Nippert

On This Day: March 17

This is the first of the “On This Day” series, which looks back at important days in FC Cincinnati’s history. This series begins – conveniently – with one of the biggest moments in club history!

2019 – FCC’s first MLS home opener

Orange and Blue fans waited years for an MLS home opener. And when it arrived, it was better than anyone could’ve predicted.

FCC pummeled the Portland Timbers, 3-0, at Nippert Stadium on March 17, 2019. A match that was four years in the making, Cincinnati’s first-ever MLS home game included a sold-out crowd, a legendary march, a back-heeled goal and a clean sheet.

Here’s what I wrote the following day:

“The stadium has never been louder for a soccer match. From the opening whistle to the last, chants echoed in the lower bowl, backed by rhythmic drum beats. The air smelled like sulfur from goal celebrations and the players reminded everyone why they originally fell in love with the club: a sense of pride, happiness and belonging. FC Cincinnati belong in MLS.”

Club captain Kendall Waston opened the scoring with a 15th-minute header off a Leo Bertone freekick.

Allan Cruz doubled the lead in the 61st when he produced a clever backheel in front of The Bailey, sending FCC’s rowdiest section into a frenzy.

Mathieu Deplagne sealed the win two minutes later when he buried a shot off a Darren Mattocks cross.

FCC’s first-ever home match literally couldn’t have started any better.

2018 – FCC win season opener in Charleston

The Orange and Blue’s final USL season started at the same place the two previous campaigns began: at the Charleston Battery. This match was the first time Cincinnati returned with three points, though.

The visitors took the lead in the 18th minute when Blake Smith finished a well worked team goal. FCC held on from there to claim their first-ever win in a season opener.

FCC’s win was the perfect start to a 2018 season that saw the club win the USL Supporters’ Shield first the first time. Cincinnati amassed 77 points from 34 matches and kept a 23-game unbeaten streak that shattered the previous USL record.