FC Cincinnati continues to surprise many with their ability to draw fans to Nippert Stadium with Saturday’s friendly against Crystal Palace out of the EPL proving that this city is now soccer obsessed. 35,061 fans poured into Nippert, many for the first time all season to witness FC Cincinnati go toe to toe with one of the world’s best clubs.
Cincinnati lost the match 2-0 after Jordan Mutch put the Eagles up early with a ball fired into the upper corner of the goal. Mutch was set up nicely after Hiram Boateng and Frazier Campbell combined nicely to open up space for Mutch to make his move in the eighth minute.
The Eagle’s scored their second goal when Wilfred Zaha collected a ball, beat FCC’s Omar Mohamed and buried the ball in the net in the 68’.
FCC has a couple chances but never really presented a threat to Crystal Palace. The team was not expected to put up much of a fight and the game saw both teams use plenty of subs to spread the playing time around. This game did not count toward USL play and was a preseason game for Crystal Palace.
Despite the loss, the real story rested with those not on the field. The crowd showed up early, cheered loud and stayed late as a fireworks display followed the nights athletic events. The 35,061 fans marks the largest soccer match in Ohio soccer history according to FC Cincinnati. Yes, larger than any Columbus Crew or USMNT match that has been held in the state.
For a team with hopes of MLS glory, Saturday proved important. Crystal Palace began their North American tour in Philadelphia against the MLS’s Philadelphia Union. The game did not draw anywhere near the amount of interest that Saturday’s did and overall Saturday was the most well attended soccer match in all of North America besting the closest team in the MLS by 10,000 fans.
While the level of talent on the field was far from even Saturday, the fan support from Cincinnati rivaled that of top level clubs. If this continues, the boys in Blue and Orange will certainly give the MLS expansion czars a tougher decision than they expected this time last year. FC Cincinnati has proven that their fan support and attendance is not a fad, but merely just the beginning of soccer crazed city.