U.S. Open Cup Semifinal Preview vs. New York Red Bulls

                                         
  (Photo Courtesy of Jamie Smed/ Twitter)

Grab your popcorn and buckle up, Tuesday is going to be a day for the ages. For the first time since 2011, a USL side in FC Cincinnati will play in the U.S. Open Cup semi finals as they face the New York Red Bulls, a squad looking to make their first Open Cup final since 2003. In order to advance to the finals, the Red Bulls must first go through a sold-out and energized Nippert Stadium, an environment that has already helped knock out two MLS opponents.

When/Where: Tuesday, August 15th, 8 PM at Nippert Stadium. This game is a sell-out, so if you are attending the game, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to reach Nippert as roads and surrounding areas will be crowded. Also, make sure to wear your best FCC blue apparel, as the game is a blue-out!

How to watch: Unfortunately, this semifinal game will not be on National TV. FOX Sports 1 already has a contract with MLB to show games on Tuesday nights, so that is understandable. However, ESPN declined to pick up the game in order to keep their four-hour fantasy football special on air (Seriously, four hours?). Rather, this cup match will be shown locally on STAR 64 and can be streamed anywhere on fccincinnati.com/match-stream. Also, if you are looking for a place to watch the semifinal match, Fountain Square is holding a large viewing party that is open to everyone.

Road to the Semis: Below is the path that each team has taken to get to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.

FC Cincinnati:
1-0 win over AFC Cleveland (Home)
1-0 win over Louisville City FC (Home)
1-0 win over Columbus Crew SC (Home)
0-0 (3-1 PK) win over Chicago Fire (Home)
1-0 win over Miami FC (Away)

New York Red Bulls:
1-0 win over New York City FC (Home)
1-1 win (5-3 PK) over the Philadelphia Union (Home)
1-0 win over New England Revolution (Away)

Squad/Formation:

FC Cincinnati: With the suspension of Djiby for accumulating too many yellow cards during U.S. Open Cup play, expect Danny Konig as to get the start, as Greig is ineligible to play. Also, it will be interesting to see if Austin Berry will be available for this game, as it was reported he was banged up in the Louisville City game on Saturday. I expect head coach Alan Koch will run a variation of 3-4-3 onto the field, as he commonly does when Djiby is not out on the field. This formation should allow FCC to get some quality chances on net.

New York Red Bulls: Arguably the best player on the Red Bulls, winger Daniel Royer has been sidelined recently with a hyper extended right knee, and it is unknown if he will be available on Tuesday. If he is sidelined for this semifinal match, there is no doubt that his presence on the field will be missed. In terms of formation, the Red Bulls usually run a 4-2-3-1, which allows them to quickly switch from defense to offense. With Royer injured though, the Red Bulls have been recently running a 3-6-1, overloading the midfield. If Royer is out for this match, it wouldn't surprise me if the Red Bulls stick with the 3-6-1 formation.

Win or lose, the run that FC Cincinnati has made during the U.S. Open Cup has been incredible. It has placed us in the national spotlight, and it has greatly strengthened our bid into Major League Soccer. After proving Hell is Real, putting out the Fire, and taking our talents to South Beach, it is time to "Run with the Bulls", and I have this feeling that we could be running all the way to Kansas City for a chance to win the U.S. Open Cup.


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