FC Cincinnati vs. Charlotte Independence: A Battle of the Queen Cities

Photo taken by Jamie Smed - Twitter

When/Where-The match is at Ramblewood Soccer Complex in Charlotte, North Carolina at 7 p.m. This is FC Cincinnati’s second of four straight away matched to end the season for the club.

How to watch-You can also watch the match on the USL Youtube channel, or on FC Cincinnati’s website. Also, you can watch it on television on Local Star 64. 

The Rundown

FC Cincinnati only has three matches left in the USL regular season, and of those games, only one team has a spot in the playoffs. Charlotte Independence is currently second on the Eastern Conference table, with 48 points compared to our 40. This will be the club’s toughest test before their playoff run, and they need to be ready for it. Charlotte Independence could be the team FC Cincinnati sees in the playoffs, or a team as proficient at scoring as they are, Louisville City FC.

Charlotte Independence are as strong an attacking team as FC Cincinnati will face, with two players who have over 10 goals on the season. Their two leading scorers, who are both midfielders, Enzo Martinez and Jorge Herrara, have 16 and 12 goals respectively.

Contrary to FC Cincinnati’s attacking strategy, which is building from the back, and using each layer to find a hole in the defense, Charlotte uses their midfielders like forwards. They also have the capability to hit from long-range as well. Mitch Hildebrandt will be put to the test in this game, and will need to be in top form. However, Charlotte has gone scoreless in their last two matches, losing both, so their form isn’t in good shape. FC Cincinnati is on a five-game unbeaten streak, with two of those being wins. The club’s in decent shape to go into the playoffs with some momentum, which will be key on the road.

Charlotte’s defense isn’t anything to scoff at either, with a top-notch goalkeeper in Cody Mizell. He has allowed four less goals than our own Mitch Hildebrandt, with 36 goals on the season. He has an average goal allowed per game of 1.28, which is very good. Like the other parts of the team, the attack, and especially the forwards, will need to play their best to score on Mizell.

The best players for FC Cincinnati need to be in the game from the start. That means Djiby or Danni Konig need to be involved from the beginning of play to make sure we at lease get a point. The attack is better when they are in the game. Jimmy McLaughlin has been playing phenomenal lately, and getting the chances the team has needed to salvage points late.

This is truly the last game that the club has left on their regular season schedule to show themselves that they can beat these higher-seeded teams. They know they can do it, beating Louisville City FC twice this season, once in regular season and once in Open Cup. This game is the most important of the rest of the season, and the club is definitely capable of winning it.