In May, a USL-record crowd turned Nippert Stadium orange for our first ever "Orange Out", helping to propel FCC's XI on the pitch to defeat Pittsburgh.
Tomorrow, we're hoping for another record crowd that will turn the stadium a blinding sea of white -- for our first ever "White Out" -- to give our Orange & Blue that extra edge once again as regional rivals Louisville City come to town for a 4pm kickoff. And it's not just bragging rights that are on the line either, with the winner likely to hoist the River Cities Cup for the first time.
So to find out what to expect from tomorrow's crucial Eastern Conference match up, who to watch, where you can take in the match and more, read on.
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING:
At this point, most likely know this weekend's visitors fairly well. But for those who don't, Louisville City are our closest neighbors in the USL, located just over 100 miles down the Ohio River. The second year club are one of the best sides in the USL in 2016, which isn't that surprising given that they were also among the top sides in the league in their inaugural season last year.
FCC: It's been a busy eight day stretch for FC Cincinnati. Beginning last weekend, Saturday's match against Louisville will be our third match during that time frame. The first was an 0-2 exhibition loss to Premier League side Crystal Palace, the second being 1-2 loss to New York Red Bulls II. That Palace loss isn't that concerning, but you know Harkes and his men will want to avoid dropping three straight -- never mind avenging the earlier season loss at home to the opposition. If FCC pull off the win, it will keep them within touching distance of the Eastern Conference summit with ten matches left in the campaign.
Louisville: Easily the most in-form side in the league, Louisville appear a runaway train at the moment. They're unbeaten in their last 17 matches, their last loss coming to New York on the opening day of the season. Their offense is the most prolific in the league with 37 goals, and their defense is stingy too having given up less than a goal a game. So while stopping the Louisville train will by no means be easy, managing to do so would certainly prove an accomplishment.
In the two matches we've faced Louisville this season, we've managed a draw -- a thrilling 0-0 affair in Kentucky just under a month ago -- and a loss -- a 2-3 stumble at home that saw a 10-man LCFC manage to hold off a FCC comeback after jumping out to a quick 3-1 lead.
As far as the River Cities Cup is concerned, the previous two results give the visitors the edge in lifting the trophy after Saturday's final whistle. A win for the Orange & Blue could see them take the cup, but they'll need to win by two or more goals to erase Louisville's superior road goal tally.
WHO TO WATCH:
FCC: While finding more production up top will obviously be high on the list of priorities heading into the match against Louisville, what most FC Cincinnati supporters should be more concerned about is whether two of the team's most consistent performers will be actually be in the XI tomorrow. Midfielder Kenney Walker and goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt are both injury doubts despite eaching having appeared in every match this season. Walker was forced off early in the first half on Wednesday after an odd collision with New York's Etienne, while Hildebrandt's collision with the post during their second goal sees him nursing a knock.
Louisville: The easiest man to point out for Louisville is the man who is currently the joint-leading scorer in the USL, forward Chandler Hoffman (#17). Already on 14 goals this season -- including a hattrick the last time he was in Cincinnati -- Hoffman has also bagged four goals in his last five appearances. But Louisville's attack has plenty of other threats, too. Aodhan Quinn can be lethal from set pieces, pacy winger Kadeem Dacres was a menace last time we faced them in Louisville, and Guy Abend has tallied three goals in his last five games.
As you've probably heard, it's going to be pretty hot on Saturday. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 90's and humidity around 56%, so the heat index tells us it will actually feel like it's in the low 100's. There's also a slim chance that some pop up thunderstorms could mix into what is predicted to be a partly cloudy day.
With the high heat, it's important to remember to keep hydrated, even in the stands. As such, the club is allowing each supporter to bring in one unopened bottle of water to the match. Also, several "cooling zones" will be available around Nippert. A misting tent from Coldiron Event Rentals will be behind section 114 and the Legion. Air conditioning is also available to anyone on the Third Floor of the Lindner Center, accessible by the double doors behind section 101. Plus, the Stadium View Cafe behind the Bailey will once again be offering food and cool air.
HOW TO WATCH:
This weekend’s match will be broadcast live on the CW Cincinnati (WKRC). Most local providers’ station information can be found below
Like all regular season home matches, the match will be available as a free livestream broadcast on YouTube as well as on the USL Match Center.
HOW TO LISTEN: