from outside the 18-yard box (8%). In comparison, FCC has scored 22% of their goals from outside the box in 2018.
  • Red Bulls II have created three times as many penalties kick opportunities as FCC (12 to 4). They have only converted 66% of those spot-kicks though, and FCC has converted all 4 of their attempts.
  • NYRBII’s Jared Stroud and Tom Barlow are players to watch as they account for 5 of the team’s last 7 goals. Barlow has 3 and Stroud has 2 over their last 4 matches.
  • Corben Bone is red-hot in Orange & Blue with three goals in the last 2 games. If you include last weekend’s playoff strike, he now has the second most goals of any FCC player in 2018. Bone also joined Eric Stevenson as only one of two FCC players to score a playoff goal.
  • Spencer Richey is coming off of his third five-save match of 2018 against Nashville SC, and FCC is 11-1-3 this season when he’s between the sticks. Jack Stern’s goalkeeping squad needs to be at their best again on Saturday to stop a potent Red Bulls II attack.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s playoff match versus New York Red Bulls 2.

Match Program: FC Cincinnati vs Nashville SC

FC Cincinnati are the favorites but Nashville SC has been a thorn in their side this season, can the Orange & Blue progress to round two?


Design: CSDIV

The USL Playoffs are here and FC Cincinnati begins their campaign for the 2018 USL Cup against Nashville SC in a 4pm matinee this Saturday at Nippert Stadium. The Orange & Blue, of course, are the USL regular season champions. That means they hold the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and also have the benefit of home-field advantage throughout the single-elimination postseason tournament.

Their first-round opponent is a familiar foe indeed. FCC and Nashville played to a 3-3 draw last Saturday in Tennessee. Nashville conceded a lot of possession but created more chances in the first half, and took a 1-0 lead into the break. FC Cincinnati stormed back in the second half scoring three goals, but conceding two, including a last minute equalizer to Bolu Akinyode. The match ended at 3-3, and the result ultimately translated into a first round postseason rematch in the Queen City.

FC Cincinnati has played Nashville SC three times this season, and each match has ended in a draw. Even the preseason encounter at Gettler Stadium in March ended in a 2-2 stalemate. There’s been nothing to separate them so far in 2018, but something has to give this weekend.

Alan Koch’s side finished 28 points ahead of a talented but inconsistent Nashville SC squad during the regular season. The Orange & Blue carry a USL-record 23 game unbeaten streak into this first playoff match. They’re in impressive but slightly less-sizzling form of late. After a USL-record ten game win streak, they finished the season with two draws against Pittsburgh and Nashville.

Nashville, the #8 seed, clinched their playoff berth last Saturday, when Ottawa Fury lost and mathematically guaranteed Nashville a playoff spot. They are unbeaten in their last six but only have two wins during that stretch and both were against non-playoff teams.

The FC Cincinnati squad is in good health, and even saw long-time absentee Richie Ryan return to action last weekend. Emery Welshman should also be available after missing last weekend’s match while on international duty. He started in an impressive international call-up for Guyana, where he bagged a hat trick in the CONCACAF Nations League.

Nashville SC can’t report the same good bill of health. The Tennessee outfit is likely to be without South African midfield-star Lebo Meloto, who left a match against the Charleston Battery injured on September 22nd, and hasn’t played a minute since. Moloto leads the team in shots, shots on target, and is tied for the team lead in assists (5). He’s also tied for second on Nashville’s squad in goals (7) and chances created (51).

Interested in Eastern Conference playoff predictions for all of this weekend’s matches? Be sure to check out Geoff Tebbetts article that looks at ALL the matchups, and gives his take on the most likely outcomes.


2018 USL Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions: First Round

Fast Facts

Here are four fast facts to get you ready for FC Cincinnati’s second-ever playoff match at Nippert Stadium.

  • FC Cincinnati has a clear offensive advantage in this contest. They scored 30 more goals than Nashville SC during the 2018 regular season, 72 to 42. They earned that advantage by taking only 13 more shots, 431 to 418.
  • Nashville is instead known for their defensive prowess, led by standout goalkeeper Matt Pickens. Their 31 goals against is tied for second fewest, and their 15 clean sheets is tied for third most. FCC, however, plays close to their high standard. By comparison, the Orange & Blue only allowed 34 goals against and had 14 clean sheets in 2018. 
  • Nashville SC only has 4 wins on the road this season. FC Cincinnati has 12 wins at home this season. On paper, that appears to be a hefty home field advantage for the Orange & Blue. Anything can happen in a single-elimination playoff match though.
  • The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 1990. The Reds haven’t won a playoff series since 1995. It goes without saying that a win in this playoff match would mean a great deal to Cincinnati sports fans.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s playoff match versus Nashville SC.

Match Program: FC Cincinnati at Nashville SC

The USL Regular Season comes to a successful close with a momentous match between FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC.

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Design: CSDIV / Image: Ryan Meyer

At the end of its third and final USL regular season, FC Cincinnati has captured an elusive mark. With the regular-season title and the highest seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, the Orange & Blue have an opportunity to head into the playoffs with rested players and a historic record. The only obstacle standing in their way is Nashville SC, who are desperate for a point for a playoff appearance. The two teams clash in the regular-season finale at First Tennessee Park on Saturday.

FC Cincinnati’s 22nd straight game undefeated was no easy task in Pittsburgh. The team needed every bit of their 90 minutes to end the game with the Riverhounds in a 0-0 draw. While Pittsburgh put heavy pressure on the squad, outshooting their opponent 18-4, FCC rode a solid defending line and Spencer Richey’s fifth clean sheet to take home a point. While this broke FCC’s 10-game winning streak, the draw helped FC Cincinnati match the undefeated run set by Richmond in 2013.

FC Cincinnati may have a record in sight, but Nashville SC still has to work to do. Despite early goals by Matt LaGrassa and Brandon Allen, Nashville gave up two goals to Toronto FC II in the final 15 minutes for a 2-2 draw on Tuesday. This leaves the Music City club in 7th place with one game left and at risk of missing the playoffs. If Ottawa or Bethlehem lose this weekend, Nashville is in. However, if Ottawa wins and Bethlehem gets at least a point, Nashville must avoid a loss.

Despite being two bricks in FC Cincinnati’s wall, Nashville has not lost to the Orange & Blue this season. Both teams played to a scoreless draw back in July at Nissan Stadium, while they drew 1-1 at Nippert in August. In that game, Danni König scored in the first minute, but Nashville equalized on an 85th-minute strike from Tucker Hume. Since that draw, FC Cincinnati has gone 10-0-1, while Nashville has been a flat 4-3-5.

While Alan Koch hasn’t shown all his cards, the team will be without one player, but will welcome back two. Forward Emery Welshman will be off on international duty to play for Guyana in a CONCACAF Nations League qualifier. However, König should return from a yellow-card suspension, while midfielder Richie Ryan is likely to play for the first time since suffering a stress fracture in June. In fact, the entire team should be healthy before Saturday’s match.

Fast Facts

Here are five facts for FC Cincinnati’s final regular-season match in the USL.

  • If Corben Bone plays on Saturday, it will be his 100th game for the Orange & Blue over all competitions. In 2018 alone, he has scored more goals in the USL (9) than his previous four seasons (3). If Bone can score his 10th on Saturday, FC Cincinnati writes another record. It will be the first time in the USL’s short eight-year history that one team has produced four 10+ goal scorers.
  • Goalkeeper Matt Pickens has arguably been Nashville’s best signing. Despite facing 109 shots over 30 games (3rd in the East), he has allowed only 25 goals. That’s an astounding 77.1% success rate. The only goalkeeper in the East to play in at least 20 games and have a higher success rate? That would be Cincinnati’s Evan Newton (56 saves, 16 goals, 77.8% success rate).
  • Because of Pickens and his magic hands, Nashville barely allows any goals at home. Manager Gary Smith’s squad has conceded only 11 home goals (2nd in the East) and has 9 clean sheets at home. However, their 24 home goals are 5th-worst in the East. That +13 goal differential at home is decent, but Cincinnati has a +16 goal differential on the road from 31 goals scored.
  • Ever since his late equalizer against FC Cincinnati, forward Tucker Hume has experienced a second life with Nashville. Hume started only one match the first 20 games, but since then he has started 11 of the last 13 matches and scored 6 goals. Perhaps the “Big Bird” nickname has wings?
  • How does Cincinnati’s 22-game unbeaten streak stack up against Richmond’s? FC Cincinnati has more wins in the same period (17-13) and has scored more goals (49-42). Then again, Richmond’s schedule in 2013 was more strenuous—they had an 8-game road trip during their streak that took them from Orlando to Vancouver over the span of a month. Richmond also had three pairs of games that were played on back-to-back days.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of the regular-season finale in Nashville.

Match Program: FC Cincinnati at Pittsburgh Riverhounds

FC Cincinnati heads to Pittsburgh in attempt to elongate their 10-match USL record winning streak and 21-game unbeaten stretch.

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Design: CSDIV / Image: Ryan Meyer

With the USL regular-season silverware celebration captured in Cincinnati sports history now, many are ready for the playoffs to begin. However, FC Cincinnati has two more regular season matches left to play. This Saturday at Highmark Stadium, FC Cincinnati squares off against rivals Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. The Orange & Blue are 5-0-3 all-time versus the Riverhounds in all competitions.

This will be the fourth time these sides square off this season, the third in the regular season. Both of the previous USL matches were played at Nippert Stadium. In April, FCC was able to find an equalizer not just once, but twice to scratch out a come-from-behind 2-2 draw. On Labor Day weekend, the Orange & Blue erased an early second-half deficit, and Fanendo Adi’s display of strength and skill delivered the game-winning, playoff-clinching goal in the 88th minute. Let’s revisit that spectacular first goal in Orange & Blue for Adi one more time.

Pittsburgh is battling Louisville City for 2nd place overall in the Eastern Conference and will be gunning for the full 3 points on Saturday. They are tied at 57 points each with three matches left, but Louisville currently owns the first tiebreaker scenario. Since their loss to FCC on September 1st, the Riverhounds are unbeaten in their last five matches (3-0-2). In this stretch, they have uncharacteristically played higher scoring matches, scoring 13 and allowing 7 goals. Pittsburgh is 9-2-6 at home this season.

The Orange & Blue are riding a league record 10-match winning streak and 21-game unbeaten stretch. With a win or draw on Saturday, FCC will tie the USL modern record of 22 matches set by the Richmond Kickers during the 2013 season. FC Cincinnati comes in with an astounding 11-1-3 road record this campaign. Saturday’s line-up can go in many directions, considering Alan Koch deployed 22 total players over the last two games. Forward Danni König will be unavailable as he’s suspended one match for yellow-card accumulation. Regardless of who gets the starting nod, there is pride, playoff preparation, and an MLS roster spot to fight for.

Fast Facts

Here are five fast facts to get you ready for Saturday’s 7 pm away match vs Pittsburgh.

  • Best Offense vs Best Defense – FCC boasts the USL’s top offense with 69 goals and a sublime 22% conversion scoring rate. The Riverhounds come into the match with the staunchest defense, allowing just 23 goals total and keeping 16 clean sheets. That converts to a paltry 0.74 goals against average (GAA) per match and a clean sheet 52% of the time.
  • Of those 23 goals and 0.74 GAA given up by Pittsburgh, FC Cincinnati has scored 4 times in two league matches against the Riverhounds, a 2.00 GAA. Combine that with the 3 tallies FCC knocked in during the U.S. Open Cup third-round game in May and FCC has been the exception this year in scoring against Pittsburgh.
  • The Jamaican trio of Neco Brett, Kenardo Forbes, and Romeo Parkes have held the lion’s share of Pittsburgh’s offensive production this season. They have accumulated 24 of the team’s 45 goals (Brett has 15 of these). In addition, Forbes and Brett have accounted for 15 of the squad’s 32 total assists.
  • Interestingly, FCC’s distribution figures for the season are quite a bit higher than Pittsburgh’s. The Orange & Blue pass at a rate of 342 successful passes per game as compared to the Riverhounds’ 308 per game. Cincinnati leads the PA-side in passing accuracy, 77.4% to 72.1%.
  • FC Cincinnati currently has three players with double-digit goals this season (Emmanuel Ledesma – 16, Danni König – 11 and Nazmi Albadawi – 10). Should “Magic-Man” Corben Bone score one more goal this season, it will be the first time a USL squad has four different players on a team reach this pivotal mark in a single season.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage on Saturday night’s penultimate regular season game in Pittsburgh.