By: Brendan Burris ~Staff Writer~
FC Cincinnati (FCC) kicked off the 2017 season this past weekend with a narrow 2-1 road defeat to the Charleston Battery, starting the team’s second season on a negative note. FCC had more possession throughout the course of the matchup but was unable to take advantage of its opportunities. The team put just five of 14 total shots on target, as opposed to eight of 17 from Charleston. A 70th minute penalty kick gave Charleston the victory, vaulting FCC off the wrong foot in the infancy of their season.
New offseason signee Dibjy Fall, who played last season in Kazakhstan, led the squad in goals throughout the preseason. Fall put away the first goal of the season for Cincinnati, a 59th minute header. Fall, a two-time Danish Player of the Year and former Senegal International, will most certainly have a large role in the goal-scoring this season for FCC, who will look to rebound from the offseason loss of last year’s league MVP Sean Okoli to New York City FC of the MLS.
In addition to Okoli’s departure, another big offseason story for FC Cincinnati was the abrupt departure of head coach John Harkes and subsequent promotion of Alan Koch from director of scouting and analytics to assistant coach. Rumors of discord between ownership and the technical staff most likely played a part in Harkes’s departure, and it will be interesting to see how the club handles some of the changes from its wildly successful first year.
After a long offseason and six-game preseason that included victories against both the UC and Xavier men’s teams, FC Cincinnati is certainly excited and ready for the regular season to start. The defeat to Charleston is followed by two more road games against Pittsburgh and Bethlehem on Saturday and April 9, and the home opener takes place on April 15 at 7 p.m. against St. Louis FC.
Every FC Cincinnati home and away game will be televised this season on WKRC Cincinnati, WSTR and the CW. Games will also be broadcasted through iHeartRadio and simulcast on ESPN 1530 AM.