An information graphic provides the vital details for Saturday’s match between FC Cincinnati and the Charleston Battery. Plus, four fast facts.
FC Cincinnati continues a five game June home stand on Saturday with a critical matchup against Eastern Conference leaders the Charleston Battery. The Orange and Blue will be full of confidence, but short on rest, after dispatching Columbus Crew SC in the US Open Cup on Wednesday.
Charleston also played Wednesday, losing 3-2 to Atlanta United in the same US Open Cup tournament. Charleston is a bogey team for FC Cincinnati. The Orange and Blue are 0-3-1 against the Battery all-time, including a first round playoff defeat that ended their 2016 season. Charleston started 2017 in red-hot form, but have cooled down recently, going 2-1-2 over their last five matches played.
Alan Koch’s side has met Charleston already in 2017. In the season opener, the Battery downed FC Cincinnati by a 2-1 scoreline in South Carolina. Midfielder Justin Portillo scored the game winning goal from a penalty kick rebound to seal the victory.
Here are four fast facts to serve as a backdrop for Saturday’s contest.
Charleston’s Maikel Chang and Justin Portillo are one of the most dynamic midfield duos in USL. Combined they have produced 50 chances created*, 6 goals, and 7 assists in 13 matches played.
Left winger Jimmy McLaughlin leads FC Cincinnati in chances created (17) and is second only to Djiby Fall in total shots (12) and shots on target (8).
Charleston leads the Eastern Conference in goals scored (26), total shots (175), and conversion rate** (20%). FC Cincinnati currently ranks 10th, 5th, and 11th in the same categories.
It’s hard to beat FC Cincinnati at Nippert. In the past calendar year, they have only lost two regular season matches on home soil in 15 matches played. They lost to NY Red Bulls II last July, and to Orlando City B in May of this year. Aside from that, the only loss they have at Nippert is a playoff loss to the Charleston Battery side they will face on Saturday.
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of this weekend’s match.
FC Cincinnati vs Charleston Battery: FC Cincinnati’s record setting inaugural season comes to a close in the first round of the USL playoffs.
FC Cincinnati fell 2-1 to the Charleston Battery in the first round of the USL playoffs in front of 30,187 fans on Sunday. The enormous crowd at Nippert Stadium represents a USL postseason attendance record, breaking a 2013 record held by Orlando City.
The home team started on the front foot, taking the lead in the 19th minute when Eric Stevenson thundered a thirty yard blast into the the top right corner of Charleston’s goal. The show-stopping strike was good enough to earn him a spot on ESPN’s SportsCenter top 10 plays of the day.
The Orange and Blue gave one back in the 40th minute under circumstances that have become familiar in 2016’s storyline. They let in a soft goal five minutes before halftime from a throw-in. There was suspicion of a foul both on the Charleston throw and for a push on Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt as he made a play on the ball. Neither foul was called and the goal stood.
Charleston took a decisive lead, against the run of play, twenty minutes into the second half when Zach Prince redirected Maikel Chang’s corner kick into the FC Cincinnati goal. Tyler Polak got a touch on the ball as it went in, but full credit was awarded to Prince on the score sheet.
FC Cincinnati battled and pushed in the final 25 minutes of the game, as the near capacity crowd urged them on, but a stout and physical Battery defense would not break down. The game finished 2-1 and FC Cincinnati’s dream first season came to an abrupt end.
For more perspectives on the match, see the following worthy sources.
Despite the defeat, FC Cincinnati’s inaugural season must be categorized as nothing short of an overwhelming success. Kudos to the players, coaching staff, front office and especially the fans for making the 2016 season an instant classic. We started the season trying to prove that we were a soccer city, and finished showing that we are THE soccer city. It has been an honor to cover the first season of this club and I look forward to many more amazing moments colored in Orange and Blue.