Fresh off the late game dramatics of Saturday’s 2-2 friendly draw with Icelandic side KR Reykjavic, FC Cincinnati will return to action tomorrow against Major League Soccer’s New York City FC.
The second game of the team’s IMG Suncoast Pro Classic preseason tournament will potentially pit the Blue and Orange against some of the most recognizable names in world soccer. Whether we see all of those big names remains to be seen. But there’s a lot more to NYCFC than just just European star power, and there’s plenty more to keep an eye on within our own ranks, too.
We’ve also got your details about when, where and how you can take in the match below.
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING:
Wednesday, February 24th, at 5:00pm
Despite being just a second year franchise and the second MLS team to be established in the New York City area, New York City FC are still arguably one of the marquee clubs in the country’s top professional league. That’s due in large part to club’s majority ownership group — the Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group — who also own the English Premier League’s Manchester City, the Australian A-League’s Melbourne City and a stake in Japanese J-League side Yokohoma F. Marinos.
And thanks to that lucrative backing, NYCFC have been able to lure some fairly well-known personalities to our shores. That’s included legendary players such as England’s Frank Lampard, Italian Andrea Pirlo and Spanish striker David Villa, not to mention US Men’s National Team fan-favorite, Mix Diskerud. Even their touchline is star-studded, as World Cup winner Patrick Vieira will serve as the team’s coach this season. All that star power will be tough to manage though, as was learned by the now dispatched Jason Kreis when he failed to inspire the group during a lackluster 2015 campaign.
FCC: FC Cincinnati’s first ever game was last Saturday against KR Reykjavic, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Though they conceded twice in ten minutes midway through the second half, FCC battled back to split the spoils thanks to a goal from former Xavier standout Luke Spencer and a stunning late volley from Corben Bone that has grabbed some national attention. Read our Match Recap for a full breakdown of the game.
NYCFC: As for New York City FC, they also played their first game of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic on Saturday. A 2-0 win over Denmark’s HB Køge looked good on paper, but it wasn’t until late on in the second half when the team’s projected starters came off the bench to break the stalemate. In total, NYCFC are undefeated in three preseason matches this season, having also defeated fellow USL side Oklahoma City Energy FC 1-0 on 2/12 and MLS’s Montreal Impact by the same scoreline on 12/17.
This is the first time FCC and NYCFC have faced one another, hardly surprising given this is a match up between first and second year teams. This also marks the first time FCC have faced MLS competition.
WHO TO WATCH:
FCC: While Corben Bone’s smash from distance has drawn the most headlines from the last match, his link play in midfield was also what made things tick for FC Cincinnati last time out. While he proved even more effective once Coach Harkes moved him into a more advanced role, that might have to be sacrificed with so much talent to contend with defensively.
NYCFC: While NYCFC’s big name players will attract the most attention — assuming they even play more than a bit part, which was the case in their previous outings — the player I’m most keen on watching is last year’s breakout star, Kwadwo Poku. The Ghanaian-born midfielder’s profile raised meteorically last year, often providing the spark in the early portion of the season before the team had Lampard and Pirlo at their disposal. Too, it will be interesting to see how manager Patrick Viera opts to use Mix Diskerud. The USMNT midfielder had an off year in 2015 and was often played out of his preferred central position behind the strikers thanks to depth the team have in midfield.
Just as was the case on Saturday, the game against NYCFC will also be taking place at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The second of three matches at IMG’s Suncoast Pro Classic, FCC will still be in contention to lift the preseason trophy with a win or a draw — though they’ll need some help from the other participants if the later scenario comes to pass.
HOW YOU CAN WATCH:
All of FC Cincinnati’s matches during the Suncoast Pro Classic are available to stream via IMG’s own website. Access to their streaming service will run $5.99 for a 24 hour pass.
However, we’ve also arranged watch parties around the city with our Pub Partners for those who want to watch in the company of fellow supporters! Six local pubs will be livestreaming the match on their TV’s for free:
For those unable to catch the match stream, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @fccincinnati for live match updates. Halftime and full time updates will also be available on our Facebook page.