USOC18: FC Cincinnati versus Minnesota United FC.

IT’S US OPEN CUP MATCH DAY ROUND 4! But first a little diatribe…

With much fanfare and back-patting, it was announced last Tuesday that FC Cincinnati is officially MLS expansion bound. They will finish the rest of this season in USL. And next season, FC|C will make their highly anticipated jump to the “big league.”

Let it be known, I’m not a fan of MLS. Not one bit. I think it’s a mediocre product with too many teams. It all has a very corporate, manufactured feel. Yet it’s next to impossible to find an MLS match on TV, making it really difficult to follow any team. So I’m not super excited about this FC|C to MLS news at all. I remember when it was first announced that Cincinnati was getting a USL soccer team. I was beyond excited. I loved the fact that they were in USL even though I didn’t know much about what the USL was, how many teams there were or really much of anything. I knew it was the second or third division and that was awesome. I was excited. For me, the fact that they were a lower division team sweetened the pot. There’s something about cheering for the little guy. And then we went to the first FC Cincinnati match at Nippert Stadium and they had me, hook, line, and sinker. It was all so magical. Not far into the inaugural season, talk of jumping to MLS kept getting louder and louder. Talks of soccer-specific stadiums. And I could feel my enthusiasm starting to waver little by little. In my opinion, it would be really hard to improve on any great number of things in regards to the club. I think it would be pretty easy for the experience to take a nose-dive. FC|C had a really good thing going in USL. They’re the big fish in a relatively small pond. More than likely by moving to MLS, they’ll just be another midmarket team in a vast ocean of competitiveness. Their impressive USL attendance numbers will put them near the bottom of the top ten in MLS. It’s doubtful they’ll even rank in the top ten once they move into their new 21,000 seat soccer-specific-stadium in the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati.

To me, the only good news that came out of MLS expansion announcement was that the team will play its first two seasons of MLS soccer at Nippert Stadium while their new soccer-specific stadium is being built. My biggest concern is right off the bat with the move to MLS is ticket prices. Are we still going to be able to afford our season tickets next year?  USL Season ticket prices are relatively affordable. Are MLS season ticket prices going to affordable as well? Probably not with the seats we’ve had the last three seasons. But perhaps if we moved to cheaper seats. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Tonight, we paid $30 a seat to watch a US Open Cup match that was one the most lackluster soccer games I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Remember last season’s US Open Cup run when FC|C played Columbus Crew and there was so much excitement? Or when they played Chicago Fire and the ecstasy of winning that shootout? I still get goosebumps thinking about the electricity that crackled through Nippert Stadium leading up to the match against New York Red Bulls. There was none of that tonight. Just a future MLS expansion team against a former MLS expansion team who currently sit in ninth place out of twelve teams in their conference. All I could think the whole match was, is this a precursor to what we have to look forward to next season?

At the half, it was nil-nil…

Sprinkles didn’t even bother coming to this match. Second half…

And at the end of 90 minutes, it was still 0-0…

At the end of the first 15 minute extra time, you guessed it 0-0…

And at the end of the second 15 extra time, still 0-0…

On to the penalty kick shootout…

I recorded the entire shootout in case something awesome happened…

And it did not. FC Cincinnati lost the shootout 3-1. I hope I’m wrong about MLS2Cincy. But this is what I imagine all the matches to be like next season when FC Cincinnati jump to MLS. Boooooooring. Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised. All I know is that I’m going to enjoy the final season of USL soccer in Cincinnati and deal with MLS and all the nonsense it brings with it later. 😐⚽️❤️

UPDATE: I just discovered that for $5/month you can watch all the USL and MLS matches live through ESPN+ on the ESPN app. Done and done.

US Open tacos.

Tonight, we ate delicious tacos for dinner while we streamed FC Cincinnati’s US Open Cup third round match away to Pittsburgh Riverhounds…

And FC Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh 3-1 to advance on to the fourth round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup…

Next up for FC Cincinnati in US Open Cup play, FC|C will host Minnesota United of MLS at Nippert Stadium on Wednesday, June 6th. We’ll see you there! 😀⚽️🌮❤️

Opening Day Parade Party.

They’ve kind of made a mess of the start of the baseball season this year. The season officially started last Thursday but the first Reds game was rained out and played on Friday. In Cincinnati, there’s always the big Findlay Market Opening Day Parade before the first game and it’s always been on Opening Day for as long as I long as I’ve lived in Cincinnati. But this year’s parade wasn’t until today. Because I guess the parade has to be on a Monday for some reason. Today, we also had our annual Opening Day Party at work. There was big grill out with all sorts of food…

And we played a bunch of different games like pin the baseball on the catcher…

It made for a very fun afternoon at work celebrating the return of another baseball season to Cincinnati. 😀⚾️🍔🌭❤️

Join the March.

Our 2018 FC Cincinnati season ticket booklet showed up in the mail today…

All the tickets have different players on them like Kenney Walker…

Jimmy McLaughlin…

And ex-Arsenal man, Justin Hoyte…

Along with our tickets were two of these terrific 2018 season ticket member flags…

FC Cincinnati’s 2018 campaign is off to a very good start with two 1-0 away wins at both Charleston Battery and Indy Eleven. FC|C’s first home match is Saturday, April 7th at 7pm against rival Louisville City FC. We’re really excited for another season of FC Cincinnati soccer. #JoinTheMarch 😀⚽️🎟️❤️

Superb Owl Sunday.

Well, the result of The Big Game™ didn’t turn quite as I would have liked. I guess Tom Brady and the Patriots can’t win all the Superb Owls. It’s awful nice of them to let someone else win one every now and then. But it was still a good game. And there were some pretty good commercials. Oh well. Onto the next sports ball season already in progress. 😀🦉🏈❤️

Our best-laid plans.

You know what they say about best-laid plans, right? This morning we got up and moving in a very timely fashion for a Saturday morning. We walked Oscar and headed out to Cincinnati Music Hall for the Crafty Supermarket. We got down into Over-the-Rhine a little after half-past eleven and it was already a mess. There were people everywhere around Music Hall, especially at the entrance. It was like watching ants flowing into and out of the mouth of their anthill. The parking lot under Washington Park was already full, and the garage behind Music Hall wanted ten bucks to park. It was more than we could bear just to wander around a silly, overcrowded arts show. What a mess. I thought it was much better last year when it was at UC’s student center. So we packed it in and drove back to Northside to park our butts on a stool at Second Place for the Arsenal versus Manchester United match and the Crosstown Shootout between Cincinnati and Xavier. One of the games ended really well, the other did not. Xavier: 👍 Arsenal: 👎 While we were at Second Place, Genifer this amazing cheeseburger that was a steal at only $6…

This amazing cheeseburger that was only $6…

And I had this incredible breakfast sammich

It was delicious! When we got home we hung out with Oscar and just watched some of the college football conference championship games…

Tonight’s moon was beautiful. We can’t wait to see tomorrow’s Super Moon…

So our Saturday ended up being completely different from how I thought it was going to be. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 😀🏀⚽️🏈❤️

Happy North London Derby Day!

COME ON YOU GUNNERS! #AFCvsTHS #Arsenal #COYG 😀⚽️🔫❤️

One step closer.

This evening we just stayed in and watched the USMNT take another huge step towards qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a 4-0 rout over Panama

If the USMNT can beat Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday, they’ll be packing their bags for Russia next summer! 😀⚽️🇺🇸❤️

USWNT versus New Zealand.

IT’S INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY MATCHDAY! The United States Women’s National Team was playing their first match in Cincinnati since 2008 as they hosted New Zealand at Nippert Stadium. It also marks the first time the University of Cincinnati has ever hosted a national team match…

It seems like we’ve had our tickets for this match for months…

And the big day was finally here…

Here comes New Zealand…

And here comes the USWNT…

There’s Megan Rapinoe…

Tobin Heath…

And Cincinnati’s own Rose Lavelle…

They got the crowd going before the match with a chant of, “USA! USA! USA!”

The New Zealand National Anthem…

O say can you see…

Whoever made the tifo for the match deserves a high five, a handshake and pat on the back because it was pretty awesome…

Here we go…

GOAL USA! After relentless pressure right from the start of the match, the USWNT finally found the back of the net. New Zealand was doing a pretty good job of trying to weather the storm. But you had the feeling it was only a matter of time until the US finally opened the scoring…

And Mallory Pugh made it 2-0 before the half. But the highlight was the perfectly
weighted through ball. You can’t defend against that sort of precision…

At halftime, it was still 2-0 USWNT…

Rose Lavelle was subbed off near the end of the first half…

There was a cool FC Cincinnati promo during halftime…

GOAL USWNT! Alex Morgan came in at the half and was quickly on the scoresheet

At this point, it was becoming kind of ridiculous as the USWNT netted their fourth

We missed the goal but the USWNT added a fifth to make it 5-0. And it was an absolute stunner! Alex Morgan’s second goal of the night put the exclamation mark on an unforgettable evening!

The average attendance at a USWNT match is around 18,700…

With 30,596, tonight marked the 7th highest attendance for a standalone USWNT friendly. Cincinnati certainly shows out for its soccer…

Didn’t have a ticket? Didn’t matter. People still turned out to watch the match…

Mercifully, the full-time whistle was blown. 5-0 to the USWNT!

Not surprisingly, Alex Morgan was named Player of the Match after her brace tonight…

I wonder if Alex Morgan has a lot of fans?

What a night!

After the match, it sounded like the USWNT was definitely impressed with the atmosphere and support at Nippert Stadium

It was such incredible night. Terrific atmosphere. We wouldn’t have missed seeing our Women’s National Team play right in our backyard for anything in the world. What an amazing way to cap another incredible summer of soccer at Nippert Stadium! It was pretty unbelievable! 😀🇺🇸⚽️🇳🇿❤️

FC Cincinnati versus NY Red Bulls II.

IT’S FC CINCINNATI MATCHDAY 16! And it’s the final home match of the regular season. Nippert Stadium played host to 22 FC Cincinnati matches total between the USL regular season, US Open Cup and the international friendly against Valencia CF. And we were there for every single one of them…

Djiby was starting again after seemingly falling out of favor for a while…

O say can you see…

Here we go…

GOAL FC CINCINNATI! Austin Berry scores the goal for FCC in the 5′!

Red Bulls pulled one back to tie the match at one all…

GOAL FC CINCINNATI!! Corben Bone became a dad earlier in the week and now he bags a goal on his birthday…

At halftime, it was still 2-1 FC Cincinnati…

And then they announced tonight’s attendance…

Tonight’s crowd of 30,417 set new USL attendance record for a regular season or playoff match. The old record attendance of 30,187 was set by FC Cincinnati last season during the playoff loss to Charleston on October 2nd. FC|C ends the season averaging just over 21,000 per game at home this season. The rest of the USL averaged just 4,300.  It still boggles my mind how many people show up for soccer in Cincinnati. And it doesn’t look like the crowds will be letting up anytime soon.

And then FC Cincinnati added a third! GOAL FC CINCINNATI!!! Harrison Delbridge scored what has to be a contender for goal of the season… A 25-yard rocket to the far post, upper 90. WOW! JUST WOW!

Red Bulls pulled another goal back. But FC|C added a fourth! GOAL FC CINCINNATI!!!! Kenney Walker with the free kick mastery! 

And that’s the way the match would end, 4-2 to FC Cincinnati

What a great win to close out the FC|C regular season at home…

FC Cincinnati still has four away games remaining on the schedule as they make their push toward the USL playoffs. Keep an eye out for watch parties around Cincinnati

Thank you for another wonderful season of FC Cincinnati soccer. Thank you for all the great memories from this season. We can’t wait to see you next season. 😀⚽️❤️

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