With our Cinderella run in the Open Cup now over, the Orange & Blue can now shift their full attention to what remains of the USL regular season. And that task begins this weekend, interestingly against a team from the same footballing family as the one that just barely dumped us out of the Cup on Tuesday.
Take a look ahead at the action in store tomorrow in New Jersey in our full match preview below.
In one of the true scheduling curiosities of the 2017 season, we’ll be traveling tomorrow to face New York Red Bulls II – the USL-based reserve side for Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls, who we faced in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s semifinals at Nippert on Tuesday this week.
FCC: Thanks to our Open Cup run, this weekend’s match will be the Orange & Blue’s eighth competitive fixture in the last 35 days; ninth if you include our international friendly against Valencia on July 22nd. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the extra fixture congestion has had an impact on our recent form. While we’ve gone 3-3-1 – with one of those losses being a narrow, 120-minute loss to one of the hottest teams in MLS – during that spell, we’ve only slipped a single place in the Eastern Conference Standings to seventh. While that leaves us narrowly in the playoff places, a win on the road this weekend would go a long way to solidifying that spot.
NYRBII: Though currently the reigning 2016 USL champions, things haven’t gone quite as well for the Baby Bulls in 2017. Currently sitting in ninth and on the outside looking in for the current playoff picture, they’ve struggled to replicate the form that saw that made them peerless last season. That said, they’ve produced form similar to our own over the last 35 days. During that time, they’ve posted a 2-2-1 record – albeit with three less matches than we’ve had to play.
"We look forward to playing against Red Bulls II up in New Jersey. We have a lot of respect for their team and know that, on any given day, they can beat anybody in our league. We will need to put in an equally impressive performance to what we did against their first team to earn points on the road."
- Head Coach Alan Koch
FCC: The Open Cup semifinal saw the Orange & Blue without the attacking talents of both Kyle Greig and leading scorer Djiby. Both, however, will be available for selection this weekend. On the defensive end of the pitch, FCC will have to do without Sem de Wit, who has started each of the last four matches since arriving from Vancouver.
NYRBII: As is the case for most MLS reserve sides, knowing who you’ll face each week is a bit of a mystery. With players having the ability to yo-yo between their first and second teams, each week could see a completely different team. Last year, however, NYRBII kept their team fairly in tact. This year, that's not quite been the case. Several of their standout performers from last year have been promoted to the first team, though we’ve seen the likes of Derrick Etienne Jr. occasionally trot out for the B side along with multiple other MLS talents.
Saturday’s fixture will be the first meeting between the sides during the 2017 season. The two previous meetings prior to this year, however, resulted in losses for FC Cincinnati. The first of those came in the form of 1-2 loss at home in July, while the second was a controversial 0-2 loss that saw Mitch Hildebrandt mistakenly sent off early on at Red Bull Arena before seeing the decision reversed by the league in the days that followed.
Taking three points from this weekend would go a long way to help even things up a bit, in addition to making our playoff odds a little bit stronger.
A dry but hot afternoon of soccer awaits us in New Jersey. Temperatures at kickoff will be in the mid-80’s, with humidity hovering in the 50% range.
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.
Away matches are not broadcast on local radio in 2017.