The turnaround from Wednesday night’s game ahead of our next match — this Saturday at Saint Louis FC — is undoubtedly short. In fact, it will be a little less the 68 hours from the last kick in Rochester and the first kick in St. Louis. No rest for the weary, right? It’s bonus soccer, if you ask me.
But the boys need to play, which means a match preview needs to be written. And you can soak it all up below.
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING:
In just their second season, Saint Louis FC have proven to be another expansion success story for the USL — and for many of the same reasons we’ve seen similar success here in the Queen City. As is the case here in Cincinnati, the St. Louis market is one of the biggest hotbeds of youth soccer in the country. Too, the so-called “Gateway to the West” also carries a tumultuous history with professional soccer, with SLFC being the ninth team to call the city home.
But the newest club has managed to capture the attention of the St. Louis, averaging a respectable 4,882 fans last year — lead by the voiceful St. Louligans — in their inaugural season on the back of a solid 8-9-11 campaign. This season, they made the jump to the Western Conference after spending their first in the East, finishing 9th out of 12 sides.
FCC: With their 11-match unbeaten streak now finally snapped thanks to Wednesday evening’s 2-1 loss at Rochester, there might actually be a sense of relief in the result for FC Cincinnati. Their 7-0-4 record during that stretch was a massive achievement for a first year club, but it might have also been heaping extra pressure on the team to keep the streak alive. That pressure now removed, Harkes and his men can focus on getting things back on track in St. Louis.
St. Louis: While Saint Louis FC continue to do well at the gate in year two, their club’s dealings on the pitch have also followed a similar inconsistent pattern to their inaugural campaign, too. Though to be fair, a similar story could be told about many of the other teams in the West in 2016. They’ve split the difference over their last five matches going 2-2-1, a streak that included a 7-1 blowout win over bottom of the table Tulsa, a loss to second bottom Arizona on the road, and a draw with third bottom Seattle. However, they’ve also not lost this seasn at World Wide Technology Soccer Park this year with a 3-0-4 record.
For the second time this week, FCC will be facing an opponent for the first time.
WHO TO WATCH:
FCC: Though he nabbed a goal from the penalty spot in Rochester, forward Sean “Ugo” Okoli likely walked away from Rhinos Stadium feeling a little unsatisfied. He rattled the crossbar midway through the first half, and was denied in stoppage time by an excellent save from the Rhinos’ Gomez. So watch for Ugo to try and bump that number up in the ‘Lou. Also, keep an eye out for Omar Cummings to make an extended cameo. The former Jamaican international has seen limited minutes this season, but could be see more time thanks to the short turnaround between matches.
St. Louis: While not performing consistently as a team, Saint Louis FC do boast one of the hottest strikers in the USL in Irvin Herrera. The El Salvador international has nine goals to his name in his first season with SLFC, and a pair of assists to boot. After bouncing around a few Southern schools during his collegiate career, the forward returned home to El Salvador for two successful seasons at the Primera División’s St. Telca, where he bagged 23 goals in 42 appearances.
Located 15 minutes away from downtown St. Louis, World Wide Technology Soccer Park is part of a larger complex that houses — in addition to the main 5,500-seat stadium — six additional full size pitches, club offices and an indoor training center. The complex also serves as the home for mega youth club, St. Louis Scott Gallagher.
Directions to World Wide Technology Soccer Park.
Another nice night on the road awaits FC Cincinnati in Missouri, as temperatures around kickoff are expected to be in the low-to-mid-80’s. There’s also practically no expectation for precipitation, so expect World Wide Technology Soccer Park to be rocking full of Saint Louis FC supporters — and the odd FCC supporter, too.
HOW TO WATCH:
Once again, this match will not be broadcast live on local television — like most FCC away matches this season.
However, the Saint Louis-Cincinnati match will be available as a livestream broadcast on YouTube and via the USL Match Center.
HOW TO LISTEN: