Match Program: FC Cincinnati vs Tampa Bay Rowdies

Orange & Blue Press’ Match Program supplies the information and fast facts you need for FC Cincinnati’s league meeting with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

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Design: CSDIV / Images: Ryan Meyer (cover)  Joe Craven (both infographic photos)

FC Cincinnati returns to Nippert Stadium on Saturday to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies for a 7:30pm kickoff. It’s the first time this season these teams have met in league play and the first of a long stretch of home games for the Orange & Blue. Although they couldn’t manage a goal or a win in Nashville last weekend, Alan Koch’s side is still in first place and undefeated in their last seven games.

Historically, the Rowdies have proven to be a difficult opponent. The Orange & Blue are 0-3-1 all time versus Tampa Bay in league and playoff matches. However, FCC topped the Rowdies during the 2018 preseason. They managed a 1-0 victory in Bradenton at the end of March, courtesy of a second-half Garrett Halfhill strike. The last time they played Tampa Bay competitively was in the first round of last year’s playoffs, where FCC was eliminated with a thorough 3-0 defeat. During last year’s USL season FC Cincinnati drew with the Rowdies 1-1 at Nippert and lost 2-0 at Al Lang Stadium in early July.

Tampa Bay is not in stellar form at the moment. They’ve only won one game in their past five, and that was against bottom-of-the-East Toronto FC II. A preseason favorite to finish in the top four, the Rowdies currently sit in eleventh place in the Eastern Conference. Just under two months ago, head coach Stuart Campbell stepped down after four straight shutout losses and a 4-5-0 start to the season. 34-year-old defender Neill Collins transitioned from player to coach, and the team is 2-2-4 since he’s taken the reins.

The Rowdies have also made some key roster changes recently. Most importantly, German international midfielder Marcel Schäfer departed the club to become the sporting director of VfL Wolfsburg. Midfielder Jack Blake was also loaned from Tampa to Real Monarchs of the Western Conference. In response, the Rowdies bolstered their roster with the June signings of Afrim Taku, Dominic Oduro, and Kwadwo Poku. They also announced the signing of New York Red Bulls striker Stefano Bonomo on July 3rd.

Fast Facts

Here are four fast facts to get you ready for Saturday’s 7:30 kickoff at Nippert Stadium.

  • FC Cincinnati has four clean sheets in their last six matches played and are averaging 0.83 goals against per game during that period. Compare that to Tampa Bay who has conceded 1.33 goals per game and just one clean sheet over the same period.
  • FCC has only scored 1 goal ever against Tampa Bay in a competitive match. That goal came last year in a 1-1 draw at Nippert Stadium. Fan favorite Harrison Delbridge scored that goal with a header, capitalizing on a Kenney Walker corner kick.
  • Marcel Schäfer will be difficult for the Rowdies to replace. In the first half of the 2018 season, he had 4 assists, 40 key passes, and 75 crosses at a team-leading accuracy of 29.3%. That’s 31 more crosses than anyone on FC Cincinnati’s roster, despite playing one less match.
  • Corben Bone and Emmanuel Ledesma lead FC Cincinnati with 16 starts each and are consequently also the team’s leaders in minutes played; Bone with 1424 minutes and Ledesma with 1362.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati versus the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 3 – 0 FC Cincinnati: Four Numbers That Mattered

FC Cincinnati’s sophomore season came to a disappointing close on Saturday in the first round of the USL playoffs.

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FC Cincinnati was eliminated in the first round of the USL playoffs by the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night. They fell by a score of 3-0, ending their second season as a professional franchise.

Tampa Bay dropped two early goals on the Orange and Blue, despite a positive start from Alan Koch’s side. Both goals were scored from the foot of midfielder Marcel Schäfer in the first 25 minutes of play. The first goal saw Schafer run through 1-on-1 with Hildebrandt where he snuck a soft strike past Mitch from a tight angle. The German international’s second goal was a 25-yard strike through traffic that found the lower right corner.

Tampa Bay added a third goal in the second half to ice the game. Georgi Hristov took a speculative shot from outside the box on Tampa’s left side. The ball beat Hildebrandt, hit the crossbar, and ricocheted down and into the goal. Any hope of a comeback was gone at that point and FC Cincinnati’s sophomore campaign came to a close in disappointing fashion.

Head coach Alan Koch had the following to say after the match.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed. Anytime you lose in a cup game, it’s not fun. You could see the players left everything they had out on the pitch tonight. Individual errors cost us a lot and we actually played quite well at times tonight. You get yourself into a bit of a hole, two nothing down. …Unfortunately, this cup run isn’t as pleasurable as our other Cup run.”

Four Numbers That Mattered

8 – The minute of the play when Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead. FC Cincinnati had not scored a goal at Al Lang Stadium in two matches prior to Saturday’s game. Going down a goal early against one of the best defensive teams in the Eastern Conference was something they simply couldn’t afford to do.

4 – The jersey number of Marcel Schäfer. Tampa Bay’s German international was a thorn in FC Cincinnati’s side during the regular season and Saturday was no different. He’s scored 3 goals in 3 games against the Orange and Blue and his first-half brace put this contest out of reach early.

1 –  The number of shots on target from FC Cincinnati on Saturday night. FCC has the ability to generate offense and create chances. In this match, they created 10 shots, just 2 less than their opponent. But using those chances to test the goalkeeper is something they’ve struggled to do all season.

2.4 – FC Cincinnati’s goals against average (GAA) over their last five matches. That average includes the clean sheet kept against the Charlotte Independence on September 29th. If defense wins championships, it’s easy to see why FCC did not advance far in the 2017 playoffs.

With FC Cincinnati’s 2017 season now in the books, eyes and ears in the Queen City will turn toward the MLS expansion conversation and the December announcement of two winning bids. Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more news, analysis, and color commentary on FC Cincinnati.

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FC Cincinnati 1 – Tampa Bay Rowdies 1: Dacres Sees Red in Comeback Draw

A controversial red card could have spoiled FC Cincinnati’s night, but they held on to split the points with the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Nippert.

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Photo courtesy of Ryan Meyer Photography

A 10 man FC Cincinnati earned a 1-1 draw against a physical Tampa Bay Rowdies side at Nippert Stadium on Wednesday evening. The match was played in front of 15,227 fans on a beautiful spring night in Cincinnati. After an astonishing seventh minute thunderbolt from Tampa Bay midfielder Marcel Schäfer, FC Cincinnati equalized from a corner kick. Kenney Walker provided the service and Harrison Delbridge out-jumped his marker to head-home his first goal of the season. The opening half ended level at 1-1.

Match Photos: FC Cincinnati 1 – Tampa Bay Rowdies 1

An evenly played second half featured equal possession and a smattering of chances for either team prior to the 75th minute. It was then that Kadeem Dacres was sent-off in questionable fashion when his high boot caught Tampa Bay forward Deshorn Brown in the abdomen. The foul appeared clumsy as Kadeem tried to reclaim the bouncing ball, but the referee judged it dangerous and ejection-worthy. FC Cincinnati shut-up shop for the final 15 minutes plus stoppage time and came out with a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

For play-by-play details of the match’s events, see the match recap on Last Word on Soccer below.

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MLS Expansion Rivals Share Spoils in Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati rises to 5th place in the Eastern Conference after the draw. There’s no rest for the weary though. Alan Koch’s side has two days to recover before they host Louisville City FC at Nippert on Saturday in the first leg of the Dirty River Derby.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of the final chapter of FC Cincinnati’s opening week of 2017.

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