After playing what’s seemed like an infinite number of home matches recently, FC Cincinnati hits the road for just the second time in nearly two months this weekend for the first of two league fixtures in Florida.
Look ahead at the action and find out what to watch for in our full match preview below.
We’ll be traveling to face Orlando City B – the reserve side for the MLS outfit that shares the same name, minus the B.
FCC: It’s been a crazy few weeks here in Cincinnati, and the club’s improving form has a lot to do with that. After a rocky start that saw the Orange & Blue win just twice in nine, the club has gone on to win seven of the proceeding ten. That run has included four wins in the Open Cup, including two Cinderella-esque upsets over MLS sides Columbus Crew SC and Chicago Fire. A tightened defense is at the heart of the rise in form, with the boys conceding just four goals in those ten matches. That’s jumped us up the table from 12th to 6th.
OCB: While we’ve seen our form improve over the last month or so, Orlando’s fortunes have been reversed. The Baby Purple Lions have won just twice in their last ten, and have gone 1-3-1 in their last five slipping to 9th in the table. But perhaps more concerning for them is that they’ve not fared well at the new home digs they share with their MLS first team: OCB have won just one of six home matches at Orlando City Stadium – the others being two losses and a draw.
"We hope to continue the positive performances we have been putting in over the last few weeks at Orlando. We know that they are a quality team and it will be a tough challenge for us. We do though believe a lot in our group, and I am able to manage minutes based on work load and tactical assignment. We have shown that we have more than 11 players on our team and the players that play represent all of us in that contest."
- Head Coach Alan Koch
FCC: Fresh off of an absolutely stunning match against Chicago Fire, all eyes will be on FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt. Though be sure to save some praise too for entire defensive unit that’s helped to keep MLS defenses at bay for 210 straight minutes. Offensively, many will watch to see if leading scorer Djiby – who has seven in the league and ten in all competitions – will return to the XI after missing the Chicago match through injury.
OCB: The last time we faced Orlando, we faced a scenario we’ve seen increasingly in 2017 – MLS 2 sides dropping more and more first team players down into the reserve squads during USL play. Whether it’s to get minutes for players on the fringe, or get guys back into shape after returning from injury, we saw at least 4 regulars in their first team face us at Nippert nearly two months ago. Will we see that again on Saturday? Further complicating matters is they’ve used a total of 33 players already this season, so predicting who will play week in and week out is a tricky proposition. But if you had to keep your eyes on someone, we’d recommend watching the international attacking trio of Hadji Berry (#13), Richie Laryea (#6) and Albert Dikwa (#90) – each has three goals and an assist to their name this season.
This will be our fourth all-time meeting OCB, and the second of three fixtures against them during the 2017 campaign. The Orange & Blue swept the 2016 series with a 2-1 win in Melbourne, Florida, followed by a 1-0 regular season home finale. That said, Orlando got the better of us when they visited Nippert back in May, doling out a 2-0 loss.
With it being central Florida in the summer, it should come as no surprise that there’s a high chance of showers tomorrow in Orlando. On the bright side, the rain is supposed to clear out before kickoff tomorrow night. That said, remaining in the rain’s wake are temperatures in the mid-80’s and humidity pushing 80%.
This weekend’s match will be broadcast live on CW Cincinnati. Most local providers’ station information can be found below:
Over the Air: Channel 12.2
Cincinnati Bell Fioptics: Channel 17 (SD) or 517 (HD)
Spectrum/TWC (OH): Channel 20/13 (SD) or 989 (HD)
Spectrum/TWC (KY): Channel 20 (SD) or 989 (HD)
DirecTV: Channel 25
DISH: Not Available
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.
Away matches are not broadcast live on local radio during the 2017 season.