Like two ships passing in the night, Nashville SC and F.C. Cincinnati have been heading in opposite directions since their previous 0-0 draw July 7 at Nissan Stadium.
Now, the Boys in Gold head up to the home of Skyline Chili Saturday to take on the USL Eastern Conference’s top team with 44 points. Cincy is on a 10-match unbeaten run in the USL that stretches over a two-month span and have scored multiple goals in nine of those 10 matches. The only time FCC hasn’t scored multiple goals was the trip to Nashville.
Cincy also boosted its roster with three new players that expected to be part of its core once it makes the shift to MLS next season. The biggest of these signings is Fanendo Adi, who could make his debut with the club against Nashville. The talisman scored 50 goals in 120 appearances for Portland Timbers during his four-year stint there.
Meanwhile, Nashville is coming off an abysmal month of July, only winning once in five matches and dropping to seventh place in the standings. To make matters worse, the team has been riddled with injuries. Michael Reed (foot), Matt Pickens (back), and Bradley Bourgeois (hamstring) have missed the past handful of games. Reed and Pickens could return, but Bourgeois remains sidelined.
Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. and can be seen locally on MyTV30, streamed on ESPN+, or heard on 94.9.
Team: FC Cincinnati
- Affiliation: None
- Stadium: Nippert Stadium (33,800)
- Nippert is home to the University of Cincinnati football team and is the largest venue in the USL.
- It is the fifth-oldest stadium in college football.
- Coach: Alan Koch (2nd season)
- Koch came to Cincinnati from Vancouver, where he led the Whitecaps’ reserve squad for two seasons.
- He took over in Cincy for John Harkes, a former U.S. national who abruptly left after one season due to a personality conflict with team management.
- Koch is from South Africa and speaks English, German and Afrikaans.
- First Season: 2016
- 2017 Finish: 12-10-10 (Lost in Conference Quarterfinals to Tampa Bay, 3-0)
- Best-ever Finish: 2016 (16-8-6, Conference Quarterfinals)
- Supporters’ Groups: The team has several active supporters groups
- Three Fun Facts:
- FC Cincinnati fans packed Nippert Stadium in 2017, leading the USL in attendance by double the second-place team.
- FCC advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup, beating Columbus and Chicago and selling out Nippert Stadium for the semifinal match.
- Cincy and Louisville City compete in the Dirty River Derby for the River Cities Cup. Louisville won the 2017 trophy on goal differential after the sides went 1-1-1 in three matches. FCC is 3-2-2 all-time in the series.
Nashville SC coach Gary Smith:
“We’re going to go to an environment that will be electric – 25,000 people, a rivalry that is in its infancy, but already we’ve seen the first of what I hope are many games that I’m involved in against Cincinnati. They’re going to the next level, we’re going to the next level, but until we both get there, the rivalry is here at this level, and they’ve taken a point off of us at home in an extremely exciting and pulsating game. No reason why we can’t go there and do likewise or better.”
Andy Simmons, Golden Goal: 2-1 FC Cincinnati
Wes Boling, Golden Goal: Wes has elected not to make a prediction due to him calling the game on 94.9, but he believes Nashville can get a favorable result if:
-It plays more aggressively than in recent road outings and avoids silly mistakes.
-It pursues a front-footed approach as it did in the first meeting with Cincy.
-It finds some kind of finishing ability, which has been sorely lacking.
Ben Wright, Speedway Soccer: 3-0 FC Cincinnati
John Sloop, Speedway Soccer: 3-1 FC Cincinnati