Three Questions for FC Cincinnati’s 2017 Season
Can FC Cincinnati reproduce last season’s success?
FC Cincinnati had a compelling 2016 season both on and off the field. On the field, they finished third overall in points, and produced the USL’s MVP and Golden Boot winner, Sean Okoli. Off the field, they surpassed expectations, hosted record-setting crowds, and put themselves in the thick of the MLS expansion race. FC Cincinnati’s off-the-field success will continue if season ticket sales are any indicator. The team has already sold over 11,000. With that many fans as a base, Nippert Stadium should be bustling for each home match this season.
On the field success is a little less certain. Head coach John Harkes was shown the door just before preseason, after a reported front office dispute. Alan Koch replaced him, and will take over a FC Cincinnati squad that was heavily fortified in the offseason. Koch, the former head coach of Vancouver Whitecaps 2, is well qualified for the job. He also has one of the most talented rosters in USL. However, there’s a lot of new players to integrate, and he has to manage the expectations of a rabid fan based that expects to win. That said, FC Cincinnati is still a favorite to finish near the top of the Eastern Conference.
Can FC Cincinnati score more goals?
Can FC Cincinnati peak in October?
Scoring goals, stockpiling points, and finishing at the top of the Eastern Conference would be great, but this is a playoff-based league. FC Cincinnati should have enough talent to easily earn a playoff spot. What’s important is that they secure a decent seed with a healthy roster and a team that’s in good late season form.
FC Cincinnati had most of that in place last year. One bad match can send you packing though. That’s playoff football. Goals and points over the course of the USL season are no guarantee of getting to a USL Cup final. You have to peak in October to take home USL’s grand prize.
Season Kickoff Against the Battery
FC Cincinnati kicks off their 2017 campaign on March 25th against the Charleston Battery. These same two teams played each other on week one last season. A stoppage time Romario Williams goal earned Charleston a 1-0 victory. This is a tasty week one matchup. The old guard USL outfit also upset FC Cincinnati in the first round of last year’s playoffs. All of FC Cincinnati’s games this season will be broadcast locally and on the USL Youtube channel.