For the second time this season, FC Cincinnati faces their third home match in just eight days when they return to action at Nippert Stadium tomorrow. And the side they’ll be facing is one that we’ve already become frustratingly familiar with over the course of the young 2017 season. How so? Read on to take a look ahead at this weekend’s match.
You’re not going to believe it, but we’re playing Bethlehem Steel FC. Again.
FCC: The Orange & Blue are fresh off the heels of a 1-0 victory over the NPSL’s AFC Cleveland in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday. Though it took extra time for the boys to finally snag a victory, a fair number of players who have featured regularly in league play were rested during the match. That should hopefully mean that there won’t be too many tired legs out there after a 120-minute outing in the midweek. As for USL form, FCC will be looking to rebound after losing against Orlando last weekend. Currently 9th in the USL Eastern Conference table, a victory tomorrow would see them leapfrog the visitors into the playoff places.
BSFC: Without the Open Cup in the midweek to contend with – professional reserve sides of higher division clubs are barred from the competition – Bethlehem should be well rested. Their last match came a week ago with a 1-0 road victory at Toronto FC II. Just ahead of us in 8th place, Bethlehem have been plagued with inconsistency... except when playing us. More on that later.
"We are excited to play Bethlehem again. It is not very often that you get to play the same opponent three times in such a short amount of time. We are glad that we get to play a good team again here this time at Nippert Stadium. The players have had a good week of training and are excited to build off of the success of the cup victory on Wednesday."
- Head Coach Alan Koch
FCC: Last week, we saw Coach Alan Koch deploy his 9th lineup in as many outings. And thanks to the extended midweek cup fixture, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the squad rotated a bit again – which could make it ten lineups in ten. With the team hungry for goals, watch for new arrival Danni König to return to the XI with Djiby still suspended for the next three matches. However, the real questions lie in midfield and who will get the nod on Saturday. Kenney Walker has missed the last few matches through injury, and we’ve seen Bone, Wiedeman and Fordyce all fight to for a place alongside the ever-present Aodhan Quinn.
BSFC: Though they aren’t scoring loads of goals in 2017, Bethlehem are sharing the wealth. Four strikers on their roster have already bagged goals, with Seku Conneh (#36) leading the way so far with three. Also, it appears Steel FC have also figured out their goalkeeping situation. After featuring three goalkeepers in their first three matches, Jake McGuire has settled into the starting role.
Bethlehem pulled level in the lifetime series this year on the back of two straight wins over the Orange & Blue, both coming at Bethlehem during a 20 day spell back in April. Now sitting at two wins each, this third and final regular season match-up is our last shot at redemption after two disappointing outcomes in Pennsylvania.
While there are scattered thunderstorms and rain in the forecast for Saturday, worry not – it looks as if all the precipitation will fall in the early portion of the day and completely clear out by the time we kick off around 7pm. The current forecast is calling for a muggy 82°F dropping off to 75° under partly cloudy skies.
This weekend’s match will be broadcast live on Star 64 (WSTR). Most local providers’ station information can be found below:
Over the Air: Channel 64
Cincinnati Bell Fioptics: Channel 11 (SD) or 511 (HD)
Spectrum/TWC (OH): Channel 11 (SD) or 1011 (HD)
Spectrum/TWC (KY): Channel 11 (SD) or 915 (HD)
DirecTV: Channel 64
DISH: Channel 8354
Not in the local viewing area? No problem! Every match in the USL is available to stream as well, and this match is available for free on YouTube.