FC Cincinnati (FCC) will enter the 2018 United Soccer League (USL) playoffs as the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed after the team’s 3-3 draw Saturday at Nashville SC.
The Orange and Blue will face the to-be-determined No. 8 seed Oct. 20 at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. Kick-off is set for 4 p.m.
FCC is currently riding the momentum of a 23-match unbeaten streak — the longest in USL history.
“It’s fantastic,” said Lynn Olberding, a season ticketholder and avid soccer fan. “I think it’s great for the city. I think it’s great for soccer. I think it’s great for them going into the MLS. My husband and I have been playing soccer for nearly our entire lives — him since the 70s’ and for me, probably ’86, I believe. We love it. It’s always a great time, both playing and watching.”
Cincinnati midfielder Corben Bone is focused on embracing a winning mentality for the team’s enthusiastic and loyal followers.
“We did a great job winning the regular season, and now we can concentrate on winning the first game and moving on, and hopefully, moving toward other trophies that our fans deserve and that this club has worked so hard for,” Bone said.
Between the MLS bid in late May, the unbeaten streak, a new stadium underway and national accolades, 2018 has been a season to remember for Cincinnati’s growing soccer fanbase.
FCC is first team in USL history to have four players score more than 10 goals in one season. Midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma leads the team with 16, while Bone, midfielder Nazmi Albadawi and forward Danni König each have 11.
Head coach Alan Koch commended the team for its accomplishments this year.
“I think I just use the word ‘team’ — this is a team,” said Koch. “Having four guys that have scored double digits is amazing. We’ve got other guys that can score goals too, obviously. It just shows that we’re very, very multidimensional in terms of our group.”
Koch was named USL’s Coach of the Month for September after leading the team to a 6-0-0 record during that span. He was previously nominated in July and August.
“There’re no such things as individual awards,” Koch said. “Every individual award is about the team, and that’s why we built a very, very special team this year. It took a lot of work in the offseason to put it in place. Little accolades like this for individuals are really a testament to our entire group, to our coaching staff, to our players, to everybody involved within our organization. It’s been a fun, historic year so far. We’ve enjoyed the successes, and hopefully we can continue this down the road.”
Tickets are on sale and range between $10 and $60 depending on section. Parking passes can be purchased for $10 in advance.
The club no longer offers student tickets or sections, according to FCC’s website. The club welcomes college students to sit in the general admission section at the southern end of Nippert Stadium.
If FCC pulls out a win this Saturday, the team will return to Nippert Stadium for another playoff test Oct. 27.