FC Cincinnati open the 2023 MLS season at TQL Stadium on Saturday, February 25 against Houston Dynamo FC, with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s game will be the first time in club history that the Orange and Blue will host an MLS contest on Matchday 1.
Single match tickets for the home opener are still available at fccincinnati.com/tickets or by calling 513-977-KICK.
FC CINCINNATI vs HOUSTON DYNAMO FC – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. ET – TQL STADIUM
HOW TO WATCH
Stream: Apple TV – Free
TV Talent (English): Callum Williams (play-by-play), Calen Carr (analyst)
TV Talent (Spanish): Jose Hernandez (play-by-play), Pablo Marino (analyst)
Local Radio: FOX Sports 1360
Local Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play), Kevin McCloskey (analyst)
Fans can watch every minute of Matchday 1 across MLS for free on Apple TV thanks to MLS Season Pass.
Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the game.
To celebrate the opening match of the MLS season, FC Cincinnati will be hosting a free pre-match party at Washington Park. The festivities start at 4:30 p.m. with live music from the Naked Karate Girls, player autographs until 6:30 p.m., a pop-up team store and more.
The march from Washington Park meets in the park at 6:30 p.m., as fans are encouraged to arrive to the stadium early for a special pre-match happy hour with $2 off all alcohol at the Coors Light Corner and Heineken Draft Bar inside TQL Stadium. Hot chocolate will be offered for sale at the Rhinegeist Bar, Frisch’s, Coors Light Corner and Queen City Eats.
Fans will also want to arrive and get into their seats early for exciting elements that supporters won’t want to miss! For a full list of gameday activations, visit the matchday guide, HERE.
ALL TIME SERIES
FC Cincinnati and Houston Dynamo FC have met twice prior. The Orange and Blue lead the all-time series, 1-0-1 (1-0-0 in Cincinnati)
SCOUTING HOUSTON DYNAMO FC (2022: 10-18-6, 36 PTS, 13TH WESTERN CONFERENCE)
Houston will look to turn the page on what was a disappointing 2022 season, which saw the Dynamo finish near the bottom of the Western Conference table. The hiring of Head Coach Ben Olsen, coupled with a number of offseason signings, will have the Dynamo looking to bounce back in 2023.
Olsen joins Houston for his second head coaching job after spending more than a decade coaching D.C. United, taking over towards the end of the 2010 season though the 2020 season. Olsen earned MLS Coach of the Year honors in 2014 after leading United to a first-place Eastern Conference finish and reaching the conference semifinal. Under Olsen, D.C. United became a perennial playoff participant, earning a spot in the postseason competition from 2014-2016 and again during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
On the field, Sebastián Ferreira, who scored 13 goals in league competition in 2022, remains the danger man for Houston and will look to build on what was a strong first season in MLS for the Paraguayan international. Ferreira was a bright spot in a Houston attack that generated just 43 goals in 34 games, but the offseason signings of Amine Bassi and Iván Franco should add much needed support for Ferreira up front.
Houston conceded 56 goals last season and have seen changes across the backline heading into the 2023 season. The Dynamo traded veteran center back Tim Parker to St. Louis CITY SC and declined contract options for Zeca (José Carlos Cracco Neto) while adding five defenders to the first team roster.
Houston held their own at home last year (6-6-5) but struggled to find positive results on the road, going 4-12-1 away from Shell Energy Stadium. The Dynamo were just one of four teams to lose 12 road matches in 2022, but they kept things close with seven of those matches being decided by just one goal.
FC CINCINNATI NOTES
LET’S GET IT STARTED – FC Cincinnati turn the page to 2023, coming into the season on the back of their best-ever season in MLS play. The Orange and Blue earned a first playoff berth, a first playoff win and set records for points (49), wins (12), goals scored (64) and goal difference (+8).
Eighteen players return to second-year Head Coach Pat Noonan’s squad this season, including the club’s all-time leader in appearances Nick Hagglund, 2022 MLS All-Stars and Best XI members Luciano Acosta and Brandon Vazquez, Brazilian forwards Brenner and Sergio Santos, and key midseason acquisitions from last year, Matt Miazga and Obinna Nwobodo.
NEW FACES ON THE BLOCK – The Orange and Blue have added eight players to the 2023 roster. Having the chance to make their FC Cincinnati, and MLS, debuts on Saturday night include veteran Santiago Arias, and promising young talents Yerson Mosquera, Marco Angulo, and MLS SuperDraft selection Joey Akpunonu.
BEGINNING AT HOME FOR THE FIRST TIME … EVER – FC Cincinnati begin the season at home for the first time in club history. Even dating back to USL competition, each of FCC’s season openers from 2016-18 were on the road against the Charleston Battery.
ON THAT NOTE – FC Cincinnati seek three points and a 1-0-0 start for the first time in the club’s MLS history. FCC have gained just one point in the club’s previous season-openers:
2/26/22 at ATX, L 0-5
4/17/21 at NSH, T 2-2
3/1/20 at RBNY, L 2-3
3/2/19 at SEA, L 1-4
DON’T TOUCH THE THERMOSTAT – Saturday marks the first time that Cincinnati will host an MLS game in the month of February. The coldest game in MLS club history (recorded at the opening whistle) was 41°F on March 30, 2019 against Philadelphia Union.
Twice has a game started in the Queen City at the next lowest temperature, 47°F, on April 19, 2019 (vs. Real Salt Lake) and on October 24, 2020 (vs. Minnesota United FC).
COACHING CONNECTIONS – Saturday marks a reunion of sorts, as FC Cincinnati Assistant Coach Dominic Kinnear and Director of Goalkeeping Paul Rogers each face off against their former club. Kinnear spent nine years as the club’s Head Coach in Houston, winning MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007. For Rogers, he spent seven seasons, under five different head coaches, as Houston’s Head of Goalkeeping, including being part of the club’s 2018 U.S. Open Cup title run.
Head Coach Pat Noonan on the importance of starting the season at home
"It’ll certainly be nice when we step on the field on Saturday if we have a strong showing and a good result, which is obviously a win. We've talked about it, we need to be better in front of our home fans and in [TQL Stadium] to make the expectations and the atmosphere better than it already is. You know, you can see over the course of last season the growth, not only of our group, but the fan base and our connection with the fans and the belief that we could be a good team. And so I envision a better version of what we saw in 2022 as far as the atmosphere in TQL."
Defender Matt Miazga on the start of the season and the expectations
“I think it's really important to have the home opener, obviously the first week of the season starting and we're excited. We're looking forward to it, you see how beautiful the stadium is? Who doesn't want to play here? So we're ready to go.
“I think the expectations, to put it in general terms, is to do better than last year, is to finish higher up in the conference, to have more home games in the playoffs, and to do well. We have a lot of trophies to play for, a lot of competitions this year with the Leagues Cup, [U.S.] Open Cup, Supporters' Shield regular season, and then the playoffs. So I think if we can compete for trophies, that's the most important thing.”
Visit HERE for FC Cincinnati’s 2023 home platform match schedule. The full 2023 regular season schedule can be viewed HERE. All matches will air live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. The unprecedented subscription service featuring every MLS regular season, playoff and Leagues Cup match is available now.
All tickets, including Single Match Tickets, Full Season Tickets and Half Season “Orange” and “Blue” Ticket packages, can be purchased at fccincinnati.com/tickets or by calling (513) 977-5425 (KICK). For more information about Group Tickets and Premium hospitality options including suites and all-inclusive experiences, call (513) 763-1025.
For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. Additionally, fans are encouraged to download the team’s official mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for instant access to mobile tickets, team content and match notifications.