Ahead of FC Cincinnati’s match on Friday night’s against Real Salt Lake, we’ve created a media roundtable with local beat reporters who cover the club regularly.
This week’s roundtable includes:
- D.J. Switzer, Pro Soccer USA
- Laurel Pfahler, WCPO and The Athletic
- Pat Brennan, The Cincinnati Enquirer
What’s the biggest takeaway from last Saturday’s match at LAFC?
Switzer: The biggest takeaway was that the match didn’t get out of hand, which is a good sign for a team so young in its development. However, what we learned in that when is that when creating chances, you have to take them. Against better sides like LAFC, you’re not going to get many opportunities to peg them back.
Pfahler: The defense is capable of being just what we thought it could be. I know that sounds odd with a 2-0 loss, but FCC held the top-scoring offense in the league to one goal for 93 minutes. And, that was without two of the team's main fullbacks, and Justin Hoyte was making his MLS debut. He hadn't played a game since the end of February. FCC took some criticism early on for focusing too much on defense while building the roster, but the goal was to keep themselves in games early on, keep themselves relevant in the standings and then make some moves this summer to bolster a playoff push. So far, they are right on track (FCC has given up just 1.0 goals per game the last six matches despite facing some quality competition and some outstanding attackers).
Brennan: I think FC Cincinnati can take some positives away from the performance but ultimately they weren’t good enough on the night, and that’s all that matters. I thought there was too much back-patting and talk about the good-but-not-good-enough performance from the players afterward. The tight losses and missed chances have been too many lately and I don’t think it’s a good look to do anything but own the loss and commit to better when those are the circumstances. I don’t think a mentality that allows for the kind of praise the team had for itself after a match like that is a good mentality.
What’s the biggest storyline for you ahead of the match?
Switzer: Real Salt Lake find themselves in a similar position in the table in the Western Conference where FCC find themselves in the East. So tonight presents an opportunity to measure if FCC are punching above their weight, sitting where they belong, or are capable of continuing to progress.
Pfahler: Darren Mattocks. He has been creating excellent chances, and I enjoy his hustle, but as he told me this week, it's time to start turning those chances into goals. He scored on a PK the last home game. Look for one of those hustle plays to pay off for a goal in the run of play against RSL.
Brennan: This could be a season-defining stretch for FC Cincinnati. Friday versus RSL, next weekend at RBNY. Then at Philly on May 1 and back across the country for at San Jose. Tough matches against good teams, and a hellish road trip. I wouldn’t select any one of those games as a must-win (for now), but we’re getting into the business end of the season, FC Cincinnati’s not won a match in several weeks and all of that together speaks to the importance of this stretch of the season.
What’s your score prediction and why?
Switzer: RSL have yet to win in four road matches in 2019, posting an 0-3-1 record. They’ve also been a side that leaked goals, giving up an average of two per match while only scoring on per match this campaign. Given that FCC will be looking to rebound from the loss in LA, I’m predicting a 2-1 win for the Orange and Blue.
Pfahler: 2-0 FC Cincinnati. The defense is coming off a solid but still unsatisfying result, so I think a clean sheet is in the cards for them, and I think the offense produces in front of the home crowd. RSL allows 2.0 goals a game.
Brennan: I think this is the most winnable game in the aforementioned hellish stretch, and I think the players will recognize that and do what’s necessary to eek out a 2-1 victory.
You can also follow them on Twitter here:
D.J. Switzer @wrongsideofpond
Laurel Pfahler @LaurelPfahler
Pat Brennan @PBrennanENQ