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Everything you need to know about Nashville SC’s match against FC Cincinnati

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Actual photo of FC Cincinnati’s starting lineup

Nashville Soccer Club is back in action on Saturday afternoon with a 3 p.m. CST kickoff against FC Cincinnati at Gettler Stadium, the home of the the University of Cincinnati’s soccer teams. The Boys In Gold are playing on a 48-hour turnaround after defeating Lipscomb 2–0 on Thursday night. NSC is running into a team that made the semifinals of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and has invested heavily in its roster during the offseason. Gary Smith said after the Lipscomb match that he’s expecting this to be the toughest test NSC will face during the preseason.

It’s a shame that hardly anyone will get to see it.

How to witness the match

The only way to way to watch Nashville vs. Cincinnati is IRL, but if you made the trip to Southwest Ohio, you’ll need to try your luck in the secondary market because the match is sold out. FCC didn’t make it known until three days beforehand that there would not be a stream. According to Cincinnati’s website, the team won’t be providing a stream for either of its two preseason home games.

Why would they do such a thing? Two possibilities come to mind.

  1. They scared Gary and the boys gonna give ’em that work.
  2. In Cincinnati’s mind, the cost of producing the stream is not worth the benefits that come with providing it.

If you’d like to stay informed about what’s happening during the match, your best bet is to follow Cincy Soccer Talk on Twitter.

What to expect

The biggest indicator of who will play for Nashville on Saturday is who played for Nashville on Thursday. Nine players, all on the younger side, went the full 90, with three trialists rotating through the other two spots. Smith said it would be “a completely different group” against Cincinnati, and he seems keen to take this as an opportunity to blood his troops against a top USL outfit.

For all of Cincinnati’s success in the Open Cup, their league campaign left much to be desired. FCC finished sixth in the Eastern Conference with a -2 goal difference and were bounced from the first round of the USL Cup playoffs with a 3–0 loss at the hands of Tampa Bay. But Cincinnati invested heavily in its roster during the offseason, going from sixth to first in the USL, according to Transfermarkt, in total roster value. (Nashville ranks 16th.)

Along with 2017 champs Louisville City and 2018 USL debutantes Indy Eleven, Cincinnati are among the favorites to win the league. So yeah, this is going to be difficult.

Gary Smith’s thoughts

“I genuinely think if [FCC coach] Alan [Koch] puts his strongest group out, it will be our toughest game — just purely because they’re an intra-conference group. He’s made some very good additions to that group in the offseason. With the proximity of the teams, they’ll want to do well. They’re unbeaten in preseason at the moment. So in my mind it will be the biggest challenge and probably the most realistic challenge that we’re going to run into. So I’m looking for much the same: that there’s improvement in our game. The result really is immaterial because it’s preseason, but let’s not all think that winning the game is not important — because it is. But if the group I put out for the opening exchanges does well again, I’ll be very, very pleased.”

Projected starting lineup

GK: Matt Pickens

CB: Justin Davis, Liam Doyle, London Woodberry

WB: Ryan James, Kosuke Kimura

DM: Michael Reed, Matt LaGrassa

AM: Lebo Moloto

ST: Robin Shroot, Michael Cox

The other guys on the roster who didn’t just play 90 minutes against Lipscomb and aren’t injured are C.J. Cochran, Jordan Dunstan, Bradley Bourgeois, Josh Hughes, and Tucker Hume.

Nashville’s final preseason match will be a week from Saturday, on March 10 against FC Chattanooga. So that means Nashville has two straight games against opposing fan bases who believe that the story of soccer in America begins with the day their club was founded.

Everything you need to know about Nashville SC’s match against FC Cincinnati was originally published in Music City Soccer on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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