USOC Preview: FC Cincinnati hosts Louisville City FC
The US Open Cup returns to Nippert Stadium where FC Cincinnati will host Louisville City FC on Wednesday May 31. The United Soccer League rivals are familiar with each other, but this will be their first meeting in the USOC. Both teams advanced to round three of America’s famed tournament on May 17th. FC Cincinnati beat AFC Cleveland 1-0 in the second overtime period and Lou City cruised to a comfortable 9-0 victory against the Tartan Devils.
The River Cities Derby gets its name from the Ohio River which links the two cities just over 100 miles apart. It carries a lot prestige on it’s own, but Wednesday’s match will offer more than the usual implications for these regional rivals. The winner has hosting rights in round four. The opponent is already set to be the Columbus Crew of MLS and that USOC match will take place on June 14th. For FC Cinci, it would be their third home match in this year’s tournament. For Lou City, it would mean the first MLS team to play Slugger Field in meaningful competition.
Wednesday will be the second time the Coopers of Louisville have journeyed to the Queen City this year. The 1-1 scoreline masked a hard fought battle between two competitive sides. There were six separate bookings on April 22nd but none more brutal than the spikes up challenge from FCC forward Djiby Fall. He was awarded a straight red in the 87th minute but the controversy grew in the scuffle that immediately followed.
A special review panel determined that Djiby Fall had also bitten Niall McCabe in the pushing and the shoving. An additional five game suspension was tacked on to the mandatory single game suspension for the red-carded challenge. Fall is still unable to participate in USL competition, but USOC is not required to suspend Fall so he remains eligible for the game this week.
Before the suspension, the 32-year-old from Senegal had been leading the USL with 6 goals in 6 games and played all but 40 minutes. April 22 wasn’t that long ago. It’s unlikely anyone has forgotten.
This has to be the match to watch in round three and Fall has to be the player to keep an keen eye on. Nippert stadium has been drawing massive crowds. There are familiar rivals with a bit of bad blood between them. There is prize money from the tournament, bragging rights for these two young clubs. They are third and fourth in the USL Eastern Conference standings, but that doesn’t matter right now. The USOC will take priority on Wednesday.
The match starts at 7pm.