It seems like just yesterday that the first regular season match preview of the 2017 year was going up on the website. Today, almost unfathomably, we are posting the last regular season match preview of 2017. And though there is still a quartet of away matches looming after this weekend’s fixture, an expected massive crowd could send us off with a bang and set us on a path towards the post-season.
So what should you look forward to for our final home match of the year? Read on to find out in our full match preview.
Saturday, September 16th, at 7:00pm
TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE
With a significant crowd expected for our home finale, we’re opening the gates 30 minutes earlier than normal this weekend at 5:30pm. Get there early to avoid the lines at the gates and garages, and to enjoy the festivities below.
The last opponent to visit Nippert Stadium’s soccer pitch in 2017 will be New York Red Bulls II, the reserve side for our Open Cup semifinal opponents from MLS, New York Red Bulls.
There are a few different promotions on tap for our final home match of 2017:
FCC: Though currently riding a three-match unbeaten streak, the Orange & Blue haven’t completely shaken off the poor run of form that dogged them during the month of August. As the playoffs loom and the fight for the final place intensifies, that’s certainly raised a few concerns within the fanbase. Two straight draws have followed our last victory, which have been good enough to keep us in 7th place in a Conference that sees the top 8 qualify. That said, each of those draws involved erasing an early deficit, demonstrating the sides maintained a positive, never-say-die attitude in the face of adversity – something quite valuable in a playoff run-in.
NYRBII: Also in the thick of the playoff race, New York’s Baby Bulls sit just one place – and just two points ahead of us in the Eastern Conference table in 6th. So a victory for FCC on Saturday would see us leapfrog them in the table and put some distance between ourselves and the chasing pack of clubs. That will be no easy task, however, given New York’s current form. They enter the match having gone unbeaten since the start of August with 4 wins and 2 draws. Furthermore, they’ve pulled that impressive run off while facing some of the division’s top sides like 3rd-place Rochester (2-1 win), 4th-place Charleston (1-1 draw away), and 5th-place Tampa Bay (4-2 win).
"We look forward to hosting the Red Bulls in our regular season home finale. They have been on a great run recently and we know that it will take a big collective effort to earn points in this contest. Our squad showed a lot of character to come from behind on the road in Harrisburg and we go in to this match feeling confident in our abilities. Points are a necessity at this time of the season and we look forward to feeding off of the energy of our fans support."
- Head Coach Alan Koch
FCC: Riding a good wave of form into the New York match is winger Jimmy McLaughlin. Lovingly known as “Penn Messi” to many of our supporters, McLaughlin found the net for the fifth time this season in the midweek match at Harrisburg and that followed another goal against Ottawa at the end of August. The question remains, however, who he’ll be set up behind: Danish forward Danni König or Senegalese front-man Djiby, who has started the last few matches on the bench.
NYRBII: As an MLS reserve side, knowing who you’re going to face when lining up against them is a bit of a guessing game. This becomes even more the case when you consider their MLS side is not only in action this Sunday, but also in the Open Cup Final on Wednesday next week. So it’s plausible that some of the better two players could be called up for first team appearances this weekend to rest the normal starters for the final – or that might not be the case at all. That said, many will train their eyes on Jamaican Junior Flemmings (#70), who bagged a brace against us in New Jersey last month. In midfield, watch Frenchman Vincent Bezecourt (#88) who can score and set up with ease.
The entirety of the Red Bulls organization has had our number. Including the added time Open Cup semifinal loss to their MLS squad, this will be our fifth all-time meeting with the New Jersey-based club – the other four coming with their USL second squad. We’ve not won any of them, nor taken a single point. And in our last meeting, nearly a month ago at Montclair State University, we were on the receiving end of a 0-4 thrashing to a side with whom we’ve been jockeying positions with in the table.
Though Oktoberfest often rings in the arrival of fall, we’ll be treated to absolutely beautiful late summer weather tomorrow night. Though daytime temperatures will peak in the low 80’s, it will be a comfortable 78° F at kickoff tomorrow before falling away to the low 70’s by the final kick of the night. No rain is in the forecast, and skies should be bright with the occasional cloud.
This Saturday’s match will be shown live locally on Local 12 (WKRC)! Local providers’ station information can be found below:
Over the Air: Channel 12
Cincinnati Bell Fioptics: Channel 12 (SD) or 512 (HD)
Spectrum/TWC (OH): Channel 12 (SD) or 1012 (HD)
Spectrum/TWC (KY): Channel 3 (SD) or 912 (HD)
DirecTV: Channel 12
DISH: Channel 12
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.