It took extra time, but the floodgates eventually opened and FC Cincinnati earned passage to the third round of the US Open Cup by defeating Detroit City FC on Wednesday.
FC Cincinnati launched its 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign with a decisive 4-1 victory over Detroit City FC in front of a sold-out crowd at Gettler Stadium on Wednesday. It took time but the floodgates eventually opened. The much anticipated second round match started with FC Cincinnati taking control early. The Orange & Blue had most of the possession and Detroit City FC team seemed content to sit back and absorb pressure.
Although that tactic produced chances for FC Cincinnati, none of them resulted in an opening goal. The situation changed in the 31st minute when DCFC collected an errant pass, countered and scored a goal through Shawn Lawson to put the visitors ahead.
That goal would be answered by FC Cincinnati less than four minutes later as Forrest Lasso headed a cross back toward goal for Emery Welshman. The Canadian headed into the net bringing the game back to level. The pace significantly picked up after the second goal but the 1-1 score carried into the halftime break.
The second half would see the starting eleven for both squads come out pushing the attack. Alan Koch made three substitutions after the break but no one could break though and the contest pushed into overtime.
Corben Bone scored the eventual winner just minutes into extra time by neatly finishing a perfect ball cut back from end line by Emery Welshman. The floodgates then opened and Welshman added two more extra time goals to claim a hat trick.
Bone’s game winning goal in the third minute of extra time.
With tonight’s result FC Cincinnati earned its third straight second round win in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Emery Welshman earned the club’s first hat trick in any Open Cup match competition. He also assisted on Bone’s game winning goal.
The starting eleven included nine changes from last Saturday’s match against the Charlotte Independence. Paddy Barrett started at center back and wore the armband for the Orange & Blue. Nazmi Albadawi and Evan Newton both returned from injury and took places in the starting lineup.
It’s on to round three in pursuit of the Cup. FC Cincinnati travels north to face Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC next Wednesday, May 23rd, at Highmark Stadium. The Riverhounds advanced 2-1 versus Erie Commodores FC at Gannon University Field in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
But first FC Cincinnati returns to USL league play this Saturday at Nippert Stadium against USL newcomers North Carolina FC. The Orange and Blue will strive for three points at home to help solidify their spot at the top of the Eastern Conference table.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.
FC Cincinnati starts its 2018 U.S. Open Cup run against one of the most counter-culture soccer teams in the country, Detroit City FC.
Matchup: FC Cincinnati (USL) vs. Detroit City FC (NPSL) 2018 U.S. Open Cup, 2nd Round When: May 16th (Wednesday), 7:30 PM Where: Gettler Stadium, University of Cincinnati
Over the short span of two years, FC Cincinnati has matured quickly in the U.S. Open Cup. With the team’s unfathomable trek into the 2017 tournament behind them, it tends to get forgotten that they almost got bounced by AFC Cleveland in the second round. The defending NPSL champions held FCC’s feet to the fire and lasted well into extra time before Djiby’s header in the 115th minute sealed the 1-0 win.
While 2016 was an initiation to the U.S. Open Cup, 2017 was an exploration within it. It’s now 2018, and FC Cincinnati’s hunt for gold also now makes them the hunted. The team going after them just so happens to be one of the most colorful, anti-establishment teams out there, Detroit City FC.
FC Cincinnati’s quest to enter MLS has clashed with the Motor City’s own expansion committee. However, if you were to ask a member of the Northern Guard Supporters—DCFC’s primary supporters group—about the possibility of joining MLS, they would likely turn the offer down. The general sentiment is that the team doesn’t want to be affiliated with any attempt to join.
How Detroit City got here
DCFC’s quest to this point went through a familiar route—the Michigan Bucks. Hosting the Bucks at their home grounds, Detroit City got on the board first in the 57th minute. A stray header pinged off the crossbar, only for forward Shawn Lawson to smash the rebound in from up close. However, the Bucks equalized off an Alfonso Pineirho penalty kick in the 84th minute.
Despite a Greg Janicki red card in the 95th minute, Detroit City got through extra time with only 10 men. Although they were down early in sudden death, goalkeeper Nate Steinwascher made a key save late in the session, and forward Roddy Green scored the decider to win 6-5 in penalty kicks. DCFC now makes their way to the U.S. Open Cup second round for the second time ever.
What we should know about DCFC
While DCFC is more known for their renegade approach to soccer, there is still a lot to learn. Detroit City FC, who are ya?!
Detroit City FC started in 2010 without any affiliation or solid ties to previous teams from Detroit. It took a spark from one future owner forming a recreational league, the Detroit City Futbol League (DCFL). From the positive response and growth within the league, the idea for a team blossomed. Five of the players from two rival teams put DCFC together as an amateur team in the NPSL in 2012, only for the attendance in the first year to balloon to over almost 1,300 per game.
DCFC is helmed by Ben “Caesar” Pirrman. The head coach got the nickname when he accidentally said “Caesar” instead of “season” during an interview. In Pirrman’s five years, DCFC has won a division title, made the NPSL playoffs three times, and qualified for the U.S. Open Cup four times.
In 2017, DCFC went 9-2-3 during the regular season, reaching the National Semifinals before losing to Midland-Odessa in penalty kicks. The record crowd of 7,533 was no surprise. Detroit City led the NPSL in attendance last year at almost 6,000 per game at Keyworth Stadium.
Detroit City has faced a USL team once before in U.S. Open Cup play, losing to Louisville City FC 3-1 in penalty kicks in 2016. In fact, of the five games Detroit City has played in the U.S. Open Cup, four finished in penalty kicks (two wins, two losses).
DCFC has managed to maintain quite a bit of their roster over the offseason. Starting midfielder Cyrus Saydee is the last player left from their debut 2012 season, and DCFC’s goal scorer from last week, Shawn Lawson, led the team last year with nine goals. The team has also returned captain David Edwardson, vice-captain Seb Harris, and defenders Stephen Carroll and Omar Sinclair. They recently signed former USMNT and Colorado Rapids player Joshua Gatt as a winger. Overall, DCFC has 12 players who were on the team last year, a decent turnover for the squad.
The last time Detroit City FC played in Cincinnati was in 2015, back when the Cincinnati Saints played in the NPSL. On June 20th, the final match of their “rivalry” started with an early Saints goal and a second-half red card to Detroit City, only for Le Rouge to push three late goals in for a 3-1 win. The celebration by the Northern Guard set off so many smoke bombs that the fire department had to pay a visit.
While the Northern Guard has shown themselves to have a rough exterior both in person and online, they and the team itself have done much for the community in Detroit. Since 2013, the team has focused on a local charity each year and have created special kits for each organization to be worn at a home game. The Northern Guard has also set up “Let’s Make Roots”, a ticket distribution initiative for kids and families who are not able to afford to come to matches. (This is similar to the “Sports Games for Kids” initiative in Cincinnati.)
The difference in vision and philosophy between FCC and Detroit City should be the main fuel for this opening game. If FC Cincinnati’s drive in the past was to show MLS teams like Columbus and Chicago that they could compete, that same drive will be coming from Le Rouge and the Northern Guard in a match that has the potential to become an instant classic.
(Our thanks to Andrew Goode from Boys in Rouge for providing feedback and information for this article.)
Corben Bone shares his thoughts on FC Cincinnati’s recent offensive success and Alan Koch talks US Open Cup, recent success, and making mistakes.
Orange and Blue Press checked in with Corben Bone and Alan Koch at FC Cincinnati’s training session on Thursday. It was their third session of the week following last Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Atlanta United 2. FCC travels to Charlotte today ahead of a league clash with the Charlotte Independence on Saturday.
Plano, Texas native Corben Bone has been a constant in Alan Koch’s plans so far this season. Bone has started all eight games, played the most minutes of any midfielder, and has three goals and an assist in his past three outings.
In the audio below, hear Corben’s thoughts on his role in FCC’s prolific offense, the challenges of travel with a little one at home, and how he is approaching this year’s U.S. Open Cup (2:55).
FC Cincinnati’s head coach emphasized that he is focused first on their USL fixture against Charlotte this weekend. With that said, he was kind enough to also share his thoughts on how they are approaching this year’s U.S. Open Cup.
“Last year we really focused on the cup. . . It was a mechanism that could put our club on the national landscape, and help grow people’s awareness of what FCC is about. This year we’re going to try to focus on both competitions. We’re going to take the USL very seriously, but we’re going to take the cup seriously too. We want to win every single game.”
He also preached focus ahead of the Detroit City match, and highlighted the dangers of looking beyond it to opponents from higher leagues.
“Let’s not think about last year. Let’s not think about playing MLS teams. Let’s think about Detroit City next week. Anytime you overlook something, you put yourself in a precarious position . . . Next week will be a very difficult game. As we’ve proven last year, anything can happen in one game, in a cup game.”
Coach Koch also discussed how he will build on the team’s recent success and the importance of creating an environment where the players feel comfortable making mistakes (1:41).
For all the particulars of tomorrow’s match in North Carolina, be sure to check out our Match Program preview.
The 105th U.S. Open Cup is here! What matchups should you be watching before FC Cincinnati joins in the next round?
Next week, FC Cincinnati starts their third year in the 105th United States Open Cup, entering the national knock-out competition in the second round. The story last year may have ended in heartbreak in the semifinals, but the national attention made the final prize much more desirable. The tournament itself has been gaining steam as streaming services allow more games to be viewed by a national audience.
While FCC awaits their first opponent, the first round is starting in earnest. Amateur teams from Division IV and lower take aim at each other before matching up against the USL in the second and third rounds. The MLS teams join in the fourth round, and the bracket is trimmed down until a singular team is crowned in September.
The turnover in the amateur ranks is constant and unpredictable, but there are still exciting teams and games to witness. Here is a list of five games that could set the dominoes for this year’s next shocking upsets.
(Games can be accessed at ussoccer.com, but there is no guarantee that all of these games will be streamed online.)
FC Tucson – 5th appearance.
La Máquina – 3rd appearance.
La Máquina FC is one of the more notable names from the United Premier Soccer Leagues, a fifth-division league that covers 19 states and 90 teams. “The Machine” is one of three UPSL teams that made a dent in the 2016 U.S. Open Cup. La Máquina defeated their rival, L.A. Wolves, in the third round, only to next be eliminated by L.A. Galaxy in added time. While they have a UPSL title to their name, La Máquina also are known for controversy—the team was suspended for six games in 2015 after a player-fan altercation.
Meanwhile, FC Tucson has steadily made ripples in the PDL’s Southwest Division, having won four straight divisional titles. While they have not won a PDL title yet, the team managed to surprise teams in the 2013 U.S. Open Cup, upsetting the then-NASL San Antonio Scorpions in the second round. Their local dominance in the PDL and partnership with the USL’s Phoenix Rising may have been a cornerstone for their next step—FC Tucson was named the second “founding member” for the upcoming USL Division-III experiment.
The cancellation of the 2018 NASL season threw an early wrench in the works, forcing some teams to retreat to the NPSL. While Miami FC and Jacksonville Armada got past their play-in competition, the Brooklyn Italians managed to slip past the New York Cosmos 3-2 to set up an intriguing match between two different types of teams tied to history.
The Italians’ current players were likely not even born the year when they were the cream of U.S. soccer. Brooklyn is one of America’s oldest teams, founded back in 1949 as a social club for Italian immigrants. While the team has changed its name and affiliations many times over the years, success has accompanied them. They have won the U.S. Open Cup twice (1979, 1991) and got as far as the second round of the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup the following years. Since their return to the NPSL in 2010, the team has been in the USOC six times, reaching the third round in 2014 before losing to…the New York Cosmos.
While Lansdowne’s history is not rooted as deeply, the team is still rooted in community. Based in Yonkers, Lansdowne has been the recent pride of New York amateur clubs, having won the local Cosmopolitan Soccer League four years in a row and the National Amateur Cup in 2017. The team forged bonds in an affiliation with Celtic FC in 2016, the same year they shocked the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the U.S. Open Cup second round.
With both teams anxious to face North Carolina FC in the next round, this rumble in New York City will be fun to watch.
The setup for the U.S. Open Cup became a little more complicated in 2015. Teams that were “majority owned by a higher-level Outdoor Professional League Team” could not be allowed to play in the tournament. However, their U-23 teams could participate, but could not face their parent club until the finals.
This has opened the door to a little-known rivalry being resumed in 2018. The Portland Timbers U-23 squad and Seattle-based Kitsap Pumas both used to be members of the PDL’s Northwest Division. Since the inception of both in 2009, Kitsap has held a distinct advantage with four divisional titles and a national title in 2011, while Timbers U-23 won their division and a national title in 2010.
Kitsap’s advantage has even held serve in the U.S. Open Cup, having appeared six times to Timbers U-23’s four. While Portland’s team hasn’t gotten past the second round, Kitsap got as far as the fourth round in 2016 by upsetting Sacramento Republic on the road. The teams have not played each other since Kitsap moved to the NPSL in 2017, so this game could set off some intense regional fireworks.
FC Cincinnati may have been the Cinderella of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup, but that’s not to say they enjoyed the entire spotlight. The glass slipper fit Maryland-based Christos FC just as well.
The amateur unit sponsored by a liquor store may not practice together regularly, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t succeeded. The team captured multiple local titles in 2016, including the USASA National Amateur Cup. CFC became the early story of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup tournament as the last amateur team standing, beating two Division-IV teams and Richmond Kickers (USL) before succumbing to D.C. United late in the fourth round.
Christos FC’s run may not be so easy this time around. Reading United AC has been to this party before. Originally the Reading Rage in the USL D-3 Pro League, Reading joined the Philadelphia Union as their U-23 affiliate in 2009 and has made the PDL playoffs seven times since then. While 2018 will be the tenth-straight year that Reading United has qualified for the Cup, they don’t just show up as a consolation prize. Reading has won their first-round USOC game the past six years and have twice reached the third round.
Detroit City – 4th appearance.
Michigan – 15th appearance.
The U.S. Open Cup tends to match up teams that are geographically near each other. While their stadiums are only 25 miles apart, you wouldn’t find two teams more diametrically opposed to each other.
The Michigan Bucks are inarguably one of the PDL’s most prestigious teams during the league’s 23-year history. Since their debut in 1996, the Bucks have won 14 division titles, had the best nationwide record four times, and won the PDL Championship three times (2006, 2014, 2016). Because of their lower-level success, they have appeared in 14 U.S. Open Cup tournaments, the most of any Division-IV team. The Bucks also made it to the third round six times, with their furthest run in 2012, when they made it to the fourth round. The Bucks are arguably the closest thing to an amateur-soccer dynasty in the United States.
If the Bucks are the shiny side of a quarter, Detroit City FC has to be the unpolished side of that same coin. The team may not be as glamorous, but they are worth the same exact value to the U.S. soccer landscape. Started in 2012, DCFC has been one of the most eclectic teams in the NPSL, their power coming from tight bonds between ownership, fans, players, and the community. Their attendance has steadily risen to almost 6,000 per game, and their supporter group’s refusal to conform has made them both grass-root darlings and soccer-pyramid rebels. The team was penalty kicks away from defeating Louisville City in the 2016 Open Cup second round and got as far as the NPSL national semifinals last year.
So far, Michigan and Detroit have faced each other twice in Open Cup play. In 2015, Michigan rode three first-half strikes to defeat DCFC in the first round. However, DCFC got an ounce of vengeance, winning in penalties in the 2016 first round. This could be the juiciest matchup of the first round, as the eventual victor is guaranteed to give FC Cincinnati a run for their money in the second.
What games have sparked your interest? Which Michigan-based team will FC Cincinnati face in the next round? Let us know what you think!
Expansion news from five markets competing with FC Cincinnati for a place in MLS including Charlotte, Detroit, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, and Sacramento.
This series of articles from Orange & Blue Press falls under the what have you done for me lately theme, and explores the most recent events in each city’s campaign to gain entry into MLS.
If you’re looking for the basics of the current MLS expansion situation, see our MLS Expansion 101 article.
The expansion landscape across ten cities is complex, dynamic, and several markets have a reasonable chance for a successful bid. Five of the ten expansion markets are covered in this article. A separate article will follow in close proximity and cover the remaining five. Cincinnati will be covered last in order to review how news from other markets affects the Cincinnati bid.
For each market, the TV market size, existing team, venue, and investment group are listed along with a summary of recent developments. This information is followed by links to relevant news articles and resources. It’s important to note that the existing team in a market does not necessarily become the MLS team if a bid is granted, particularly if the team’s ownership is not part of the MLS bid.
TV Market:Nielsen DMA #22* Existing Team:Charlotte Independence – USL Venue:Memorial Stadium, an existing historical stadium in the Elizabeth neighborhood of Charlotte that would be renovated and expanded Money: Investment group led by Marcus and Bruton Smith (Speedway Motorsports) Summary: Recent news discusses the impact that a successful MLS bid would have on the Independence. There is also news on attempts to secure partial public funding for the stadium renovation. A key funding vote at the county level is scheduled for 1/26. A city vote will follow shortly thereafter if approved. Recent News & Resources:
12/15 – Bruton Smith, the billionaire race track owner of Speedway Motorsports, and his son Marcus confirm they are in talks with MLS about an expansion team. [Charlotte Observer]
1/5 – County commission considers proposal to level Memorial Stadium and renovate with up to $100M with in tax revenue. [WSOC Charlotte]
1/6 – Mecklenberg County will have an open hearing on 1/24 to get input from the public on proposed use of tax money for stadium financing. [Charlotte Post]
1/10 – Charlotte Independence and owner could be out of the picture if MLS franchise is awarded to the Smiths. [Medium]
1/20 – Financial details of Charlotte’s stadium proposal are released. A key stadium funding vote is scheduled for 1/26. [Charlotte Business Journal]
TV Market:Nielsen DMA #13* Existing Team:Detroit City FC – NPSL – Detroit City FC is unlikely to be the MLS expansion team given the ownership group and supporter opposition to MLS expansion. Venue: Proposed $1 billion mixed-use stadium complex on the site of the stalled Wayne County jail project in Greektown Money: Investment group led by Dan Gilbert (Cleveland Cavaliers / Quicken Loans) and Tom Gores (Detroit Pistons) Summary: Detroit’s large TV market and pro sports ownership give this bid clout, but the stadium plan has been a sticking point (common theme). There’s not a lot of recent news from this bid except that their application will be ready in time. Recent News & Resources:
12/12 – Article explaining the anti-MLS sentiment of Detroit City FC supporters [SB Nation]
1/18 – The Detroit MLS investment group reports that they are on track to submit their MLS application on time at the end of January. [Detroit Sports Nation]
TV Market: Nielsen DMA #29* Future Team:Nashville SC – USL, to begin play in 2018 Venue: Stadium plans are in the early stages of development. The most promising idea includes a partnership with Vanderbilt University to build a stadium at the Fairgrounds in Nashville. Money: Investment group led by John Ingram (Ingram Industries), no official ties to Nashville SC Summary: This upstart bid has recently announced Ingram as their leader and is working on both public funding and a partnership with Vanderbilt University to build a stadium. Recent News & Resources:
12/19 – A bill was introduced to the state of Tennessee legislature that will help pay off future debt on a new soccer stadium. [Tennessean]
12/20 – Local businessman with ties to Vanderbilt University, John Ingram, is announced as leader of Nashville’s MLS bid. [Tennessean]
1/17 – Nashville’s ownership group is exploring a partnership with Vanderbilt University on a stadium, but the site of proposed stadium is still uncertain. [Nashville Business Journal]
1/18 – Nashville MLS Expansion Profile – Brian Straus [SI]
TV Market:Nielsen DMA #24* Existing Team:North Carolina FC previously Carolina Railhawks – NASL Venue: A proposed 24,000 seat stadium privately financed by the investors Money: Investment group led by Steve Malik (North Carolina FC and founder of Medfusion) Summary: Charlotte isn’t the only show in North Carolina, and Steve Malik’s aggressive bid boasts 100% private funding, which few others can claim. His recent purchase of a NWSL franchise shows commitment to the growth of pro soccer in the triangle. Recent News & Resources:
12/6 – The Carolina Railhawks re-brand as North Carolina FC in conjunction with their MLS bid, including the sale of various levels of membership that can be bought by fans and companies to show support. [WNCN]
12/16 – Article about Raleigh/Durham bid after December 15 MLS Board of Governors announcement. This article includes comments from Garber about the bid and North Carolina’s controversial HB2 legislation. [News & Observer]
1/9 – Announcement is made that North Carolina FC owner Steve Malik has purchased NWSL team Western New York Flash, which will be rebranded as the North Carolina Courage and begin play in Cary in 2017. [News & Observer]
TV Market: Nielsen DMA #20* Existing Team:Sacramento Republic FC – USL Venue: An approved $226M privately funded stadium complex will be built at the Railyards if an expansion slot is granted. Money: Investment group led by Warren Smith (Sacramento Republic FC) and Kevin Nagle (EnvisionRX Options) Summary: Sacramento’s bid is likely the most advanced of the ten. They were once considered a lock for the next expansion slot, and likely still are. The emergence of strong bids from across the nation means Sacramento has to play the application game with everyone else. Recent News & Resources:
11/10 – Sacramento stadium plan is approved by Sacramento City Council [Sacramento Bee]
12/21 – Sacramento MLS Expansion Profile – Brian Straus [SI]
Sacramento’s bid is perhaps the most mature of the ten and there are few recent developments outside of the critical stadium approval.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for the second set of five markets which will include Cincinnati. UPDATE: Part two of this series has been released, follow the link for expansion updates on Cincinnati, Saint Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa / St. Petersburg.
Do you know of recent news or key facts about these MLS expansion contenders not mentioned above? Let us know in the comments section.
*NOTE: Nielsen DMAs are referenced in this article for TV market size information. DMAs seem most relevant to television advertising, but which market size ranking to use is debatable. Some argue that these markets could be combined with other nearby markets to create a larger market (i.e.: Cincinnati/Dayton). Because DMA’s combine surrounding areas already and there is no clear evidence that MLS is evaluating any markets as combined, this series of articles will not do so.