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.

FC Cincinnati versus North Carolina FC.

IT’S FC CINCINNATI MATCH DAY FOUR!

Midweek FC Cincinnati defeated Detroit City FC 4-1 in the second round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Tonight, FC|C was playing host to North Carolina FC. Just like Atlanta United 2 two weeks ago, NCFC are also USL new boys. NCFC were formerly the Carolina RailHawks of the NASL before making the switch to USL. It turned out to be a pretty night for soccer…

HERE WE GO!

1-0 FC CINCINNATI!

At the half, it was 2-0 FC Cincinnati! Both goals were scored by Nazmi Albadawi, who just happened to be featured on tonight’s season tickets

Here’s Nazmi’s second goal again in slow-motion. And speaking of slow-motion…

SPRINKLES!

PENALTY TO FC CINCINNATI! 3-0

Tonight’s announced match attendence was 22, 884 um… hmmm…

Hello friends…

We spotted this guy in the crowd wearing a Kalamazoo College t-shirt…

FC Cincinnati’s Danni Konig added a fourth for FC|C before being subbed…

FINAL WHISTLE! The match ended in a 4-1 win for FC Cincinnati.

What a night! Great game. Great 3 points! FC Cincinnati stays atop the USL Eastern Conference. Next, FC Cincinnati will travel to Pittsburgh for a tough midweek US Open Cup match against the Riverhounds. And then they’re back home at Nippert Stadium next Saturday for another huge clash against rivals Louisville City in a first place versus second place showdown. We’ll see you next Saturday at Nippert! 😀⚽️❤️

FC Cincinnati versus Atlanta FC 2.

IT’S FC CINCINNATI MATCH DAY THREE! FC Cincinnati was playing host to USL new boys Atlanta FC 2. We arrived at Nippert about 15 minutes into the start of FC|C’s match against AFC2 due to watching the running of the Kentucky Derby at Mac’s Pizza Pub…

But that’s okay, it had been raining all day anyway. But by the time we headed over to Nippert Stadium, the rain had just about stopped…

It was still 0-0 when we got to Nippert. So we really didn’t miss much of anything…

We had just reached our seats when FC Cincinnati opened the scoring

2-0 FC CINCINNATI

And FC|C restored their two-goal lead, 3-1

At halftime, the score was 3-1 FC Cincinnati! That means it’s time for SPRINKLES!

Here we go…

FC Cincinnati added a fourth! 4-2!

And the match would end with victorious on the night with a massive 4-2 win

What a great end to Cinco de Derby day! 😀⚽️❤️

UPDATE: With tonight’s win, FC Cincinnati leapfrogged Louisville City to sit all alone atop the USL Eastern Conference in first place. And ICYMI, Kenney Walker’s superb long-range effort midweek against Ottawa Fury finished number one on SportsCenter’s Top 10.

His goal also finished with the USL Goal of the Week honors for USL Week 7…

As if there was ever any doubt.

FC Cincinnati versus Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

IT’S FC CINCINNATI MATCH DAY TWO! FC|C was hosting Pittsburgh Riverhounds…

The match ended in a 2-2 draw in front of a crowd of 24,505. It was a good game. Back and forth with FC|C coming back to tie the match twice. I took a bunch more photos at tonight’s match. Click to see all the photos I took at FC Cincinnati versus Pittsburgh Riverhounds. 😀⚽️❤️

FC Cincinnati versus Louisville City FC.

IT’S FC CINCINNATI MATCH DAY ONE! Today was the FC Cincinnati 2018 home opener!

FC|C was playing defending USL Champs and heated rivals, Louisville City FC…

Turns out one our favorite former FC|C players, Pat McMahon now plays for LCFC…

He’s fourth from the left with the beard. The Bailey’s Streamergate tifo…

It was pretty cold at tonight’s match. FC|C lost 1-0 on a goal scored in the 13th minute. Other than that, all you could really do was focus on how cold you were. We left around the 90th-minute mark. I took a bunch of photos at the match. Click here to see all the photos I took at FC Cincy Match Day ONE! 😀⚽️❄️❤️

 

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. 😀⚽️❤️

FC Cincinnati versus Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

IT’S FC CINCINNATI MATCHDAY 15! There was an odd 4 o’clock kickoff for today’s FC Cincinnati match as they were playing host to Pittsburgh Riverhounds…

And it was kind of a chilly, rainy afternoon…

But none of that mattered because we got new FC|C tall boy coozies…

We waited for the match to start and the drizzle to end under an overhang at the east end of Nippert Stadium by The Bailey…

O say can you see…

Here we go…

Pittsburgh scored in just the second minute…

I got up to go to the restroom and wouldn’t you know it… FC Cincinnati pulled level

And that’s the way it would stay at halftime

And the second half was about to get underway…

Djiby made an appearance…

Despite the rain and the odd start time, there was another great crowd…

And the match would end 1-1

After the match, we took an Uber back to Northside and stopped into Higher Gravity for a little taster flight before header home…

FC Cincinnati’s final home match of the regular season will take place on September 16th against New York Red Bulls 2. And we’ll see you there! 😀⚽️❤️

FC Cincinnati versus Ottawa Fury.

IT’S FC CINCINNATI MATCH DAY FOURTEEN! FC Cincinnati was taking on Ottawa Fury for the very first time either home or away…

Bearcats football is starting soon. And now we have padded seat cushions and seat backs where we used to just have bleachers. It’s a nice perk for the final three home games of the FC|C season…

 

And speaking of new additions, look at that beautiful new digital scoreboard…

Here come the supporter’s groups marching into The Bailey…

The Bearcat was in the crowd in The Bailey…

I hope FC Cincinnati decides to build their new stadium in Ohio too…

Or if they just wanted to stay at Nippert Stadium that would be fine too…

O Canada…

O say can you see…

Here we go…

I spent the first few minutes of the match just watching the new videoboard…

That thing is really nice…

GOAL! FC CINCINNATI! Danni Konig put FC|C up 1-0

GOAL!! FC CINCINNATI! Jimmy McLaughlin was sent clear to put FC|C 2-0 up… 

FC|C had this incredible defensive sequence just before halftime that denied Ottawa what should have been a clear goal…

And at halftime, it was still FC|C 2 Ottawa Fury 0…

SPRINKLES!

And the second half is underway

GOAL!!! FC CINCINNATI! Sem deWit with his first goal of the season for FC|C

Ottawa Fury pulled a goal back…

There was another crowd of 20,000+ at tonight’s match…

The fourth official indicated a minimum of 5 additional minutes…

And there’s the full-time whistle with the final score 3-1 to FC Cincinnati

It was really good to see FC|C bounce back with a win after a string of difficult results. We’ll see you at FC Cincinnati’s second to last home match on September 2nd against Pittsburgh Riverhoundz. 😀⚽️❤️

USOC17: FC Cincinnati versus New York Red Bulls.

IT’S MATCH DAY! THE MATCH DAY! US Open Cup semi-finals between New York Red Bulls of MLS and our FC Cincinnati. Live from Nippert Stadium…

It was a match surrounded with such eager anticipation that my parents drove all the way down from Michigan for it. FC|C head coach Alan Koch said before the match that his upstart FC Cincinnati US Open Cup Cinderellas should be known as FC Disneyland.’ Speaking of Disneylands, Nippert was buzzing childlike excitement and wonder…

They’re in the process of installing a brand new huge video scoreboard at Nippert. It’s going to be the same size as the scoreboard out in left field at Great American Ballpark…

At the other end of Nippert was a little make-shift video screen…

At the New York Red Bulls end of Nippert, the US Open Cup semifinal banner down in the corner was pretty incredible…

There’s Red Bulls and sometimes USMNT star, Sacha Kljestan

And 99 is former Southampton and England striker, Bradley Wright-Phillips

Here come the supporters groups on their way to The Bailey…

O say can you see…

The Bailey’s tifo was pretty awesome…

Some of the other banners were pretty good too…

 

HERE WE GO…

GOAL! 1-0 FC CINCINNATI! Corben Bone fired FC|C to an early lead

And there’s the whistle for halftime with the score still 1-0 to FC Cincinnati!

SPRINKLES!

And here we go. The second half is underway…

2-0 FC CINCINNATI! AUSTIN BERRY! 

A sell-out crowd in the neighborhood of 36,000 was expected for tonight’s semifinal. Any number over 35,613 would have broken the current attendance record set in the 2011 US Open Cup final between the Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire. But we fell just short of that mark tonight, there were 33,250 at tonight’s match which is a new US Open Cup non-final attendance record. And I just missed getting a photo of the attendance when it was announced because they put it on the runner board, not the little video board…

Red Bulls pulled one back to make it 2-1…

And then they tied the game…

At the full-time whistle, it was still 2-2. This one’s going into extra time…

Red Bulls took the lead 3-2…

The final 15-minute extra time half…

There’s the final whistle and FC Cincinnati’s magical Cinderella story US Open Cup run has come to the end of its road. Red Bulls were just too much tonight and won 3-2

FC Cincinnati head coach, Alan Kock praised his team after the game

FC Cincinnati’s Jeff King said it best

Regardless of a score 2nite, remember this passion. Remember ur pride. Remember this amazing run. Remember this movement you helped build.

And what an amazing run it was! It’s one that will be long remembered and reminisced about for ages. 😀⚽️🏆❤️

 

 

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