USL History

Match Preview: FCC at Louisville City FC


Orange and Blue to square off with Louisville in top of the table clash

FC Cincinnati (18-3-6, 60 pts.) will head down I-71 for a rivalry match at Louisville City FC (13-5-8, 47 pts.) on Saturday. The match is set for 7:30 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Field and will be televised live on WSTR 64 and also streamed live on ESPN+.

The Orange and Blue are in the midst of a historic run, posting a 12-0-4 record since June 2, including a five-game winning streak, which is the longest in club history. With that said, FCC will face arguably its toughest test of the season when it travels to Louisville Slugger Field to take on the Eastern Conference’s second-place team. Louisville City comes into the match having picked up points in eight of nine matches, posting a 5-1-3 mark since July 21.

While Cincinnati sits at the top of the Eastern Conference table, Louisville City FC is the only Eastern Conference team against which FCC has not picked up points this season. Following the most recent matchup between the two sides at the end of May, FC Cincinnati has gone unbeaten in 16 consecutive matches.

Saturday’s match will conclude FC Cincinnati’s regular season series with Louisville City FC. Although FCC head coach Alan Koch finds significance in the rivalry, the most important thing is another opportunity for three points.

“I care about rivalries, of course. I think it’s a beautiful part of our sport – just having regional rivalries and derbies are a huge part of things – but at the end of the day, it’s just another three points,” Koch said. “I think the second us as players and coaches get caught up in things like that and start thinking of it more than a three-point game, I think we start to lose our focus. We played Pittsburgh. It was a three-point game. We won that game and we have the same expectations of ourselves this Saturday against Louisville.”

Although FCC dropped two matches to Louisville City at Nippert Stadium earlier this year, Cincinnati has found success on the road this season. The Orange and Blue have posted an 8-1-3 record on the road over the course of the year, claiming points in 11-of-12 matches.

Midfielder Kenney Walker recognizes the importance of Saturday’s match when considering the context of the current USL standings.

“It’s another 1 vs. 2 again, back-to-back weekends. But, I think it’s a little more than that, especially with [the opponent] being Louisville,” Walker said. “Keeping that mental sharpness, I think, trying to finish out and being first overall throughout the league is our goal. So, if it gets to playoff time, then we have homefield all the way through to the finals. That’s what we’re shooting for now, but at the same time, every weekend is just three points at a time.”


Two of the USL’s biggest offensive threats could square off on Saturday evening. Cincinnati’s Emmanuel Ledesma leads the USL in assists (11), while Louisville’s Cameron Lancaster leads the USL in goals (18). Both players have been named USL Player of the Month this season, with Lancaster claiming the award for April and Ledesma being honored for June.

In addition, both players come into Saturday’s match in good form. Ledesma has notched four goals and an assist over FCC’s last five matches, while Lancaster has recorded five goals over LouCity’s last four matches.

The firepower extends beyond the two MVP candidates, however. FC Cincinnati (55) and Louisville City FC (52) rank second and third respectively in goals scored among Eastern Conference teams, and are both in the top five in all of the USL.


FC Cincinnati’s depth will be tested on Saturday, as the Orange and Blue will be without defender Pa Konate and midfielder Michael Lahoud due to international duty. Lahoud (Sierra Leone) and Konate (Guinea) will represent their respective nations in Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers scheduled for this Sunday.

After serving one-match suspensions, both center back Paddy Barrett and left back Blake Smith will be available for selection in Saturday’s match. Barrett has worn the captain’s armband in three of the club’s last five contests. Meanwhile, Smith is FCC’s highest scoring defender, with one goal and four assists on the season. Both players featured in Cincinnati’s most recent road victory, a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Aug. 25.