I may not speak for everyone, but I’m guilty of letting my mind jump directly to this Sunday’s match against the Timbers when FC Cincinnati’s schedule was released. The stands will be packed, and the Bailey will be roaring.
The Cincinnati faithful grabbed the nation’s attention, earning the title of Soccer City, USA, during FCC’s magical U.S. Open Cup run. Ultimately, the supporters are the reason FCC hosts Portland in their MLS home debut this weekend. Now, for the first time, fans have the chance to reap the rewards and enjoy the highest level of professional soccer right in their own backyard.
Portland, of course, will be looking to spoil the party and both sides are eager to tally their first win of the season. However, the Timbers will be without Colombian midfielder Diego Chará, who collected two yellows last weekend against LAFC. If you’re at Nippert Stadium, bundle up and enjoy the electric atmosphere. If you’re watching at home, FS1 will carry the game.
- The main storyline of the week: Fanendo Adi and Alvas Powell square-off against their former club for the first time. With 247 combined games in the Portland green and white since 2013, these two are known well by the opposition. Also of note: Darren Mattocks (49 games) and Eric Alexander (31 games) also are former Timbers, but further removed.
- FCC’s 1-1 draw against Atlanta United on Sunday was possible thanks to an improved defensive shape from Alan Koch’s side. That defensive progress must continue, as Portland are averaging 18 shots per game, led by Sebastian Blanco with 5.5 shots per game.
- Newly acquired midfielder Kenny Saief already has one game and one assist under his belt in Major League Soccer. With Saief’s Europa League and Champions League experience at their disposal, Alan Koch’s staff is hoping Saief is fit to start this weekend. The player says he’s ready.
- Portland are currently last in the league with 8.5 aerial duels won per game. This could spell good news for Adi up top. His first goal of the year, a header, was disallowed in Atlanta after being called offside by just a whisker.
- The Timbers attack could spell danger for the expansion side, as Portland have three set-piece goals in two games already. The team from the Northwest is already dangerous from the run of play, so FCC must stay alert if they want to get a result.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati versus Portland Timbers this Sunday.