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Friendly Preview: HB Køge

By Staff, 02/26/16, 4:00PM EST

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FC Cincinnati’s third and final preseason friendly at the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic kicks off early evening on Saturday against Danish side HB Køge. And though it might just be preseason, the boys are actually in a really good position to nab the club’s first ever piece of silverware tomorrow. Preseason or not, that’s pretty impressive given these are the first three games they’ve ever played.

Technically, all four teams at IMG still have a shot at the title. But with their opening draw and Wednesday’s 2-1 win over New York City FC, FCC currently sit atop the tournament table. The lead, though, is a very thin one:

Position Club Points Wins Losses Draws Goal Difference
1 FC Cincinnati 4 1 0 1 +1
2 New York CIty FC 3 1 1 0 +1
3 HB Køge 3 1 1 0 -1
4 KR Reykjavík 1 0 1 1 -1

A draw against HB Køge could be enough to take home the title, but if that result plays out we’ll need some help from KR — in the form of a win or draw against New York City FC — in Saturday’s second match to pull it out. But a win against Køge would put FCC out of reach and ensure the trophy comes home to Cincinnati.

And just as with the previous two games in the tournament, we’ve got all the details about what you need ahead of this weekend’s final fixture.

WHEN IS IT HAPPENING:
Saturday, February 27th, at 5:00pm

THE OPPOSITION:
Our third and final opponent in Florida will be Denmark’s HB Køge. Founded in 2009 when Herfølge Boldklub and Køge Boldklub merged, the club currently plays in the Danish First Division — which is actually the second division behind the top-tier Danish Superliga.

More commonly known as the shortened HBK or by their nickname of Svanerne — ‘The Swans’ in English — the team have had two stints in the Superliga, the last coming during the 2011/2012 season. And though they normally sport blue and black striped kits, don’t be surprised if they rock their orange aways so that FCC can finally trot out their primarily-blue home kits.

RECENT RESULTS:
FCC: A preseason grain of salt taken, it’s been a very positive first few matches for FCC at IMG. A 2-2 draw against KR Reykjavic in the first match and a 2-1 win against Major League Soccer’s New York City FC on Wednesday sees the team sitting at the tournament table summit, but there’s been late game dramatics in both matches. All four of their goals in Florida have been scored after the 75th minute, and they’ve conceded three times in the second half as well. Likely on the agenda for Coach Harkes’ charges: capitalizing on chances earlier in the match, and not losing focus in the later stages.

HBK: Unlike the two previous opponents FCC have faced at IMG, the Swans are actually in the middle of a season. Like all leagues in Denmark, the First Division breaks for the harsh Nordic winters. Riding a 3-match winning streak into the break, HBK currently sit in 7th place in the 12 team league. At IMG, the sit third in the table after a 2-0 loss to New York City FC last weekend and 2-1 win over KR on Wednesday. With a shot at the title also a realistic possibility, expect the Danes to trot out a mostly first choice team to try to build some momentum ahead of the resumption of their season in two weeks.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: 
This, like both of the other squads faced in Florida and many more to come in the first half of our inaugural season, is the first time we’ve faced HB Køge.

WHO TO WATCH:
FCC: A battle for the forward spots is starting to develop within FC Cincinnati’s ranks. Recent signee Sean Okoli looked sharp in his start against and NYCFC, and two goals in two appearances for Luke Spencer has likely made an impression on the coaching staff, too. With Harkes yet to settle on a formation — we’ve seen the team in 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 set ups — the intensity of that battle might ramp up if only a single traditional striker is ultimately fielded.

NYCFC: The Swans have spread around the scoring in the first half of their 2015/16 campaign, with 9 different goal scorers netting thus far. Their biggest attacking threat: 21-year-old Danish youth international, Kristian Andersen. The diminutive midfielder has four goals and an assist to his name thus far. Behind him with three goals was Brazilian Brandão dos Santos, but he was sold to fellow Danish side Vendsyssel FF in the January transfer window.

THE VENUE:
This is the team’s third and final match at Bradenton, Florida’s IMG Academy Suncoast Pro Classic.

HOW YOU CAN WATCH:
As was the case in the previous two matches, the games are available to stream via IMG’s own website. Access to the stream costs $5.99 for a 24 hour pass, which also nets you access to the replays of the previous two games in Florida.

And just like we have for the previous matches too, several of our Pub Partners will show the game so you can watch in the company of fellow supporters! Six local pubs will be livestreaming the match on their TV’s for free:

  • Official Viewing Party Partner Taste of Belgium in Clifton will once again have the game on all of their screens.
  • OTR’s Rhinehaus was wall-to-wall for Wednesday’s NYCFC game, and it will once again play host to supporters group, Die Innenstadt. Also expected to join is SG as well.
  • The Pride supporters group will be meeting at the Brass Tap in Clifton.
  • Also streaming the game will be Covington’s Molly Malone’s,The Pub in Rookwood and Listermann Brewing in Evanston.

SOCIAL:
For those unable to catch the match stream, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @fccincinnati for live match updates. Halftime and full time updates will also be available on our Facebook page.