Match Preview

PREVIEW | FC Cincinnati rekindle rivalry with Louisville City FC in U.S. Open Cup


FC Cincinnati and Louisville City FC are set to square off in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, April 26 at TQL Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. The game will stream exclusively on Bleacher Report Football’s YouTube channel and on the B/R App.

Tickets for Wednesday night’s match are still available at or by calling (513) 977-5425 (KICK). Gates open at 6 p.m.

Wednesday will mark the 12th all-time meeting between FCC and LouCity, with the Orange and Blue holding a 5-4-2 record against their old USL rivals. FCC are 2-0-0 against Louisville in two prior U.S. Open Cup meetings, which is the competition in which the two sides met most recently, in 2019.


Stream: Bleacher Report Football YouTube and the B/R App
Broadcast Talent (English): Mike Watts (play-by-play), Kacey White (analyst)


Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the game.

Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup matchup will be the 12th all-time meeting between the two sides, with the Orange and Blue holding a slight advantage over their former USL Championship rivals (5-4-2). FC Cincinnati are 3-3-1 against Louisville in the Queen City, with Wednesday’s match marking the first time the teams have met at TQL Stadium.

FC Cincinnati and Louisville City have met twice in U.S. Open Cup competition (2017, 2019), with the Orange and Blue eliminating Louisville in both instances.

Louisville City FC enter Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup match on the back of a scoreless league draw against the Charleston Battery. Louisville, perennial USL Championship contenders, have picked up four wins in seven matches this season.

Louisville’s roster is chock full of experienced pros and USL Championship Cup winners including Paolo DelPiccolo, Oscar Jimenez, Cameron Lancaster, Niall McCabe, Brian Ownby and Sean Totsch. Lancaster and McCabe were part of LouCity’s inaugural roster in 2015.

Lancaster is Louisville’s all-time leading goal scorer with 76 regular season and USL Championship Playoff goals for the Boys in Purple. DelPiccolo is the club’s all-time appearance leader (205) and McCabe ranks second (194).

But Louisville City isn’t just a roster of aging champions. Midfilder Wilson Harris burst onto the LouCity scene last year in his first season with the club. The 23-year-old scored a team-high 15 goals, finishing tied for eighth in the USL Championship. Wilson has picked up where he left off in 2022 and has scored two goals on the young USL Championship.

Danny Cruz leads the Boys in Purple in his third season at the helm after being named interim coach one match into the 2021 season. Cruz oversaw the team in 2022, when LouCity set a single-season best in points (72) and wins (22) and made their fourth appearance in the USL Championship Final. Under Cruz, Louisville City is 39-13-13.

WELCOME BACK, LOUISVILLE FC Cincinnati’s first rival was Louisville City FC. The two sides faced off for the first time on April 16, 2016, at Nippert Stadium in the Orange and Blue’s fourth-ever match. Louisville took three points on the night in a 3-2 win.

Over the next five meetings, FC Cincinnati picked up three wins, including 1-0 in the Third Round of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup at Nippert Stadium. Djiby Fall sent LouCity packing with his goal in the 49th minute.

The Boys in Purple would get their revenge of that U.S. Open Cup loss, reeling off three straight against the Orange and Blue without conceding a goal, highlighted by a 5-0 win at Louisville Slugger Field on August 12, 2017.

The last two have been wins for FC Cincinnati, including most recently on June 12, 2019 at Nippert Stadium, a 2-1 Cincinnati extra-time win. In FCC’s inaugural MLS season, a Fourth Round Open Cup matchup saw Fanendo Adi and Lucky Mkosana exchange goals before Kekuta Manneh scored the winner in the 103rd minute.

THE CUP JOURNEY BEGINS Dating back to USL days, FC Cincinnati are 5-4-2 all-time in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. 

FCC have found success in the competition, most notably in 2017. Then, the USL’s FC Cincinnati used a semifinal to gain national acclaim with a 4-1-1 record in the competition, including knocking off the Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire before bowing out after extra time in the semifinals to the New York Red Bulls in front of a sellout crowd of 33,250 at Nippert Stadium.

OPEN CUP OPENERS FC Cincinnati are 5-0-0 in U.S. Open Cup openers all-time. The Orange and Blue’s last four openers in the Open Cup – dating back to the team’s USL predecessor in 2017 – have all finished after extra time.

FCC’S MLS SIDE IN THE CUP With no Open Cups held in 2020 and 2021, Wednesday will mark the fifth USOC fixture for FCC since joining MLS in 2019.

Last year, Cincinnati was pushed to extra time against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, but Álvaro Barreal scored two goals in the opening 10 minutes of extra time to advance to the Round of 32, where FCC lost on the road at the New England Revolution. 

OPEN CUP PEDIGREE FC Cincinnati’s current squad has had prior success in the U.S. Open Cup. Head Coach Pat Noonan won three U.S. Open Cups in his playing career (New England Revolution, 2007; Seattle Sounders, 2010 and 2011) while Alec Kann and Brandon Vazquez were part of Atlanta United’s cup run in 2019. Vazquez scored four goals in the competition that season. 

Head Coach Pat Noonan on beginning U.S. Open Cup competition
“We're approaching it to go and win a competition. So the starting point of that is we have to have success on Wednesday, and we have a very tough matchup against Louisville City. It's kind of a game-by-game, it's ‘let's go into this competition with the understanding we're trying to win a trophy.’ And six games to do that, with Wednesday being the starting point. But you know, we can't even think about the end product and result in being a part of a final if we don't have the right approach and mentality for Wednesday, which I don't see to be a problem for our group. But this will be a good early test for us against the top, or one of the top teams, in USL.”

Noonan on Louisville City FC
“They're good. And I think the challenge sometimes is an unfamiliar opponent for our group and how do we message it in a way where they're prepared for a tough opponent, one that has history with the club, which a lot of players might not really understand. And there's going to be two fan bases and two clubs that are passionate about this game and winning this game, it's going to mean something. So it's important for myself and for our staff to make sure our players are aware of what type of game they're going to get, but by no means will it be easy. I'm looking forward to it because you typically don't have this type of environment straightaway in this competition, and that's a good thing.”