With just five matches remaining and now entering the final month of the campaign, it's safe to say we're officially in the homestretch of FC Cincinnati's inaugural season.
And we kickoff that final run in -- and our continued efforts to claim a home playoff match -- when Saint Louis FC come to town for a match with major playoff implications on the line for both clubs.
To help instill an even more intimidating atmosphere than we normally see at our home matches, the club is asking supporters attending the match to create a "Sea of Blue" in the Nippert Stands by wearing your favorite royal FCC gear. Don't have any? Head to our online shop or come see us downtown and we'll be able to get you sorted!
Monday, September 5th, 2016, at 4:30pm EDT.
Second-year Saint Louis FC, who ply their trade in USL's Western Conference, have been one of the league's success stories off the pitch. They're currently sixth in the league in average attendance, averaging a hair shy of 4,900 fans per match at World Wide Technology Park -- a nearly identical tally to their average of 4,882 in their inaugural campaign. However, success on the pitch has proven a bit more elusive for SLFC following a ninth place finish in the 12-team Eastern conference in their first year.
FCC: The Orange & Blue will be happy to see the backside of August after experiencing the club's roughest patch of form this season. They only picked up 5 points from a possible 15 during the month with a 1-2-2 record. To be fair, four of those matches came on the road. And twice they experienced layoffs of ten or more days between matches, which can be a momentum killers in their own rights. As a result though, FCC have slipped to fourth in the Eastern Conference table and have competition for the last higher seed playoff spot breathing down their necks.
Saint Louis: While FCC will be happy to say sayonara to August, Saint Louis FC will be even happier. Of 15 possible points they could have picked up last month, they managed only 3 with a 0-2-3 record. In fact, they've only tallied a single win in July and August combined. That's left them sitting in 13th place in the Western Conference -- though surprisingly not out of the playoff picture -- and forced the club to dispatch of head coach Dale Schilly a little over two weeks ago.
Saint Louis and Cincinnati have tangled once before in USL action, when FCC traveled to the Gateway of the West back on July 9th. The Orange & Blue came home with all three points thanks to a 2-1 victory on the back of goals from Omar Cummings and Eric Stevenson.
WHO TO WATCH:
FCC: With FCC conceding more than two goals for just the second time this season on Wednesday in Charlotte, watch for the team to refocus their defensive efforts ahead of the pivotal closing stretch of the season. So keep an eye on how the centerback pairing of Harrison Delbridge and Austin Berry -- and potentially Paul Nicholson too should they go to three in the back again -- adjust to tighten up the ship.
Saint Louis: When trying to rate the biggest concern when facing Saint Louis FC, you'd normally look immediately to forward Irvin Herrera. Though currently tied for 5th in the league with 11 goals this season, Herrera won't be of any concern to Harkes and his men on Monday. Why? He's been called up to the El Salvador national team for their CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers this week, and as such SLFC will be without his services. Instead, watch for forward Vince Cicciarelli (#20) and midfielder Ntokozo Tshuma (#32) to carry a larger load. Cicciarelli is second on the team in scoring with 5 goals and Tshuma fifth with three, though the latter added the side's consolation goal against Cincinnati back in July.
The weather for the holiday weekend here in Cincinnati is looking extremely promising, including near perfect conditions for Monday's 4:30pm kickoff. The forecast is calling for temperatures in the mid-80's with light wind and 40% humidity, with no rain in the forecast all weekend!
HOW TO WATCH:
Monday's Labor Day match will be broadcast live on the CW Cincinnati (WKRC). Most local providers’ station information can be found below
HOW TO LISTEN:
Tag(s): 2016 News