INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY: FC Cincinnati versus Crystal Palace.

This afternoon we hopped on the Metro 17 bus over to University of Cincinnati for what we fully expected to be the single biggest soccer event the state of Ohio has ever seen. Our beloved FC Cincinnati were playing host to South London’s Crystal Palace of the English Premier League. Palace was founded all the way back in 1905, and just a few months ago played in the 2016 FA Cup Final, finishing as runners-up in competition to Manchester United…

We stopped at the St. Clair for pregame drinks, as usual. But it filled up much quicker than most Saturdays…

The St. Clair got too crowded so we joined the festivities out on U Square where there was quite the pregame party going on just outside the St. Clair…

And then we headed over to Nippert…

Here come the teams…

Such atmosphere…

Crystal Palace manager, Alan Pardew…

The Bailey revealed their tifo for the match…

FC Cincinnati manager, John Harkes on the left and Palace manager Alan Pardew on the right, and behind them it said “Dance Dance Dance Harkes vs. Pardew”

And eight minutes into the match, it was 1-0 Crystal Palace…

Genifer commented that she was surprised it took Palace that long to score.

We were really wondering coming in if the scoreline was going to get ugly…

But despite giving up the early goal, FC Cincinnati were really holding their own…

At the end of the first half, it was 1-0 to Crystal Palace…

SPRINKLES!

For the second half, I actually put my camera down and just enjoyed the match and the incredible atmosphere. You know… For the most part. 2-0 to Crystal Palace…

And then tonight’s attendance was revealed…

35,061! The largest crowd to ever see a soccer match in the state of Ohio. And FC Cincinnati’s first ever sell out! A snippet from FC Cincinnati’s President & General Manager, Jeff Berding’s weekly email stated:

“London’s The Telegraph noted that we posted the highest attendance for a soccer match in America over the weekend. The 35,061 was higher than every other Major League Soccer match with the next best nearly 10,000 shy. Of our major league efforts, they stated, “With each passing week, their credibility goes through the roof.”

Alan Pardew expressed his gratitude by saying, “The atmosphere was phenomenal. Hats off to everybody who turned up.” He even went so far as to call it a championship environment.

And that’s how the match would end, 2-0 to Crystal Palace…

It was a very respectable scoreline for FC Cincinnati…

Afterwards, we hopped back on the 17 and headed back to Northside…

We completely forgot about the post match fireworks, which from the photos I’ve seen looked pretty spectacular. Both the FC|C and Palace players stayed on the field to watch the show.

FC Cincinnati are currently in third place in the USL’s Eastern Conference. This week FC|C will host second place New York Red Bulls 2 at Nippert on Wednesday at 7pm. The match is also ESPN3’s USL Stream of the Week. And then on Saturday, they host first place Louisville City at 4pm in a match which will determine the winner of the first annual River Cities Cup.

On Saturday July 30th, FC|C will host fourth placed Charleston Battery at 7pm. These three matches will determine whether FC Cincinnati will get the opportunity to host postseason games at the friendly confines of Nippert Stadium.

FC|C is well on their way to hitting their goal for a crowd of 15,000 for Wednesday’s match and hoping for 25,000 for Saturday’s White Out against Louisville.

We hope to see you there! 🙂

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