On Saturday, the City of Cincinnati picked up where it left off in 2016 – and then some –when it once again turned out in force for the 2017 FC Cincinnati home opener. And lucky us, we get to do it all again tomorrow with the second of three matches in eight days kicking off at Nippert Stadium! Another top opponent comes to town, it’s University of Cincinnati Night, plus $2 beers will be on offer, too. Get all the details and more in the full match preview below.
Newcomers, Tampa Bay Rowdies, come to Nippert for the first time this week following a jump to the USL this past offseason. A resurrection of the original NASL team that was one of the most popular and successful professional soccer clubs in the pre-MLS era, this incarnation of the Rowdies was founded in 2008 and began play in the new NASL in 2010.
FCC: After an up-and-down three game stretch on the road to start the season, returning to the friendly confines of Nippert Stadium proved a welcome change of scenery for FCC this past weekend. Despite the league leaders coming to town, a dominant performance saw them power past Saint Louis FC for a convincing 4-0 win. The victory lifted the team’s record back to .500 and they jumped seven places in the Eastern Conference table to sixth.
TBR: Tampa began life in the USL in fine form, winning three straight while simultaneously holding all three opponents scoreless. But their winning streak was halted on Saturday in their first away match of the young season, dropping a 2-1 result to Louisville City FC. But with plenty of firepower in the Rowdies’ squad, they’ll be confident in their ability to rebound in Cincinnati.
"We are excited to play against a team like Tampa this week. They have had an excellent start to the season and bring some major international stars with them to Nippert Stadium. We hope to build on our performance against Saint Louis and I know the squad is looking forward to another quality match."
- Head Coach Alan Koch
FCC: Reigning USL Player of the Week and currently topping the league scoring charts with six goals in four appearances, Djiby is the man of the hour for the Orange & Blue. He’ll undoubtedly prove a potent threat again on Wednesday night, but the question many are asking is: will he get any help? The Senegalese striker’s six goals also represent FCC’s total goal output this season. After a strong showing in his first start for the team, Vic Mansaray looked threatening and could be a good shout to help with the goal tally this week.
TBR: Leading the Rowdies in scoring with three goals in four appearances, veteran striker Georgi Hristov has been a constant goal threat during his now five seasons in St. Petersburg. But there’s also a plethora of experience on their team to keep an eye on. Chief among those are former English international Joe Cole. Once dubbed the “English Messi”, at 35, the midfielder still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Tampa also added Jamaican international Deshorn Brown and German international Marcel Schäfer to help bolster their squad this year. But while the experience in their ranks is notable, it’s also worth noting that Tampa boast one of the oldest teams in the USL this year with an average age just below 29 years old.
Despite playing in different leagues last year, Wednesday’s game will not be the first time FCC and the Rowdies have met. The two played once last year in St. Petersburg in a third round match up in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Unfortunately, Tampa came away 1-0 winners on that muggy Florida evening. And with nine of the starters from that night’s match still on the FCC team, retribution could be a motivating factor for the Orange & Blue.
There had been fears of the possibilities of showers on Wednesday, but those appear to be dissipating. Current forecasts call for weather in the high-70’s for Wednesday’s 7pm kickoff, but only cloudy skies. Humidity will be average, but the chance of precipitation at the time of writing never tops 15%.
This weekend’s match will be broadcast live on CW Cincinnati. Most local providers’ station information can be found below:
Over the Air: Channel 12.2
Cincinnati Bell Fioptics: Channel 17 (SD) or 517 (HD)
Spectrum/TWC (OH): Channel 20/13 (SD) or 989 (HD)
Spectrum/TWC (KY): Channel 20 (SD) or 989 (HD)
DirecTV: Channel 25
DISH: Not Available
The match has also been selected as the USL Game of the Week, and as such will also be broadcast live on ESPN3 / WatchESPN! Click here to stream it live.
In addition to it officially being UC Night – students, faculty and staff should check their emails for special pricing – it will also be our first-ever $2 Beer Night at Nippert Stadium! Fans aged 21-and-over can get 9-ounce American domestic draft pours at any of the physical concession stand locations around Nippert, excluding the beer gardens.