USL History

Match Preview: FCC at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC


USL Regular-Season Champions FC Cincinnati (23-3-6, 75 pts.) will be on the road on Saturday for the penultimate match of the regular-season. The Orange and Blue will travel to Highmark Stadium to take on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (15-4-12, 57 pts.) for the third USL regular-season match between the two sides this year. The game is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised on WSTR 64 and also streamed live on ESPN+.

FC Cincinnati comes into Saturday’s match following a 3-0 win over Indy Eleven on the night when the club was presented with the 2018 USL Regular-Season Championship.

The Orange and Blue will conclude their 2018 USL regular-season schedule with a pair of road games that will not impact FC Cincinnati’s playoff standing. Both matches, however, provide FC Cincinnati with an opportunity to fine tune a few details and remain sharp prior to the USL Cup Playoffs. According to FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch, it’s a benefit to be playing against opponents who still have meaningful games to play.

“It’s a really nice situation as far as I’m concerned, to play Pittsburgh and play Nashville, [who] are both competing for things still,” Koch said. “[The games are] going to be very, very meaningful games for them, but also meaningful games for us in terms of preparation, preparing ourselves for the postseason. I’m glad we’re playing two quality teams in the last two weeks, because you don’t want to let off and you don’t want to slow down, you want to be ramping up to get yourself ready for the postseason.”

FC Cincinnati will look to maintain their current 21-match unbeaten streak (17-0-4), as well as their USL-record 10-match winning streak. Should FC Cincinnati win or draw against Pittsburgh on Saturday, it will tie the USL record for most consecutive matches unbeaten in a single-season, reaching the mark of 22 matches set by the Richmond Kickers in 2013.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC enters Saturday’s match following a 2-2 draw against the Charlotte Independence on Saturday, Sept. 29. The visiting side is currently in third place in the Eastern Conference standings and are currently level in points to second-place Louisville City FC.

The two teams have already met twice in USL matches this season. The two sides played to a 2-2 draw at Highmark Stadium in the first meeting on April 2, while the Orange and Blue won 2-1 at Nippert Stadium in the second match on Sept. 1. In three seasons, FCC is an unbeaten 4-0-3 against Pittsburgh in all-time USL meetings.

Midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin is coming off his 100th appearance across all competitions for FC Cincinnati, when he started and recorded two assists in the club’s 3-0 win over Indy Eleven. The midfielder notes that he has additional confidence following the strong performance.

“It’s huge for me. Whenever you can put together a strong game like that, I think you try to carry the momentum and use it to keep building on it and replicate those performances throughout the rest of the season,” McLaughlin said. “It was really important for me and I’m excited to go out there and use that momentum and continue on with this good form through the final part of the season.”

In addition to maintaining his level of play as in individual, McLaughlin notes the importance for the team to keep focus and conclude the rest of the regular-season schedule on a high note.

“It’s massive. You don’t want to take any weeks off,” McLaughlin said “Every game needs to be treated as a playoff game at this point. We need to do whatever we can to prepare for it. You can’t go into the playoffs with a bit of a lull. Once you get into the playoffs, it’s do-or-die. The margin for error is very small, so we need to make sure we’re firing on all cylinders.”