By: Brendan Burris ~Staff Writer~
The Xavier men’s soccer team is set to face hometown United Soccer League (USL) team FC Cincinnati in a friendly match as a part of both teams’ preparation for their upcoming seasons. The game will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Xavier Soccer Complex.
For the Musketeers, the game will be their second preseason match so far, with four more taking place and the last being April 29. Both Indiana and Louisville, two teams who found themselves consistently in the top-25 in the NCAA rankings last season, are on the list for preseason matchups. These two games, in addition to the FC Cincinnati friendly, should be solid tune-ups for the Musketeers, who are coming off an 8-8-3 season last year.
FC Cincinnati’s final preseason matchup will come against Xavier after having just beaten the University of Cincinnati in a friendly of their own. Facing the university teams in friendly matchups has become a two-year tradition for FC Cincinnati, which hopes to continue to show the strength of soccer in the city. The second-year team will look to build upon the success of its first year, a season in which it finished third in its conference, made the playoffs, set multiple attendance records, had the league MVP and hosted an English Premier League team to great success and fanfare.
Xavier head coach Andy Fleming called the FC Cincinnati-Xavier matchup “a wonderful night for the city.” The USL team has taken the soccer community in Cincinnati by storm, inserting itself, albeit prematurely, into the conversation for potential MLS expansion. A showcase friendly match like this will only serve to strengthen the soccer community here in the city and hopes to continue to bring more eyes to these great programs.