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Archive for August 10th, 2019

The History of FC Cincinnati from the USL to MLS

FC Cincinnati is an American professional soccer club based in CincinnatiOhio that plays in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer (MLS). The team succeeded the lower-division team of the same name and was announced on May 29, 2018, when MLS awarded an expansion franchise to Cincinnati. The team began MLS play on March 2, 2019 with its first match against Seattle Sounders FC. The club’s ownership group is led by Carl H. Lindner III with Jeff Berding serving as president and Gerard Nijkamp as general manager.


The owners of the USL club began negotiations with Major League Soccer over a potential expansion franchise in early 2016, and Cincinnati was announced as one of ten cities that had expressed interest in the slots for teams 25 to 28. MLS Commissioner Don Garber visited Cincinnati in December 2016 to tour Nippert Stadium and meet with city and club officials, complimenting the city and its fans. FC Cincinnati formally submitted its expansion bid in January 2017, including a shortlist of potential stadium locations.

On May 29, 2018, Major League Soccer announced that Cincinnati would join the league in 2019 as an expansion team under the FC Cincinnati brand. The West End Stadium, a 26,000-seat soccer-specific venue in the West End, is scheduled to open in 2021.

FC Cincinnati signed their first two MLS players, Fanendo Adi and Fatai Alashe, in July 2018. Adi was the team’s first designated player. Both players were loaned to the FC Cincinnati USL team for the remainder of the 2018 season.

FC Cincinnati selected five players from certain MLS teams in the expansion draft, which took place on December 11, 2018.

The players were Darren Mattocks (D.C United), Kei Kamara (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Roland Lamah (FC Dallas), Eric Alexander (Houston Dynamo), and Hassan Ndam (New York Red Bulls). Kei Kamara was then traded to the Colorado Rapids for an international roster spot.

On May 7, 2019, the club fired head coach Alan Koch after a 2–7–2 start to the 2019 MLS season. Assistant coach Yoann Damet was named as interim head coach. President and general manager Jeff Berding cited a culmination of on-field performance and off-field matters for the dismissal.

On August 8, 2019, Ron Jans was officially hired and made Head Coach of FC Cincinnati.


FC Cincinnati will play at Nippert Stadium while their new West End Stadium is being built. The new stadium is expected to open in 2021.

The West End Stadium will have a capacity between 25,500 and 26,500 making it one of the largest soccer-specific stadiums in Major League Soccer. The stadium will include a grass field as well as a full canopy roof that goes around the entire stadium bowl and covers all seated rows. The roof and facades will have Ethylene tetrafluoro-ethylene (ETFE) foil technology which can be used to light up the stadium during events. The design for the inside bowl of the stadium incorporates a cut-out feature in the southeast corner that will give spectators a clear view of the Cincinnati skyline from their seats. In the north end of the stadium will be the FC Cincinnati’s supporters section, The Bailey, which will be almost twice as large as the current supporters section at Nippert Stadium. Many new premium seating and entertainment options will be available to fans that include multiple club seating options and suite configurations. The needs of the players played a major role in the design of the team areas that include the team room and medical facilities. The West End Stadium will meet all requirements to host CONCACAF and FIFA events. The stadium will be an enticing location to play for international club teams during their American tours and friendlies in their offseason. Furthermore, Cincinnati is one of the final twenty three host city candidates for the 2026 World Cup.

Colors and badge

FC Cincinnati’s primary colors are orange and blue. The secondary colors are gray, dark blue, and white. The home jersey is blue, orange, and white. The away jersey is white and black.

An updated crest was designed after they were accepted as an expansion team to Major League Soccer. It maintains the same orange and blue color scheme but now pays tribute to the city of Cincinnati, especially its German heritage.


The “Hell Is Real” sign on Interstate 71 between Cincinnati and Columbus

Cincinnati has an in-state rival in Columbus Crew. The idea of the Ohio soccer rivalry first gained popularity ahead of a 2017 U.S. Open Cup match between FC Cincinnati (then in the United Soccer League) and the Crew. The rivalry was dubbed the Hell Is Real Derby after a billboard on Interstate 71, the highway between Columbus and Cincinnati.The clubs will face off in their first-ever league matches in 2019: on August 10 in Columbus and August 25 in Cincinnati (the latter match will take place during MLS Rivalry Week).

FCC also retains a heated rivalry from its USL days with current USL club Louisville City FC. The two teams most recently played each other in the U.S. Open Cup on June 12, 2019.


General manager Jeff BerdingMLScommissioner Don Garber, club owner Carl Lindner III, and Cincinnati mayor John Cranleyat the MLS franchise announcement in 2018

Former Cincinnati Bengals executive Jeff Berding is the president. The CEO and majority owner of the team is Carl Lindner III, CEO of American Financial Group, with Scott Farmer also a leading owner.

In May 2019, Dutch football executive Gerard Nijkamp joined the club as general manager to oversee all the club’s sports activities. Nijkamp will be reporting to Berding.

Head coaches


Name Nation Years
Alan Koch South Africa May 28, 2018 – May 7, 2019
Yoann Damet (interim) France May 7, 2019 – August 4, 2019
Ron Jans Netherlands August 4, 2019 – present







It’s finally here! The Battle of Ohio on The Pitch! Crew SC hosting FC Cincinnati Part 1












For the first time in MLS regular-season history, Columbus Crew SC (7-14-4, 15 pts.) will face off against FC Cincinnati on Saturday, August 10 at MAPFRE Stadium.

The Black & Gold are coming off of a 1-1 draw on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes. Crew SC came back to tie the game following a Gyasi Zardes header in the 65th minute after conceding a penalty-kick goal in the first half. The draw extended Crew SC’s unbeaten streak to four consecutive matches.

“When you have four results in a row that gives you confidence,” said head coach Caleb Porter. “We will keep building on this feeling.”

Additionally, in each of the past four matches, Crew SC has responded to every goal the team’s conceded while finding the back of the net in each second-half of play.

As for FC Cincinnati (5-17-2, 17 pts.), the club is coming off a 2-1 loss at home against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. FC Cincy took an early lead off a goal from Allan Cruz in the sixth minute, but the Whitecaps responded with two unanswered goals in the 42nd and 84th minute. The loss marked Cincinnati’s fourth straight loss defeat.

Cincinnati has had their share of struggles in their inaugural MLS season as they currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 17 points and are last in the League in both goals scored (23) and goals conceded (55).

“I think a new expansion team is always tough coming into the League,” said defender Alex Crognale. “We’ve seen their struggles, but they also have some really talented and some really explosive players who can be dangerous.”

Some of the key players for Cincinnati when it comes to scoring include Cruz (4), Kekuta Manneh (3), Emmanuel Ledesma (3), and Darren Mattocks (2). Additionally, FC Cincy has eight other players with a single goal on the season.

With that, the Black & Gold must prepare for the unexpected.

With the two teams being located approximately 110 miles away from each other, the Club recognizes that the game has a lot of importance for its supporters.

“With our supporters,” Porter said, “we know that this game means a lot. We are fighting for Columbus. We want to make a statement for our city.”



Saturday’s draw marked the first time Crew SC has earned a point on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes in regular-season action since 2014, when the two sides played to a 1-1 draw (April 13). Additionally, the result extends the Crew’s unbeaten streak to four consecutive matches, with the Black & Gold posting a record of 2-0-2 in their last four regular-season matches.


Forward Gyasi Zardes scored the equalizing goal for Crew SC in Saturday’s 1-1 road draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. Zardes’ strike came in the 65th minute, when he headed in a cross from Luis Diaz, with the goal marking the forward’s eighth tally of the 2019 regular season. This year, Zardes has made 20 regular-season appearances (all starts), while registering two assists to go with his eight goals. Since joining Crew SC ahead of the 2018 MLS season, Zardes has made 52 regular-season appearances (all starts), scoring 26 goals and providing two assists.


Luis Diaz made his first career start (fourth appearance) for Crew SC in Saturday’s road contest against the San Jose Earthquakes. Diaz marked the occasion by providing the assist on Gyasi Zardes’ 65th minute goal, when he sent in a cross from the right flank. This was the Costa Rican midfielder’s second assist of the 2019 regular-season. Notably, both of Diaz’s assists helped set up an equalizing goal, as the midfielder had previously provided the helper on Romario Williams’ 90th-minute equalizer in a 2-2 road draw against the Chicago Fire (July 17). Diaz joined Crew SC from Club Sport Herediano as a Young Designated Player on July 2, 2019.


With his start in Saturday’s contest, Luis Argudo has now made seven regular-season starts in 2019, one more start than his 2018 regular-season total (six). Argudo played 62 minutes against the San Jose Earthquakes, registering one shot, making two tackles and finishing with a passing accuracy percentage of 80.8. Since joining Crew SC ahead of the 2018 MLS season, Argudo has made 32 regular-season appearances (13 starts), registering one goal and two assists.


Eloy Room was named to’s Team of the Week for Week 22 following his performance against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. The goalkeeper made four saves en route to helping Crew SC secure a 1-1 draw. This marks the first time that Room has been named to’s Team of the Week since joining Crew SC on July 5. Room is one of seven Black & Gold players to be named to’s Team of the Week in 2019. For a full list of Crew SC players to be named to’s Team of the Week, please see the next page.


With his goal in Saturday’s match, Gyasi Zardes brought his 2019 regular-season total to eight goals, which makes him Crew SC’s 2019 regular-season scoring leader. Notably, Zardes has registered a brace in regular-season action this year, two goals on the road against the New England Revolution (March 9) and Santos recording his brace on the road against the New York Red Bulls (July 27). Of his eight goals, one has been a game-winning goal. In addition to his strikes, Gyasi has also provided two assists, one has been a game-winning assist.


Crew SC is on the verge of reaching a milestone in regular-season home victories. The Black & Gold currently have 199regular-season home wins. With its next regular-season victory at home, the Crew would become one of only five MLS clubs to have won 200 or more regular-season matches at home dating back to the 1996 season. For a list of the other teams on this list, see the table below.


Crew SC announced on Wednesday that it had transferred Argentine defender Gaston Sauro to Deportivo Toluca FC of Mexico’s Liga MX. Sauro joined Crew SC from FC Basel of Switzerland’s First Division on August 6, 2015. The defender departs Crew SC after five seasons in Black & Gold in which he made 39 regular-season appearances (37 starts), scoring two goals. Notably, Sauro suffered a left knee injury in 2016 that saw him miss the entire 2017 season, before returning to action in a 2018 road match against Sporting Kansas City (May 27).


Crew SC announced on Thursday that it had acquired $75,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) via a trade with the Houston Dynamo. In exchange, the Black & Gold traded midfielder Niko Hansen to Houston. Hansen was selected by Crew SC in the First Round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. During his time with the Black & Gold, Hansen made 45 regular-season appearances (16 starts), scoring four goals and providing five assists.




  • Fans are encouraged to join in a moment of silence prior to the National Anthem to honor the victims of the recent Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton shootings.


  • Crew SC and FC Cincinnati will be wearing black armbands in honor of the victims of the tragedy in Dayton. There will be a joint team photo in front of a #DaytonStrong Banner, and we encourage all fans in attendance to join the Supporters’ Groups from both teams in a moment of silence at the 9th minute.