After three seasons in USL, the dream was always to host MLS matches at Nippert Stadium. Now, as FC Cincinnati’s inaugural MLS season winds down, Sunday night marks the final home match until 2020.
For the Orange and Blue, they enter the matchup against Orlando City SC after two-straight home games – and momentum.
Here’s what you need to know about the match:
The final home game of 2019 comes at a good time.
With two clean sheets in their past three matches, Cincinnati enter the game following comfortable performances. While there was a 2-0 loss to Atlanta United FC last Wednesday, the club played well and was ultiumately beaten singlehandedly by the reigning MLS MVP, Josef Martínez.
Last Sunday, Cincinnati drew the Chicago Fire. The weekend before saw a 1-0 win on the road at the Montreal Impact. In short, while the season has largely featured disappointing results, the past few matches have seen positive performances from the team. That should continue against Orlando City.
When the schedule was released in January, this match stood out.
Yes, some of that stemmed from Sunday being a match with potential playoff implications, but it’s also James O’Connor’s return to the Queen City.
Orlando City’s head coach previously coached at Louisville City FC from 2016 through 2018. During that spell, there were certainly memorable games between Cincinnati and Louisville, and O’Connor was one of the protagonists.
While he’s now with a different club – and Cincinnati has a different head coach – that doesn’t mean the previous history is erased. FCC’s last four matches against O’Connor have seen the Orange and Blue outscored 12-1.
This is the last chance to see FC Cincinnati in the Queen City this season.
… that is unless supporters are traveling to next weekend’s season finale against D.C. United. So for most fans, Sunday’s game against Orlando is their final in-person view of the team.
That also means it’ll be the last time some players wear the club colors.
Despite the match being a goodbye to the home season, there are plenty of reasons for Sunday to be celebrated. The biggest of which is your support.
FC Cincinnati fans have been fantastic all season, and in tribute, the club is hosting Fan Appreciation Night against Orlando.
If you’re going to the match, here are some of the prizes and offers you can be a part of.
FC Cincinnati hosts Orlando City SC
Kickoff: 5 p.m.
Where: Nippert Stadium
Weather Forecast: Partly Cloudy 87 degrees
TV: WSTR Star 64
Local Video Stream: FloFC
Out-of-Market Video Stream: ESPN+
Audio Steam: TuneIn App, fccincinnati.com
Tickets: Purchase your tickets here.
Player to Watch and his Health Carousel Player Resume
Opponent’s Player to Watch: Midfielder Nani
The former Manchester United midfielder has delivered an impressive debut year in MLS, compiling a team-leading 12 goals and nine assists for Orlando. Four of those goals were game-winning goals.
When Cincinnati played at Orlando on May 19, the Portugal international scored twice inside nine minutes.
- Tesho Akindele played with FC Dallas between 2014-18, playing with Victor Ulloa during that spell. Roland Lamah later joined in 2017 and 2018.
- Will Johnson played on the Portland Timbers alongside Alvas Powell in 2013-15. He also played with Fanendo Adi in 2015.
- Benji Michel was in Portland’s organization between 2016-18 and played with Powell, Adi and Darren Mattocks.
- Sasha Kljestan, Derrick Etienne Jr., and Hassan Ndam were in the New York Red Bulls organization together in 2017.
- FCC Technical Director Luke Sassano, Oriol Rossell and Dom Dwyer played together at Sporting Kansas City in 2012.
- Kekuta Manneh and Dillon Powers played for the Austin Aztex in 2012.
- Brian Rowe played with Kendall Waston on the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2018.
- Director of Sports Performance Gary Walker was at Manchester United with Nani between 2008-2015.