3 Reasons why FC Cincinnati will put out the Fire
Everyone, including myself, was shocked that FC Cincinnati defeated the Columbus Crew 1-0 just a couple weeks ago.
Now, after a 2-0 victory over St. Louis on Saturday, all attention has turned to putting out the Fire. While it seems unlikely that we will defeat an MLS side who sits in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference standings, FC Cincinnati has seemingly done the impossible many times. Here are three reasons why I believe FC Cincinnati has a legitimate shot of beating the Chicago Fire:
1) Home Field Advantage
Sure, Chicago just defeated Orlando City SC 4-0 in front of a sellout crowd, but that sellout only consisted of 20,000 fans. The Fire will now have to travel from to friendly confines of Toyota Park down to a hostile environment in Nippert Stadium that is likely to have 10,000 to 15,000 more fans. This atmosphere will create an environment that is loud and intimidating, even to those that have been mainstays in the MLS. This doesn't even take into consideration that FCC has played well at home this season, (7-1-4) having only lost one match in 12 home games this season.
2) All to Gain, Nothing to Lose
The Chicago Fire have a lot riding on this match, FC Cincinnati does not. The four-time U.S. Open Cup champions have publicly stated that they are going for broke and that they will do whatever it takes to win their fifth U.S. Open Cup. If they lose this match against a second-tier soccer club, especially with Bastian Schweinsteiger taking the pitch on national TV, it would be public humiliation. Sometimes thoughts of doubt creep up on a team like the Chicago Fire, causing them to underperform.
FC Cincinnati, however, has nothing to lose. Nobody in their wildest imagination would have thought that FCC would have made it to the Round of 16 and would be playing one of the top MLS teams on ESPN. If the Fire wins 5-0, so be it, our fans will support the club no matter the result on the scoreboard after the final whistle. We are just happy to crash the party for as long as possible. When you have very little expectations weighing down your shoulders, you're more clearheaded and play looser, giving you a fighting chance.
3) Something to Prove
Current FC Cincinnati defender Austin Berry and midfielder Corben Bone have both played with the Chicago Fire during their careers. Berry was the Fire's first round pick in 2012 and won the MLS Rookie of the Year award that same season. Bone was also a first round selection, being picked in 2010, and made 18 appearances for the Fire in his tenure there. Both of these players have a bone to pick (Pun intended) with the Fire and want to make them regret letting them go in the first place. This history should provide both Berry and Bone plenty of motivation to play their hearts out in an attempt to beat their former team on one of the biggest stages in United States Soccer.
Is there another reason why you think FC Cincinnati will put out the fire? Let us know in the comments!