Photo by Mathew Ballard
Three previous meetings this season across all competitions between Louisville City FC and FC Cincinnati have produced drama, record crowds and high-level play. What we haven't yet seen is a win for the boys in purple, but they'll get a final chance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday to knock off the rivals in orange and blue at Slugger Field.
Limited tickets remain by clicking here or calling (502) 384-8799.
Here's what to watch for...
TV: WMYO-TV (channel 58) will air the game live and in high definition locally with Tyler Terens and Lee Godfrey on the call.
Radio: TJ Walker (play-by-play) and Jeff Milby (color commentary) will voice the action on NewsRadio 840 WHAS, with pregame coverage starting at 7:15 p.m.
For Starting XI information and in-game updates, check us out on social media. It’s @loucityfc on Twitter, Louisville City FC on Facebook and louisvillecityfc on Instagram. Vote for the Modelo Man of the Match on Twitter starting in the 75th minute.
• LouCity taking its best shot in latest renewal of rivalry
• Videos: O'Connor, players preview Saturday's game
• LouCity ready to 'feed off' a big Slugger Field crowd
• Club preparing for FC Cincy -- and record crowd
• A highly anticipated rematch is finally here
Eastern Conference race: After falling to the Charlotte Independence in last week’s battle for first place, LouCity (10-4-5, 35 points) slid to fourth on the Eastern Conference table but holds games in hand on teams ahead. FC Cincinnati (8-7-7, 31 points) enters in sixth place — the top eight make the USL Cup Playoffs — having played Orlando City B to a 2-2 draw in its last league game.
A sellout push: In its last two home games, LouCity set club records for attendance, drawing 10,062 in June of 2016 and 11,632 in July of 2017. This time around, a sellout appears imminent, with more than 10,000 tickets sold as of midweek. Slugger Field’s capacity is 13,131. Overall, attendance for LouCity home games is up 20 percent so far this year over the first eight games in 2016.
Last time they met: LouCity and FC Cincinnati aren’t far removed from a 3-2 victory July 15 by the orange and blue at Slugger Field. While the boys in purple jumped out to a 1-0 lead and controlled 60 percent of the possession, FC Cincy rattled off three unanswered goals before allowing an own goal at the death. That result followed a 1-1 draw between the clubs April 22 and a 1-0 FC Cincy win May 31 in U.S. Open Cup play.
Bouncing back strong: It has been more than a year since LouCity lost consecutive games, which last happened on July 30, 2016, following defeats to FC Cincinnati and Orlando City B. The club’s first three losses of 2017 were all followed with victories. Will the trend continue Saturday?
Cincy in strong form: Since last visiting Slugger Field in July, the orange and blue have dropped just one competitive game, falling 3-2 July 29 to the Rochester Rhinos. FC Cincy’s also in the midst of a deep U.S. Open Cup run, set to host Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls on Tuesday at Nippert Stadium. Cincy’s beaten Columbus Crew SC and the Chicago Fire already in Open Cup play.
Kaye a super sub: Making an early appearance last Saturday as a 27th-minute substitute, midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye changed the game for a LouCity team that was already trailing. Kaye scored in the 48th minute and nearly equalized later on a shot cleared off the line during an eventual 3-2 loss to Charlotte, now the USL East’s top team. Kaye earned Man of the Match honors for his efforts.
A shift in goal: Following LouCity’s last meeting with FC Cincy, Tim Dobrowolski has returned to the starting goalkeeper job. But the competition remains open with Greg Ranjitsingh also battling for playing time. Dobrowolski has conceded 10 goals in 11 appearances and Ranjitsingh 10 goals in nine appearances. While Dobrowolski’s save success rate is higher, at 68.8 percent, Ranjitsingh’s strength is preventing shots with 14 clearances recorded.
Craig ups his offense: Paco Craig recently earned his first USL Team of the Week honor, a recognition that came after the defender scored in consecutive games. Craig tapped in a cross from Oscar Jimenez July 22 at Saint Louis FC before heading in a Jimenez free kick the next week against the New York Red Bulls II. Both scoring strikes helped lead to LouCity wins.
Injury report: After missing two games due to a tweak in his right knee, midfielder George Davis IV is back to training and available for Saturday’s game. So, too, are Paolo DelPiccolo (hamstring) and Brian Ownby (muscle strain).