USL History

Match Preview: FCC vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds


Orange and Blue return to Nippert Stadium to open September

FC Cincinnati (17-3-6, 57 pts.) is back at Nippert Stadium this weekend for a matchup with third-place Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (12-3-10, 46 pts.).

Cincinnati is in the midst of a 15-game unbeaten run, posting an 11-0-4 record since June 2, spanning the entirety of the last three months. In addition, the Orange and Blue have won four consecutive USL matches, giving FCC its all-time longest USL winning streak.

Saturday’s match is set for 7:30 p.m. at Nippert Stadium and will be televised on WSTR 64, carried live on The Project 100.7 FM and also streamed live on ESPN+. Tickets for the match are still available online at or by calling 513-977-KICK.

Pittsburgh enters the weekend unbeaten in its last six matches. In addition, the Hounds have conceded just 14 goals this season, fewest in all of the USL. When it comes to breaking down a resolute Pittsburgh side, FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch refers to what FCC was able to do in previous matchups this season.

“We’ve scored on them so far, and they’ve obviously scored on us too in the league game and the [U.S. Open] Cup game,” Koch said. “So, a little bit more of what we’ve done in the past will be good for us and then obviously trying to take away opportunities from allowing them to score. But, we feel confident no matter who we play against in this league that we can go into a game and create opportunities, and hopefully we’ll take them.”

While Pittsburgh has typically had success in keeping the opposition off the score sheet, Cincinnati scored twice when the two sides met at Nippert Stadium on April 21. FC Cincinnati has tallied multiple times in 17 of its last 22 matches and is averaging 2.20 goals per game over the course of the 15-match unbeaten streak.

Saturday’s match will feature two of the most prolific goal scorers in the USL this season. Cincinnati’s Emmanuel Ledesma and Pittsburgh’s Neco Brett have each recorded 13 goals on the year, tied for sixth-most among all USL players. While Ledesma has accounted for 24.5 percent of FCC’s goals, Brett has contributed 41.9 percent of the Riverhounds’ goals. Needless to say, containing Pittsburgh’s top scorer will be a key for Cincinnati.

In addition to the challenge of stopping one of the USL’s biggest offensive threats, the Orange and Blue backline will be forced to play Saturday’s contest without center back Paddy Barrett and left back Blake Smith, as both will be unavailable for selection due to one-match suspensions. Barrett will serve a suspension for yellow-card accumulation, while Smith will serve a suspension for picking up a red card in Cincinnati’s most recent match.

Koch notes that the backline does feature rotation throughout the season, so players that will receive a starting opportunity will be prepared. The loss of two players, however, will almost certainly have an effect on bench decisions.

“We’ll have to check on the health of our entire group just to see exactly who we’ll have available off the bench, We always like to have a full back and always like to have a center back on the bench,” Koch said. “We’ll have to sit down with medical and see exactly where the group is just to make sure we have that coverage, and if we don’t, there’s other players that are pliable and they can move around. If we have to make an adjustment, we can make an adjustment during the game.”