FC Cincinnati (2-0-1, 7 points) put their unbeaten start to the season on the line in Matchday 4 as the Orange and Blue square off against Chicago Fire FC (0-1-1, 1 point) at Soldier Field on Saturday, March 18. FC Cincinnati are 3-1-0 in four previous meetings in Chicago.
The match is scheduled to kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT and can be streamed live on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV App, and fans can also listen to the match locally on ESPN 1530.
FC CINCINNATI at CHICAGO FIRE FC – SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 2023 – 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. CT) – SOLDIER FIELD
HOW TO WATCH
Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
TV Talent (English): Tyler Terens (play-by-play), Devon Kerr (analyst)
TV Talent (Spanish): Francisco X. Rivera (play-by-play), Diego Arrioja (analyst)
Radio: ESPN 1530
Local Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play), Omar Cummings (analyst)
Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the game.
WATCH ON MLS SEASON PASS ON APPLE TV
Saturday’s game will air live exclusively on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. FC Cincinnati fans can sign up for MLS Season Pass HERE for the unprecedented subscription service featuring every MLS regular season, playoff and Leagues Cup match.
With MLS Season Pass, fans can stream every MLS match through the Apple TV app, without any local blackouts. Fans do not need to be an Apple TV+ subscriber to purchase MLS Season Pass, but Apple TV+ subscribers receive a discount.
Each full-season ticket account will include one subscription to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (one per account). Season Ticket Members should check their email for information. FAQ for Season Ticket Members
For more information, visit FCCincinnati.com/SeasonPass.
HEAD TO A PUB PARTNER!
Fans can head to one of the club’s 18 official Pub Partners, presented by Coors Light, across Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Indiana. Pub Partners are the spot to go to watch the Orange and Blue in 2023 and feature watch parties, drink specials and convenient locations for fans to gather to watch FC Cincinnati.
For more information on Pub Partners, visit FCCincinnati.com/Fans/Pub-Partners.
FC Cincinnati and Chicago Fire FC are level in the all-time series, 3-3-2. The Orange and Blue do hold a 3-1-0 advantage on the road. No team has ever won back-to-back games throughout the series.
SCOUTING CHICAGO FIRE FC (0-1-1, 1 PT, 13TH EASTERN CONFERENCE)
Chicago Fire FC head into Matchday 4 near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings following a last-minute loss to the Philadelphia Union last matchday. The Fire are the only Eastern Conference team yet to play three matches and are looking to pick up their first win of the season.
Chicago’s 2022 campaign was defined by an inability to find the back of the net, as the Fire scored just 39 goals, the second-lowest total in all of MLS. The offseason departure of forward Jhon Durán to English Premier League side Aston Villa leaves question marks in the Fire attack which, through two games this season, has mustered just one goal. And that one goal was scored by Fabian Herbers, who is one of two players for Chicago missing Saturday night’s encounter after picking up a red card against Philadelphia (Kei Kamara).
Despite the lack of production, Chicago have dangerous attacking players in Xherdan Shaqiri and Chris Mueller, who combined for 11 goals last season. The Fire this offseason acquired Georgios Koutsias from Greek Super League side P.A.O.K. FC to occupy a U-22 initiative and international slot, but he is not yet with the squad.
On the flip side, Chicago were solid in defense last season, allowing 48 goals, a lower total than four Eastern Conference playoff teams. Goalkeeper Chris Brady has big shoes to fill in replacing Gabriel ‘Gaga’ Slonina, as the latter made his move to Chelsea FC permanent earlier this year. The Fire also made changes on the backline, parting ways with defenders Jonathan Bornstein and Boris Sekulić while adding Arnaud Souquet and Jonathan Dean. On Wednesday, the Fire added on loan Mexican defender Alonso Aceves from C.F. Pachuca to occupy a U-22 initiative slot and an international roster position.
Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson is back for his second year at the helm of Chicago. In his first season, Hendrickson led the Fire to 39 points (10-15-9), which ranks as the second-most points for a first year CFFC head coach in the last 12 seasons.
FC CINCINNATI NOTES
EXTINGUISH THE FIRE – FC Cincinnati have enjoyed their road trips to the Windy City. The Orange and Blue will face the Fire on their home field for the fifth time in league play on Saturday and have won three of the previous four in Chicago.
Cincinnati have won two straight at Soldier Field.
SPEAKING OF ROAD TRIPS… – FC Cincinnati hold the longest active road regular season unbeaten streak in MLS, dating back to last year. That mark stands at seven, starting with the Orange and Blue’s 4-4 tie against Inter Miami CF on July 30.
Nashville SC (6) are the only other MLS side to maintain an active unbeaten road streak longer than two.
NWO(BODO) HE’S GOOD! – On Monday, Obinna Nwobodo was named to the MLS Team of the Matchday for Matchday 3. It’s the second such honor of the young season for the box-to-box midfielder, who has picked up right where he left off in 2022. Through two matches this season Nwobodo leads the league with 11.4 defensive regains per 90 minutes.
IT’S A HOMECOMING – Goalkeeper Roman Celentano returns to his home state of Illinois, set to play his second game at Soldier Field. The Naperville native attended nearby Neuqua Valley High School and played in his youth career for the Chicago Sockers FC Development Academy.
WITHOUT NICK – Defender Nick Hagglund will serve a one-game suspension for being shown his fourth career red card last Saturday against Seattle Sounders FC. If FCC earn all three points this Saturday, it will mark the first MLS win for FC Cincinnati under Pat Noonan without Hagglund starting. He started all 13 league wins, including in the MLS Cup Playoffs, in 2022.
150 UPCOMING – FC Cincinnati enter Saturday night having tallied 147 goals all-time in MLS regular season competition. Pat Noonan’s squad would love to hit the 150 mark with three (or more) goals at Soldier Field.
It would be even more notable if Álvaro Barreal scored the milestone goal, as he scored both the 50th and 100th goals for the Orange and Blue. The club’s milestone 50th goal came June 23, 2021 at Soldier Field, Barreal’s free kick game-winner in the 1-0 FCC victory.
20,000 – FC Cincinnati defender Ray Gaddis needs just 10 minutes of competition to surpass 20,000 career MLS regular season minutes. The iron man also approaches 250 career appearances in his regular season career, he enters Saturday night with 247 games played (19,900 minutes).
Head Coach Pat Noonan on what to expect from Chicago Fire FC
“This is a challenging one. Because of the fact that they've already had a bye, so you only have two games to look at. But on top of that, you know, two red cards last game, so with [Kei] Kamara being out, with [Fabian] Herbers being out on top of some of the injuries early on with [Federico] Navarro and [Jairo] Torres. You saw [Xherdan] Shaqiri come out in the game [against Philadelphia] with potentially an issue, there's just a lot of uncertainty. They play two different formations.
“We just have to be really alert early on, because I think, in a lot of ways, we're not sure what the starting group's going to look like or the formation. So we'll have to try to put the focus more so on us in the lead up to this game, maybe a little bit more than we would in [Thursday’s] training and [Friday’s] training with preparation for the next opponent, but it's going to be tricky. And even though it's only been two games, when you have a team that hasn't gotten a result yet, they're going to be pushing to win their first game. And so it's going to be a difficult task. And our guys need to be prepared for that both mentally and physically. And the conditions aren't going to be great. We know that, I think it's low 20s. We need to be very professional about how we go about this both mentally and physically."
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.
FC Cincinnati is now also offering a Flex Plan. Fans can select one Leagues Cup match, in addition to two to five regular season matches. The Flex Plan provides ultimate flexibility with benefits including cost savings, no fees and presale access for additional events at TQL Stadium, including potential home playoff matches.
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 new official mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for instant access to mobile tickets, team content and match notifications.