Just under a month since they met in regular season action, FC Cincinnati will play host to Nashville SC on Saturday, Aug. 4, at Nippert Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
The clash will be the second of three encounters this season between the USL Eastern Conference rivals and future Major League Soccer clubs, and the only regular season trip to the Queen City for Nashville in 2018.
It will also be the mark FC Cincinnati's third annual "Blue Out", with supporters encouraged to turn the stands of Nippert Stadium blue on Saturday evening to show their support for the Orange and Blue. Supporters can pick up blue gear ahead of the match at our downtown store, where Tax-Free weekend is in effect beginning Friday, Aug. 3!
Tickets for the match are still available online at fccincinnati.com/tickets or by calling 513-977-KICK. That said, general admission is already sold out and tickets in the lower bowl are moving fast.
The action will also be broadcast live locally on Star64 (WSTR) and ESPN 1530, and can be streamed on ESPN+.
When FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC first met back on May 7, the two sides were busy taking the USL Eastern Conference by storm. And the then-third-placed Nashville pushed a first-place Orange and Blue to their absolute limit in what would end a 0-0 draw.
Since then, however, each club has experienced divergent fates.
Nashville have posted a 1-3-0 record since that meeting, dropping results against last-place Toronto FC II and playoff bubble teams Charlotte Independence and Ottawa Fury FC. Their lone win came at home against Atlanta United back on July 25. That poor run of form has hurt them in the standings too, as they've slipped down to seventh in the East (8-6-6, 30 pts.).
Meanwhile, FC Cincinnati have retained their spot at the top of the Eastern Conference table since that 0-0 draw in Nashville with three straight wins at Nippert Stadium. Those wins extended the team's undefeated run to 10 matches in league play. With a record of 13-3-5 and 44 points, Alan Koch's men remain tied for the league's overall best record with Real Monarchs SLC.
While the red-hot form of the Orange and Blue has kept the team in the lead of the East, the team has remained firmly in the media spotlight this week thanks to matters off the pitch. FC Cincinnati introduced three new signings earlier this match week, with the arrivals of Swedish international Pa Konate, 2015 MLS SuperDraft fourth overall pick Fatai Alashe, and the club's first ever MLS Designated Player, Fanendo Adi.
Based on comments from coach Alan Koch this week, it's likely the latter of those new signings could make his debut on Saturday against Nashville. But to do so, Adi will have to break into a well-tuned attacking trio of Emmanuel Ledesma, Danni König and Nazmi Albadawi.
As for the visitors from Nashville, their recent struggles have forced manager Gary Smith to tinker with his squad in search of better results. The English manager has rolled out a different formation in each of the team's last five matches in pursuit of goals that have at times proven elusive for the first-year expansion side. Nashville's co-leading scorers, Brandon Allen and Ropapa Mensah, have failed to score in each of the team's last six matches.