FC Cincinnati begin their 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run Wednesday night at Nippert Stadium, where they host rivals Louisville City FC in the fourth round. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Here are a few key notes before kickoff:
Game will be available on ESPN+
All U.S. Open Cup matches are available on ESPN+, regardless of location. U.S. Soccer announced a comprehensive agreement with ESPN earlier this year that awarded the tournament’s complete broadcast rights to ESPN+. Every single match of the tournament is being streamed on the network, including tonight’s FCC-Lou City game.
How this U.S. Open Cup is different
Wednesday is the third consecutive year the Orange and Blue play in the fourth round. The only difference now, as an MLS team, is this is their new entry point into the Cup draw moving forward.
Currently, all MLS clubs start in the fourth round. For example, FCC hosted Columbus Crew SC and Minnesota United FC in this round in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Previously, Cincinnati started in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup and needed two wins to advance to their new entry round.
About the River Cities Cup
It’s no secret Cincinnati and Louisville have a rivalry. In the past three seasons, they’ve split the series with four wins and two draws each. A win Wednesday would give that club the advantage in the rivalry.
Because Lou City are in the USL Championship, the only time they clubs can competitively meet is in the Open Cup. This is their second meeting in the tournament. Cincinnati won the first one 1-0 in May 2017.
Ben Lundt won’t play against FCC
The MLS expansion side selected him during the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, but sent the German goalkeeper on loan to Louisville City for the 2019 season.
But with the two clubs meeting, Lundt will only be able to watch from the sideline. Generally speaking, players on loan rarely play against their parent club.
No, the match isn’t free and seats are still available.
But for anyone at the match, there’s a solid chance FCC and Lou City have to play a 30-minute extra time period.
In four of their last five U.S. Open Cup games, FC Cincinnati played 120 minutes instead of 90 because of ties after 90 minutes. Those matches were against the Chicago Fire (2017), New York Red Bulls (2017), Detroit City FC (2018) and Minnesota United (2018).
FCC had a penalty shootout against Chicago and Minnesota. The club drew MNUFC 0-0 but lost on penalties in the fourth round last season.
Whomever advances tonight – be it in regulation, after extra time or via penalty kicks – will find out their Round of 16 opponent, as well as a potential Quarterfinal opponent, Thursday when U.S. Soccer does the next rounds’ draws.
All remaining teams will be re-drawn based on regional location into a new bracket. U.S. Soccer previous announced on May 30 when the fourth round pools and match-ups were announced:
The pools created for the Fourth Round Draw will have no bearing on the pairings for the Round of 16, as new geographic pools of four (without regard to division) will be created from the Fourth Round winners to determine the Round of 16 and possible Quarterfinal match-ups. The Round of 16 Draw will take place Thursday, June 13.