FC Cincnnati to host another MLS team in fifth round of U.S. Open Cup

Just when FC Cincinnati thinks it can’t get much better for a second-year United Soccer League club, something new pops up to keep the buzz going.

This week started with the excitement of flashy, state-of-the-art stadium designs for a potential new home in Major League Soccer down the road, and it seemed to peak with a thrilling upset of MLS side Columbus Crew SC in a fourth-round U.S. Open Cup match Wednesday at Nippert Stadium.

»PHOTOS: FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew

Now, FCC gets another home game in the Cup, thanks to a lucky draw in the Round of 16 lottery that sends MLS foe Chicago Fire to Cincinnati for a 7:30 p.m. match June 28. FCC, which got one home game before losing on the road in the third round last year, will be hosting for a fourth straight match.

“Cincinnati and Chicago are two strong major league markets, and this could be the start of a new regional soccer rivalry,” FCC president and general manager Jeff Berding said in a press release. “We had an opportunity to meet the Fire in a friendly in Florida during the preseason and know they have a high-quality squad. The Fire will present a very tough challenge to our group but we look forward to hosting them at our home at Nippert Stadium in front of our tremendous fans who get to see another spirited soccer match.”

»RELATED: Hamilton’s future sports center hopes to partner with FC Cincinnati

FCC, which lost 3-2 to the Fire in the preseason, advanced in Cup action after defeating Columbus Crew SC, 1-0, in the two teams’ first-ever meeting in front of a non-finals Cup record crowd of 30,160 fans. Djiby Fall had the game-winning goal, scoring the deciding tally in his third consecutive Cup match, as FCC has won all three games by a 1-0 margin.

Cincinnati has two tough league games to play before hosting the Fire in what will mark the club’s sixth game in 25 days. Eastern Division leader Charleston Battery, whom FCC has never beaten in four meetings, comes to town Saturday night, and FCC hosts St. Louis FC, which is two points out of the top five, on June 24.

“There’s a lot of activity happening, and it’s fun to be a part of it,” FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch said. “The guys are flying, so there’s a definitely a feel-good factor, but it’s important to keep pushing on.”

Tickets to the game against the Fire will go on sale for the general public at 1 p.m. June 21 through the FC Cincinnati website at fccincinnati.com/tickets or by calling (513) 977-KICK. Season ticket holders can begin securing seats Friday.

The winner of the match will face either Miami FC of the North American Soccer League or MLS club Atlanta United FC with the date and time to be determined. FC Cincinnati would be on the road for the quarterfinals.

“We’re enjoying a good long Cup run, and long may it continue,” Koch said.

About the Author