Folks, we are less than 48 hours from the most important soccer game in Cincinnati history kicking off. Now, sure that is a bold claim, so allow me to explain to you why this U.S. Open Cup game against louisville on this Wednesday is the most important game we will have seen so far:
1) The game is against louisville city. louisville is our absolute rival, and not just because they’re nearby. Since our club’s inception they have pelted us with accusations of being a fake club, with fake fans, and faking our attendance numbers. Their coach accused our team of playing on the field when it was too hot and that it burned their players’ feet. Their coach also accused our top goal scorer this year, Djiby, of biting one of their players (with no evidence mind you) getting him suspended for 6 games. This is a team that needs to be beat down. And this is our last home game against them until 2018.
2) But Djiby is back! For now at least. Slapping Djiby with that 6 game suspension hurt the team, keeping out top goalscorer out of action for a long time now. However, that suspension only applies to league games, which means he is available to play on Wednesday! Last Open Cup game against Cleveland Djiby scored the only goal to send us through to louisville. Expect Djiby to be playing with a chip on his shoulder on this one and wanting his own revenge.
3) The U.S. Open Cup is worth winning. You can check out the previous post on the Open Cup, but this is an awesome tournament. 99 teams are in it this year, and includes amateur and professional clubs from across the country. This is a tournament that allows lower division clubs like FCC to build prestige with deep runs. We’ve already seen one amateur club take down a professional club this year when Richmond Kickers lost to Christos FC, so upsets do happen. Advancing in this tournament lets lower division teams face more difficult teams like . . .
4) If FCC wins, we get to play Columbus Crew. Yes, that Columbus Crew. That alone is enough to make most people think this is the most important game yet. Cincinnati was able to get Columbus in the regional draw, and then won to coin-flip for hosting duties. So that means if the team can get past Louisville on Wednesday, FC Cincinnati will host MLS side Columbus Crew here at Nippert Stadium. You might remember this is the same situation FCC was in last year, except instead of getting louisville at home it was against Tampa Bay away, and Crew would have hosted FCC. If we want FC Cincinnati to be an MLS team, nothing would look better than a dry run of a league game. Oh and the fans of both teams already have a fantastic name for the Cincinnati-Columbus game: “Hell is Real”. So if you want to see the Hell is Real derby play, Wednesday is the first step.
5) We may get to see Konig and Djiby up top at the same time. Now this is actually a little unlikely given the formations we have been running so far this year, but think about this. Our top two goal scorers on the field at the same time, two men with years of European experience, running at the Louisville defense all night. Konig has essentially saved the season himself with Djiby being out, heading in goals and keeping this team going. But now we might get to see the two of them working together, terrorizing a defense. That’s worth the price of admission right there.
Cincinnati, get hyped. I would understand if you think the playoff game was the most important game for FCC, but really, just getting to the playoffs in the first year was already the win. For this game, a win here puts our intentions on the map. It shows we’re better than our USL rivals, we’ll get to throw down against our MLS rivals, and prove to the world that we are a club with massive aspirations.
This is going to be an aggressive game between two rivals that legitimately don’t like each other. With FCC on a three game win streak, they’ll be taking some form into this game. And louisville has been incredibly difficult to beat this year, having only lost once. This is the soccer game with all the hate and stakes you could want. It's games like this that makes us fans of the beautiful game.
See you at Nippert tomorrow.